Thursday, January 28, 2010
Life, liberity and the persuit of happiness
What does happiness mean to you?
Is it enough to get up and go to work every day for the rest of our lives? To make more money and buy more stuff? Does that give enough meaning in our lives so that we can be fully satisfied?
We Americans have so much weath outside and it has cost us so much. A top 10 issue that couples across America fight about is money. People are so concerned with money. Don't get me wrong, I am as concerned as the next person about making the bills. But do we think about the importance of other types of value? Of higher values like inner satisfaction, peace, wisdom and forgiveness? And are we concerned with developing and achieving those values on a daily basis? I don't know. But, from the way I see Americans living it doesn't look like it.
So I ask, what is the point? We go to school for years and years with the idea of getting a good job and having a good career. What use is a life that exists on the basis of achieving a means to an end? You go to school, you get a good job, you buy a car and a house, you get married, you have kids . . . then what? Is that it? Is that enough to make you happy with this life? Or is there something more? Is there a desire within us that we can achieve something greater than just material weath? For the sake of our future generations (and the current ones) I certainly hope so. No amount of stuff is going to create lasting happiness in the American People.
Are we achieving happiness as a nation?
According to the National Institue of Mental Health "about 1 in 4 [American] adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year." I am not convinced that the American people actually know what happiness is or how to achieve it. Sure, one could argue that happiness is different for every person, but I don't buy it.
In order to achieve lasting happiness one has to have a state of inner balance. The world outside is ever changing and if your happiness is tied to the outside (material) world, your happiness will surely be short lived. However, with some effort, the world within each of us can be steadied; and a lasting happiness can be built on that framework. Imagine having the power to face the challenges of life without being robbed of your happiness. No need for anger, frustration, sorrow . . . just peace and the enjoyment of each moment. It is possible.
We are blessed in America that we can exercise freedom of choice without ridicule. But freedom is a mixed blessing. We can easily make choices that encourage happiness or self-destruction. America is just over 230 years old; in relative terms, our country is a baby. And thus we lack the moral traditions that prevent us from regularly making stupid decisions. In saying moral traditions I mean wisdom, innocence, humility, and discretion. I long for a day when the American people are empowered with the strength to know themselves and to experience the complete liberty of the Spirit.
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in Harmony."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi
Anybody can think the thought, talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?
Meditation is the answer . . . happiness is the question.