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What is Happiness

Arkady G. Aseev

Probably happiness is the most desired thing of all things in the world, regardless of the age, gender and nationality. Let us get into what it is and is it possible to reach happiness. And if we can reach it, then how?

It is clear that happiness for the Papuan, Brazilian, Indian and Russian would be a bit different. Though there is much in common for all the people.

Adults think that children possess happiness, while they themselves do not have it. But does the child know that he is happy? The child just lives and is joyful, singing in the rain. He feels good, just that. It is because child’s consciousness is constructed a bit different than of adult person. Consciousness of the adult is more reverted outside, because he is more separated from the outer world. Adult feels lacks of «something» and constantly looks for this «something» outside of him. The child is more in harmony, and his consciousness is far more united with outer and inner world, is more integral. This is one of many differences in the consciousnesses of adult and child. To summarize — a child is simply singing in the rain, while adult is constantly seeking happiness and looking for what he does not have to get it.

So what is happiness in general understanding? What will be taken as happiness by all people on the Earth? One can say that this is well-being, sweetness and light, heaven on earth, God’s grace, desired life without grief and anxiety, when you have all you want. And even if you do not have it, just wish and it quickly appears in your life. The last point is strongly connected with luck, which was understood by our ancestors as desired case, unpredictable friendly turn of events, traditional counting on a miracle. Happy man is lucky, he is permanently fortunate in life, he is successful. There is a proverb similar to the Russian one: he dances well to whom fortune pipes. And one more important notice: in all cultures on Earth there is understanding that happy man does not suffer: sufferings, grief, bad luck give a wide berth to him.

It is easy to note that we have just described such ideal of human life, the qualities, which lack even mythical figures and gods, who have supernatural forces. Life of the gods, as it was described in the legends of various nations, was never as smooth and sweet as one we described above. From the beginning (and not only in the beginning) every hero always meets severe difficulties in his life, and often he is surrounded by cunning and envious persons.

But a man tends to the ideal. People belonging to different cultures on Earth tend to the ideal. People try to achieve at least a small part of this description, at least for a short period of time. People agree it will be temporary, but they want it with all their hearts.

What is the origin of this word? In the vocabulary of V. Dahl we read the meaning of the word «happiness» in Russian: a part, a piece, a bit; in comparison with fate, doom, and destiny. Looks like a pie, isn’t it so? And, yes, this is a pie, a social pie, a piece of it is granted to everyone by society.

For example at those days when people lived in the caves, the hunters brought meat to the tribe. It their hunting trophies not be divided equally. The headman and his relatives got the best pieces of meat, less significant people got smaller pieces, and insignificant received the rest and the worst. Each received a piece of meat, and these pieces were happiness *, as they were the actual pieces provided by the community.

In most cases good pieces of provision were received by a small group of people. Most part of the tribe had not very fat life. That is why people all over the world dreamt about fat and happy life. They wanted to have provision, and have always a lot of provision, and a variety of it always present. Slowly these wishes have transformed into phantasies, how a happy life should look like. As people’s souls as in general all like each other at our planet, thoughts of what is happiness were nearly the same all over the world.

It is evident that happiness in such a description is directly connected with the position in the society, which an individual has. This position cannot be guaranteed for a very long time, and there is a constant battle to get it. Let’s explain with the example from the times when the social pie was divided by the kings, and happiness was directly related to ‘honor’. Who was most honored — sat at the right of the king during the feast. Those with smallest honor, sat far from the king. This pie-honor could be inherited. But it also could be quickly lost, if you lose king’s favor. So the people struggled for this pie-honor, and often it was a deathly battle. Because happiness and life of the whole family, or even the whole group, and not only a single individual was dependent of the size of this honor. To loose honor at these time was worse than to loose life.

Above the king’s or tribe head’s will, happiness depended on the natural conditions, on weather, on social and political state, on the peacefulness of the place where people lived. It is clear that happiness was very changeable. But despite its temporary nature, a man always tried to make his happiness infinite.

Nothing in our changing world is constant, there is nothing infinite. All things change according to causal laws.  Nothings happens just simply so; but everything that happens always has grounds. There could be nothing absolutely independent, autonomous in our world. In the East it is called the law of karma.

There are so many interconnections, that it is impossible to see all of them. At the same time there is scientific empirical fact that all in the world is developing according to various cycles. Everything has its ups and downs, its rhythms.

Let’s have a look, if a man has possibility to be happy always, regardless of any conditions. And when this is possible? And if this is possible, how to reach this?

Nowadays talking about somebody’s welfare, money is meant under it. Modern dreams of happiness are related to money, at the end of the day. Many people think that more money means more happiness, so more money the better. Is it really so?

Seems that getting finance, you can create for you (and possibly for some people near you) this happiness of the life on earth, which all people dream about. What do we get in this case? The classical «piece of social pie», which is enough for welfare. But is it enough to feel happiness always? Definitely not. High level of welfare allows in most cases to avoid catastrophic material conditions. But that is all.

So as you see, happiness is not just money. Also happiness is not glory, success or power. Let’s remember lives of some people: Elvis Presley died of the drugs, Marylyn Monroe also had a very unhappy life. From modern living artists — Mel Gibson. Seems he had all he wanted. But he needed to get treatment from the alcohol abuse. You can remember other famous people, living far away from happiness. There are very many people who have money, success and power, might be not as famous as the examples above. And having all attributes of happiness on the earth, they are very unhappy souls. If they were happy, there was no need to be alcohol or drug abused, which is evident. One who is really happy doesn’t need this.

So above material earthly happiness a man needs happiness inside, in one’s soul. It is slightly similar to a happiness of a child, but advanced and complete.

What is happiness in one’s soul? Let’s turn to the wise ancestors. Russian had proverbs like: «God gives health, God gives happiness», «Fool is happy, wise is given by God».

It is evident that ancestors related happiness directly with what is granted by God. And this was considered larger happiness, than the ordinary one. And it was also considered that only clever man could be really happy. (Do you remember the proverb «Fool is happy anywhere»? There is hidden laugh of the fool. Fool in Russian culture is a man who does not know how the world is constructed. And in this case has no idea what happiness is. Fool needs so little in comparison to a «normal man»…)

Just think what could be given by the community, and what — by God? E.g. one did only good things in this life and has very good karma. When would he be more happy: if he alone without any help and support from God lives on his good karma; or when he has God’s help even with not so good karma? (For sure bad people will not be supported by God, individual karma should be good. And treachery destroys it completely.) As you see, connection with God makes a man significantly happier that connection with the society. Betrayal completely destroys connection with God. Also connection with God, but in a lesser degree, is destroyed by forlornness, despair, self-pity, wish to suffer, and some other feelings and deeds, such as lie, slander, etc.

We need to understand that all people at the thin higher layers are a one man. If somebody makes harm to another person in the material world, at the thin layer he destroys himself by this. Aggression to anybody in our world will turn to self-destruction; aggressive person will get into depression at least. Such person gets himself away from connection, unity with God, to prevent more destruction in this world.  Fine structures of our soul are cleverer than we in our physical bodies; they are touching God directly. If a man in his material body is destroying others, these fine structures which are in touch with God, isolate him to make evil harmless. Evil done by a man to the other people turns against him, and self-destruction program starts.

So being completely united with God, a man could be most happy. For the liars and bad guys this is simply inapproachable condition.

It is worth paying attention that similar understanding of God is in all cultures — Christian, Jewish, Muslim. There is no God as Creator and Governor in Buddhism. But those who met genuine Buddhists, who devoted their lives to Buddhism (e.g. with Dalai-Lama), would never say that these people do not have happiness. They do. Happiness is streaming from them, filling the people around.

How do they get this, if they do not believe in God?

According to Buddhism, the world is full of suffers. And there are Four Noble Truths (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths) which help to overcome suffers and reach happiness. If you learn them, you will see that happiness in Buddhism is not connected with material aspect at all. Really during my travel I met a lot of Buddhist monks, who had practically nothing material, and they were very happy people.

Seems there is contradiction to what I have described above as necessary condition for happiness — inextricable connection with God. But if you learn Buddhism more deeply (and better get your own experience), you will understand that these conditions in which practicing Buddhists are staying, is inextricable connection with God, with God-Father and God-Spirit, as Christian people understand this. So no contrary at all.

Also it may be noted that Christianity puts love on top of all. Developing this human feeling is necessary for connection with God, and thus — for happiness. Buddhism has compassion on the top. If you take a closer look, you will find these are the same. Read the article, in which I describe what love is: http://noocosmology.com/article/what_is_love.html. Love is streaming to be united with God. It is the feeling directed to Him. Compassion is a feeling directed to other people in order to help them, make them free from suffers. Different directions of the same heart feeling, striving to make everybody happy.

Happiness, how to become really happy — this is a very big theme. In this article I managed to do only some sketches.

In conclusion I will describe what happiness is for me. First of all, purity, warmth, light and comfort inside of outside of the soul. Complete harmony and huge unity with God. And constant streaming of all this to people. Streaming to make life more happy for people near me, and for all those who surround me, all those who are connected with me.

One more to mention: human soul has a very complicated structure. You can read some description here: http://noocosmology.com/article/about-soul-organization-choice-and-spiritual-development.html

And here is my understanding what God is: http://noocosmology.com/article/the-creator-in-my-perception.html.

If this theme arouses more interest — how to become really happy, we shall discuss next year. It can be said that if a man strongly doesn’t want to be happy, he will not be happy.

December, 26th, 2013

* In Russian language the words happiness and a piece [of ‘social pie’] have the same origin.

Keep reference to the original resource http://noocosmology.com/article/what-is-happiness.html

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