What is Happiness?

 

I had an interesting discussion last week with a seemingly “spiritual” gentleman who claimed to be very happy. The more we talked, however, the less convinced I became that he really is happy or that he had really even given much thought to the subject – but then, neither had I. Of course, I do believe that everyone is entitled to their own truth, but he stimulated my own thinking on the subject, and I thought it might be interesting to examine other peoples’ perspectives on happiness.

As I began looking, I realized that there are a number of different aspects to the topic of happiness and that people have been talking and writing about it for a very long time. Not surprising, as it certainly has to be one of the most basic and sought after aspects of human life. I found these aspects and perspectives to be quite thought provoking, and offer a sampling of them for your own meditation and/or affirmations. So, what is happiness?

Contrary to what my friend indicated, very simply Happiness is an Attitude:

  • “Happiness is a state of mind, not a set of circumstances.”
    ~ Richard Carlson (1961-2006; American author, psychotherapist, & motivational speaker; You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective)
  • “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” ~ Hugh Downs (1921–; American broadcast journalist, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, & composer)
  • “It is the mind that maketh good or ill, that maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.”
    ~ Edmund Spenser (1552-1599; English poet)
  • “Happiness doesn’t depend on what we have, but it does depend on how we feel toward what we have. We can be happy with little and miserable with much.”
    ~William Dempster Hoard (1836-1918; Governor of Wisconsin, publisher)

Second, the Attitude of Happiness is Based on One’s Thoughts:

  • “No man is happy who does not think himself so.”
    ~ Publilius Syrus (76 BC -3 BC, Roman writer; Maxims)
  • “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
    ~ Marcus Antoninus Aurelius (A.D. 121-180; Emperor of Rome 161-180, Stoic philosopher; Meditations)
  • “Until you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy with what you have.”
    ~ Zig Ziglar (1926-2012; American author, salesman, & motivational speaker)
  • “Let your thoughts be manifested in a positive way. Let all of your thinking be of a happy and positive nature. Only then will you create a happiness for yourself that will surprise you.”
    ~ Maitreya (Channeled by Margaret McElroy, Maitreya Newsletter, December 31, 2000)

Third, Happiness is Entirely One’s Own Responsibility:

  • “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” ~Alice Walker (1944-; American Pulitzer Prize-winning author)
  • “Loving myself and thinking joyful, happy thoughts is the quickest way to create a wonderful life!”
    ~ Louise Hay (1926-; motivational author, speaker, & Founder of Hay House publishing)
  • “You can never be happy living someone else’s dream. Live your own, and you will for sure know the meaning of happiness.”
    ~ Oprah Winfrey (American actress, TV talk show host, & philanthropist)
  • “Tell everyone you know: ‘My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.’ And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they’re doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel – and then, you’ll love them all.”
    ~ Abraham (Collective consciousness of Spirit as channeled by Esther Hicks; excerpted from the workshop in Asheville, NC on Saturday, April 30th, 2005)

Fourth, Happiness is Being Rather Than Doing:

  • “We do not sing because we are happy, we are happy because we sing.”
    ~William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, and philosopher)
  • “One does not laugh because one is happy; one is happy because one laughs.”
    ~ Mireille Guiliano (1946-; French spokesperson for Champagne Veuve Clicquot, former CEO of Clicquot, Inc., & author)
  • “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. ”
    ~ Albert Camus (1913-1960; French-Algerian Nobel Prize winning author {1957}, journalist, philosopher, essayist, and playwright)

Fifth, Happiness is a Choice:

  • “Your success and happiness lie in you . . . Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
    ~ Helen Keller (1880-1968, blind and deaf educator & activist)
  • “We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
    ~ Carlos Castaneda (1925–1998; Peruvian-born American author)
  • “A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”
    ~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865; 16th American President)
  • “Being miserable is a habit. Being happy is a habit. The choice is yours.”
    ~ Tom Hopkins (Real estate sales trainer)
  • “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
    ~ Groucho Marx (1890-1977; American comedian with the Marx Brothers
  • “There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.”
    ~ Edith Wharton (1862–1937; American novelist1862 – 1937; Pulitzer Prize winning novelist)
  • “If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
    ~ Paramhansa Yogananda (1893–1952; Indian yogi and guru who introduced many westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi)
  • “Being happy is the cornerstone of all that you are! Nothing is more important than that you feel good! And you have absolute and utter control about that because you can choose the thought that makes you worry or the thought that makes you happy; the things that thrill you, or the things that worry you. You have the choice in every moment.”
    ~ Abraham (Collective consciousness of Spirit as channeled by Esther Hicks; excerpted from the workshop in Sacramento, CA on Saturday, March 15th, 2009)

So what is Happiness? It is an attitude based on our thoughts, for which we alone are responsible. It is a state of being rather than of doing, and our experience of happiness is a conscious choice, day by day, moment by moment. In other words, my happiness is all about me, just the same as every other aspect of my life, including spiritual growth. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “If it is to be, it is up to me! So how do we create happiness in our lives? I look forward to sharing some thoughts on that with you next month!