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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Understanding Happiness

Happiness is not an 'experience' in terms of an achievement, but rather a motion.  In physiological terms, it is about a series of brain chemical experiences that transition us from anticipation and excitement to satisfaction and relaxation.
This is why this article should be no surprise, though it might be for many:
The modern mind sees happiness as a achievement... a single event or experience.  But, it really isn't.  It is only by repeating the false image of happiness that we can ignore the truth that you don't get to happiness in a split-second. 
I think advertising usually plays into this because an ad would have to be far more complex in order to express happiness in that way.  Advertisers want to keep ads simple, because they know you won't spend time to get their messages.
Others do not want us to think about happiness too much because they are afraid that you might disagree with them.  They want a quick agreement and not too much focus on the reality of all the potentially contradicting evidence.  Most often, however, we do that to ourselves.  We want something so bad because we want to be happy but we are not willing to work at it.
Or, at least take the time for it.
In this day and age, we have lots more shots at being happy, or rather getting things we think will make us happy.  Look at all that you have around you right now.  Just think about the endless possibilities that the very computer you are using right now is offering you.
All you need is time... the one thing we seem to be running out of.
Your great-grandfather could have entertained himself with a pocket knife and a piece of wood.  Now, you have a power outage and almost instantly have a panic attack.  All he needed was daylight, but now look at all the things you need
A process takes time.  Take away the time, and there can be no process.  But, this also eliminates the potential for real happiness.
That's why drugs are so popular: you can get a quick fix of brain chemicals without having to work for it or spend any time really working towards happiness.  The clamor for marijuana legalization in America is not about 'free choice' as much as it is a desperate cry of despair: "We don't have the time or energy to be happy, so let us smoke pot!"
If you want to find happiness, then you have to work.  You also have to be realistic: happiness is not about controlling the process as much as adapting to it.  This is the second fallacy after happiness as a singular experience.  Most folks think that happiness is synonymous with control.
Look at powerful people.  Are they really happy?  Does their control bring real joy?
Most of the super-wealthy are generally unpleasant people.  In Hollywood, the old saying goes that the stars that aren't jerks are the ones that are depressed.  The only happy ones you encounter are the ones that stay outside the 'game' of power and influence.
Yet, we continually fill ourselves with the notion that we have to be in control and that happiness is about actualizing our expectations rather than enjoying the mystery of surprise.
I know that, in most cases, people are deeply disappointed in meeting me.  Generally speaking, I fail to live up to most people's expectations (especially my own).  They think they will be 'happy' meeting me (for what reason, I have no idea), and come away with... well, I'm not exactly sure.  Most folks don't call back with feedback.  Sometimes I am a jerk on purpose, because I test people who seem over-confident in their 'spirituality' (I will say that I have a highly-tuned 'BS-o-meter' that has rarely failed me, though I must say that I have failed it by ignoring its results on more than one occasion).
That's OK.  I don't make myself out to be anything other than a man with a blog and a short attention span.  I am not here to make anyone happy.  In fact, quite the opposite: what I write here is designed to take away 'happiness'... the false kind.  The cheap kind.  The delusional kind.
If you want to be happy, then let go and appreciate what God is giving you right now.  Take the time and savor the experience.  Stop whining about your plans.  They are probably stupid anyhow (most of mine are).
Happiness is a journey.  Ultimately it is a journey in God, with God, through God.  Enjoy it.

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