DEFINING HAPPINESS

In this post we will try to define happiness and understand it. Happiness may be a subjective issue; for example: to someone eating nice food in a restaurant may bring happiness but to someone else it may not, to someone owning a nice cellphone may bring happiness but to someone else it may not. Definition of happiness may change from person to person. But there has to be a unique criteria or parameter to judge how much happy we are currently and how much greater levels of happiness we can achieve.

If we consult Patanjali’s yoga then it says that the perfect balance of mind and all the faculties produces all round peace and happiness. It also says that when the ‘atma’ (soul) is in union with ‘paramatma’ then it brings eternal happiness. In other words being spiritually happy means being eternally happy. There are different schools of thought, different systems of yoga, different arts and sciences offering their own definitions on happiness. Each school of thought has its own philosophy and its own methods. But we are not trying to be bookish here. We should ask ourselves what should be the most practical way of defining happiness that relates to our daily lives.

Let’s ask ourselves what our daily lives consists of ? It consists of several emotions that we pass through daily. Everything that we do in our daily lives triggers a series of various kinds of emotions in our minds. These emotions may be either positive or negative. We may face positive emotions like pleasure, hope, joy, contentment, peace, motivation, love or we may feel negative emotions like fear, guilt, shame, despair, anger, frustration, lack of self esteem etc depending on how our daily activities affect us. Throughout our day we pass through a whole spectrum of emotions both positive and negative. Now it sounds obvious that if somehow we are able to avoid the negative emotions and only positive emotions stay in our mind then it will lead to happiness. So happiness in not just about staying happy, it is also about removing negative feelings which hinder happiness.

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