Enlightenment

Enlightenment

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Enlightenment. The E word. The state of consciousness all spiritual seekers hope for. And yet wishing for enlightenment is a wonderfully paradoxical experience: craving the state of non-craving, trying for effortlessness. There is something fascinating about this conflict between “wanting” and the way it nullifies the state of enlightenment. And yet enlightenment is achievable, and it is much closer to us than we might imagine.

To realise how we could achieve it, we need to begin with an understanding of what is enlightenment. The concept of spiritual enlightenment is among the spiritual concepts that are most frequently contemplated, and often awakens controversy. An enlightened way of being represents the essence of spiritual transcendence. It means living a life in which analysis by the mind is continuously transcended, evading any interference. An enlightened existence means oneness with experiences, devoid of any duality, where the self is known to be an illusion, and life is experienced completely independently of it.

This state has been given different names. It is referred to, for example, as the state of Nirvana, Unity Consciousness, Samadhi, Awakening, and Enlightenment. Whatever name is used, what matters is that it is regarded as a state of freedom from the tyranny of the mind and the illusion of the self.

Do you remember yourself as a child? You were basically fearless, intrinsically willing to say “yes” to the adventure of life. At that time you had an incredible ability to let go of any difficulty, you were able to move smoothly from one experience to another because you never identified your self with any of them. We often see two children fight as if they were the worst enemies on earth, and a minute later they play together as if they were the greatest friends. This demonstrates the ability of children to switch effortlessly from one moment to the next without emotional response. Each moment is tackled separately and completely as a whole. This is a wonderful manifestation of the state of enlightenment.

We are all born enlightened; as years go by we keep accumulating self concepts, and slowly move away from that primary innocence, from the deep feeling that life could be anything and everything. With every bit of conditioning our experience of life, which originally embraced whatever came its way, slowly shrinks to accommodate the limitations of our own mind and self. For some of us this may begin earlier than for others, and the rate of accumulation and conditioning is individual. But this learning process is inescapable, and we unavoidably move away from our original state of enlightenment and enter a state of illusion.

I say that this process is inescapable as it is truly impossible to avoid this conditioning at a very young age. In many ways, the entire spiritual journey is based upon that learning and conditioning – because at a certain point along the way, you begin the process of unlearning. This may happen at different points in life, at different ages, and for a variety of reasons, but the connecting thread is the deep feeling that “I am not experiencing life’s gifts in full”. This is a nagging feeling that tells you that you have lost what you once had as a young child. You have awakened to the fact that your life has been incomplete. Something within you is inviting you to recall your awareness and return home, to let go of illusion and pretence, and regain your original state. This is when the journey of unlearning begins; the journey whereby you strip yourself of the layers in which you have been wrapped, like an onion, to reveal, at the end, your authentic self, the state of enlightenment.

This idea is tremendously challenging. You might be thinking: “Nothing? I am nothing? How could that be?” And yet remember that this nothingness was the foundation of freedom during childhood. Back then, free of definitions and expectations, you experienced life as an adventure. By engaging with spirituality, meditation, and self-awareness, you will have begun your process of unlearning, whether you recognise it or not. And this is our path towards freedom – this is enlightenment.

How Does Enlightenment Feel?

At certain moments you experience transcendence, and catch a glimpse of life as it is. These moments occur when, for some reason, there is a break in the ongoing activity of your mind. When this activity stops, for a brief moment you experience something completely different. This could occur under various circumstances: Deep meditation, extreme shock, an orgasm, the influence of a drug, or an amazingly beautiful natural phenomenon. All these moments have one thing in common: They bring your mind’s activity to a halt, they press the “pause” button for a while.

What do you feel when this happens? Imagine that underneath the never-ending commentary of the mind, underneath all the layers of the Ego Formed Self, runs an undercurrent. This undercurrent is filled with feelings of unconditional love, peace, compassion, and joy. And this undercurrent is constantly calling you, with every breath you take. It is vibrating inside you, because it is who you really are. It is an inner call to return home, to the point where you started and where you will end.

Your Ego Formed Self and its ego concepts form a thick layer that makes it very difficult for you to experience that undercurrent under regular circumstances. To break through the thick layer of the mind and dip in these waters you actually need those rare moments. Have you ever found yourself filled with love or joy or peace that was so immense you almost could not contain it? That was a moment of connection to the source, to the undercurrent, to your Authentic Self; a moment of enlightenment. And the beauty of it is that it may happen suddenly and unexpectedly. You could be standing on the top of a mountain, watching the horizon, or standing on the beach watching the waves, and suddenly something clicks; you stop thinking and come in touch with your Authentic Self. You become one with this amazing, deep, acceptance and joy, knowing deep within that everything is perfectly fine, has always been, and will always be.

A few heartbeats later, the mental noise that gave in for a moment regains control over your awareness and tears your awareness away from the connection to the undercurrent.

Enlightenment is Impermanent

One of the myths around enlightenment is that it is a durable experience that never changes. In reality, our awareness fluctuates; it is as impermanent as anything else. Note that the experience of enlightenment as a way of being does not change; it is always there, waiting for your awareness. As you practice meditation and keep growing, your awareness will extend and grow more consistent, yet it will continue to fluctuate. This means that your connection with the enlightened space, the Authentic Self, will also be subject to change.

During my years of travelling and spiritual practice I have met many individuals who have experienced enlightenment to varying extents. Some of the spiritual teachers I have met could even maintain that connection for long periods of time. And yet, I have never met individuals who experienced a steady, never-ending, enlightened state, where analysis by the mind never interferes at any point. We are human; it is no coincidence that we are born into the challenges of a body and a mind. Had we been meant to be pure spirits or entities of energy, we would have surely been embodied differently, and not be continuously challenged by our mind and body.

We all contend with difficulties implanted within us: anger, frustration, jealousy, pain, sometimes even joy brings discomfort. Spirituality does not resolve these difficulties. Frequently, the spiritual journey will take you even deeper into these feelings of discomfort. This is the meaning of being human. On your path towards enlightenment you will have to engage with such experiences. These challenges, which some might see as limitations, are the reason we are here.

Our lives revolve around learning to live with, accept and relate to all that we are, including what we perceive as our personal limitations. We are not here to be perfect (whatever that means for you); we are here to deal with what we define as our imperfections and briefly touch the enlightened undercurrent as we transform. This transformation cannot be labelled. When we try to label it we fall into the trap of expectations and ego concepts. If you make enlightenment your benchmark, frustration will be your constant companion. Let go of seeking that enlightenment and you will feel great relief and freedom. It is the celebration of your liberation from ego concepts and expectations.

I frequently observe spiritual seekers get deeply frustrated because they are not enlightened after many years of hard work. They are unable to recognise how entrapped they are in their own needs and concepts. Imagine the enlightened space as a road sign that indicates you have come in touch with your Authentic Self, and have been blessed with a glimpse of the experience of it. It does not matter if you reconnect to it next in a moment or in another lifetime. All you can do is continue your spiritual work here and now. And the freer this work is of expectations for enlightenment, the simpler you will find it to transform and grow.

Dear Human
Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty. ~ Courtney A. Walsh

Source: https://www.awarenessisfreedom.com/2017/07/enlightenment-the-most-controversial-psycho-spiritual-experience/

Help Kids Practice Gratitude- All Year Round

Help Kids Practice Gratitude- All Year Round

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by Dr. Carla Fry and Dr. Lisa Ferrari
Our culture trains us from an early age to reach for something new or something better. The practice of gratitude is a great way to help us stop and appreciate what we already have. If you think about it, if we are not grateful for what we have now, then what? Chances are that when we get something new, we won’t be truly grateful for it for long either.
Extensive research has shown that gratitude brings a wealth of positives: It can lead to an increase in life satisfaction, optimism, improved sleep, and a better immune system. It also helps children become resilient, compassionate, and forgiving. And studies have shown that grateful people tend to be kind people.
The family home is the ‘teaching ground’ for children and educating them about gratitude can be essential to their future happiness. But, this is definitely a case of practicing what you preach.
Dr. Fry and Dr. Ferrari have many years of experience as psychologists, which has taught them that children closely monitor their parents’ behaviours and rarely listen to lectures, pep talks, and other verbal diatribes. Children can spot inauthenticity with eagle eyes and they won’t ‘swallow’ our message if we don’t follow it up with real and consistent action.
Here are some powerful exercises parents can do with their kids to help them become more mindful and more grateful.
Step 1“Think It”
Having a gratitude mindset is very important. One common starting point is to encourage your child to think about an experience or a gift they have received. Help them to consider the investment of time and effort the giver went to in order to acquire it.
The gratitude mindset is also important in the day-to-day. One way to foster these feelings is to take a family “gratitude walk” around the neighbourhood and mindfully notice the experience. For example, ask your kids to take a few minutes to really think about their surroundings, using all five of their senses. Maybe they hear three pretty sounds, notice two beautiful trees, or feel a gentle breeze.
Step 2 “Speak It”
Many parents complain that the words, “thank you” have become far too rote. Instead, ask your kids to describe what it makes them feel grateful. Challenge them to a day where they can’t use the words, “thank you,” but instead have to say it using phrases like “I appreciate,” “I notice,” and “I recognize.” This will help kids slow down and really reflect on what exactly they’re thankful for.
For example:

  • I really love the feel of this soft sweater.
  • I really appreciate you asking how my day was.
  • I’m so grateful our family has enough food to eat every day of the year.
  • I really notice how much your hugs in the morning make me happy.

And when your child shows gratitude, be sure to recognize it and validate it.

Try not to say/do:

  • Why don’t you say thank you like the neighbour’s kid?
  • I’m tired of having to ask you to say thank you.
  • I’m tired of giving and you taking.Instead say/do:
  • That time you hugged me really showed me your appreciation.
  • It would help motivate me to make those milkshakes in the morning if you showed me that you really appreciated them.
  • I will do my part once you do your part.Step 3 “Write It”
    A gratitude journal can be a very powerful tool. To start one, encourage your kids to write down three things they appreciated that day. It can be as small as getting to wear their favourite socks or something bigger like having fun with an older sibling. If your child isn’t writing yet, they can watch and help you with your own gratitude journal.
    Gratitude can be taught from infancy, and is best grown by consistently modeling and coaching through all stages of development. It’s easiest on our children and on us if we start early, but it’s never too late to dig into teaching our children gratitude lessons and habits. As human beings, we are adaptable, resilient and almost always have the ability to learn and grow.

Source:http://westcoastfamilies.com/help-kids-practice-gratitude-all-year-round/

Grateful Kids = Happy Kids

Grateful Kids = Happy Kids

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DRS. FRY & FERRARI

According to research by our colleagues at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “People who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.”

Do you want to see your kids instantly 25% happier? Of course you do, we all do! In some ways, the path to happiness is straightforward. Teach them to be awed, amazed, deeply appreciative of:

– What they have
– What they’ve experienced
– Who helped them along the way
– Their own individual qualities and strengths

All parents everywhere want to raise happy and kind children. But in the past several years, parents have come to our office increasingly alarmed that their parenting techniques were yielding the opposite results: dissatisfied, unhappy, entitled kids.

When we wrote our Gratitude and Kindness book, and when people heard the title (before they read the content) parents came to us and said things like, “I know! I tell my kids all the time that they should feel so fortunate for what they have!”

But hearing a polite ‘thank you’ from our kids does not mean they are truly experiencing gratitude. It simply demonstrates their ability to show politeness.

Some parents tend to assume that they need to tell their kids to be more grateful by saying things like, “Kids in third world countries don’t even have enough to eat…” But this is not the way to boost gratitude. We know, definitively, that these pep talks and guilt-inducing statements simply do not work.

We wrote our book to address these common mistakes and to make gratitude, and its benefits, achievable and accessible to families everywhere. We coach parents to lay a fertile ground for gratitude growth by thinking gratefully, speaking gratefully, and demonstrating gratitude through their actions.

Gratitude is a way of being and we encourage parents to have gratitude dialogues with their children to highlight this. A conversation about gratitude looks something like this:

1. Today I’m grateful for_________ because_________.
2. Today I noticed the following good things__________________(sights, sounds, pleasing scents, kind actions).
3. I appreciate the following people in my life __________because of __________________.
4. Things about my world that I realize I have enough of are ______________.

If you can look at gratitude in all the ways we have described, and then teach and model it to your kids, it will increase their ability to tune into and appreciate the good around them. And, they will end up happier.

DR. LISA FERRARI & DR. CARLA FRY | KRISTINA MATISIC CREATIVE
According to research by our colleagues at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “People who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.”

grateful, thedrfs, psychologists, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, helen siwak, retail shopping, kristina matisic,

Do you want to see your kids instantly 25% happier? Of course you do, we all do! In some ways, the path to happiness is straightforward. Teach them to be awed, amazed, deeply appreciative of:

What they have
What they’ve experienced
Who helped them along the way
Their own individual qualities and strengths
All parents everywhere want to raise happy and kind children. But in the past several years, parents have come to our office increasingly alarmed that their parenting techniques were yielding the opposite results: dissatisfied, unhappy, entitled kids.

grateful, thedrfs, carla fry, lisa ferrari, psychologists, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, helen siwak, retail shopping, kristina matisic,

When we wrote our Gratitude and Kindness book, and when people heard the title (before they read the content) parents came to us and said things like, “I know! I tell my kids all the time that they should feel so fortunate for what they have!”

But hearing a polite ‘thank you’ from our kids does not mean they are truly experiencing gratitude. It simply demonstrates their ability to show politeness.

Some parents tend to assume that they need to tell their kids to be more grateful by saying things like, “Kids in third world countries don’t even have enough to eat…” But this is not the way to boost gratitude. We know, definitively, that these pep talks and guilt-inducing statements simply do not work.

We wrote our book to address these common mistakes and to make gratitude, and its benefits, achievable and accessible to families everywhere. We coach parents to lay a fertile ground for gratitude growth by thinking gratefully, speaking gratefully, and demonstrating gratitude through their actions.

Gratitude is a way of being and we encourage parents to have gratitude dialogues with their children to highlight this. A conversation about gratitude looks something like this:

Today I’m grateful for_________ because_________.
Today I noticed the following good things__________________(sights, sounds, pleasing scents, kind actions).
I appreciate the following people in my life __________because of __________________.
Things about my world that I realize I have enough of are ______________.
If you can look at gratitude in all the ways we have described, and then teach and model it to your kids, it will increase their ability to tune into and appreciate the good around them. And, they will end up happier.

gratefu, thedrfs, carla fry, lisa ferrari, psychologists, featured, yvr blogger, entrepreneur, yvr fashion, follow your dreams, fashion, women in business, blogger, fblogger, blush, beauty products, skincare, travel, lifestyle, health and wellness, Vancouver, Victoria, yvr, vancity, westcoast, helen siwak, retail shopping, kristina matisic,

So what is it about seeing the world from a lens of gratitude that makes a child happier?

– They are more readily content with their experiences.
– They are more likely to attune to what they have enough of, whether it be friends, fun times or things.
– They are less likely to dwell on negative thoughts: less likely to lament about how far they are from their goals, or to dread the effort it may take to attain their goals.
– They are more easily satisfied and able to savour the good they experience.
– They bounce back from upsets and stress quicker.
– They do better at school.
– They are sick less frequently.
– They are more likely to surround themselves with other kids who are also happier and who see the world from a brighter perspective.
– Because they are more likely to view their life as being good, they tend to have more space to see other people’s problems and can be more empathic and other-focused.
– They are more socially connected and have better friendships.

Investing in the time and care to boost gratitude in your kids is a worthwhile use of parenting resources and a sure way to raise a happier child.

Happy parenting from,

#TheDrFs

Source: http://blushvancouver.com/thedrfs-grateful-kids-happy-kids/

Should Happiness Be Part of the School Curriculum?

Should Happiness Be Part of the School Curriculum?

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Olivia Parker
11 JULY 2016 • 1:01PM
Every morning after the register, the 260 pupils of Westfield Primary School in Hertfordshire settle in their classrooms into “mountain pose” (standing up, shoulders relaxed) or a sitting position. They close their eyes, imagine they are in their own private “bubble” and spend the next few minutes focusing on their breathing.

These children have completed “Paws b”, a mindfulness course for seven to 11-year-olds. Ask them about the benefits of meditation, says Westfield teacher Adrian Bethune, 35, and they’ll tell you it “flexes the brain’s attentional muscle, which has been proven to help strengthen the prefrontal cortex.” This part of the brain is in charge of concentration, making choices and doing your best.

Meditation is just one strand of new “positive education” methods starting to build momentum and gravitas in schools. The key idea is to teach good practices such as mindfulness and gratitude that will promote resilience and, it is thought, help children lead healthier psychological lives.

Until recently, these might have been dismissed as woolly theories but with children’s happiness now in the spotlight owing to high levels of self-harm, attempted suicide and other mental health problems, they are starting to be taken more seriously.

“Most heads in both phases, primary and secondary, would agree that there’s a challenge that we all face on the mental health of young people,” says Ian Bauckham, headteacher and former president of the Association of School and College Leaders. “There isn’t any single silver bullet, but I think schools teaching people to be resilient to difficulties and challenges is certainly one bullet that can be fired at this problem.”

At Bradon Forest School, a secondary in Wiltshire, assistant headteacher Julie Hunter introduced a happiness programme a year ago after noticing how many of her pupils lacked self-esteem and confidence.

“No matter what they did, it wasn’t good enough,” she says. Hunter completed the University of California’s Science of Happiness course and wrote a programme for teachers and pupils based on “making them happier as human beings”.

The school has since adopted one key idea each term – grit, growth mindset or resilience, for instance – and explored it through assemblies, tutor groups and one-on-one sessions. Pupils might be taught to notice their feelings, or teachers might play calming music in class. Change has been noticeable, says Hunter.

“Whereas in the past the students would say, ‘I’m really stressed,’ now they’re able to say, ‘I need to talk about this,’ or, ‘I need to stop and breathe.’ ” The summer exam period has been much calmer than usual, she reports.

Promoting happiness in schools isn’t new but convincing education leaders of its benefits has taken a lot longer.

Headteacher Anthony Seldon was widely criticised when he introduced the first “wellbeing curriculum” at Wellington College a decade ago. Wellbeing, it was felt, was antagonistic to academic achievement. And despite the success of the programme – Wellington soared up the league tables “quicker than any school in history” over the next nine years – Hunter reports that her colleagues were initially sceptical about her happiness programme.

Schools may now at last be about to enter a period of happiness enlightenment. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan last year vowed to prioritise “good mental health, character and resilience” as a means of boosting academic standards and in September the UK will get its first wellbeing master’s degree in the “philosophy of health and happiness” from Birmingham University.

Seldon, meanwhile, has become even more convinced about the importance of integrating positive psychology into the curriculum. “I am now much more confident that it is right to teach good habits to young people, because that is what happiness is about,” he says. “I would go further and say that if schools do not embrace this approach, they are being negligent towards their children.”

On July 19, he will speak on this subject at the Festival of Positive Education in Dallas, Texas. Many of the attendees will be interested, he says, in conclusive proof that teaching wellbeing produces academic results, which is seen as the key to convincing more schools to get on board.

One professor making progress in this area is Alejandro Adler, a “wellbeing scientist” at Pennsylvania University, who led a groundbreaking study into the effect of happiness classes on performance in Bhutan. More than 8,000 students at 18 schools were assigned either a placebo curriculum or a happiness one, which targeted 10 non-academic “life skills” including empathy and self-awareness.

The study concluded that the happy curriculum “substantially and significantly increased students’ performance on standardised tests”.

In the UK, pioneer studies are also collecting evidence about the effect of happiness on learning. Stephanie Davies, who founded the consultancy company Laughology, ran a “happy-centred school” project in St Matthew’s Primary, Luton, in 2012. After a year, SAT results improved by 20 per cent.

Implementation of such teaching methods is still far from widespread but Seldon, for his part, is optimistic. “The approach will grow in schools, as is already happening with character education,” he says. “The most important development is that the head teacher is passionate about it rather than just paying lip service.”

For the converted, positive teaching is a no-brainer. “Lots of teachers don’t feel they have the time or resources to teach happiness, whereas I don’t care about academic levels,” Bethune says. “I know that if I teach good lessons that are interesting and fun, the children will learn and make good progress.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/07/11/should-happiness-be-part-of-the-school-curriculum/

Chef Maria Loi Named one of NYC’s Top Women In Food Service

Chef Maria Loi Named one of NYC’s Top Women In Food Service

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written by Gregory Pappas December 13, 2017

Maria Loi’s story can be easily called a modern day American dream. The New York City-based chef, restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author arrived from Greece less than five years ago and immediately hit the ground running.

She was recently named one of New York City’s top women in food service by Total Food Service, a national publication about the food service industry that tracks trends and news from the sector.

The list includes some of New York City’s top females ranging from chefs to owners and managers of food service businesses.

Loi, who hails from a tiny village in the mountains above Nafpaktos in Central Greece has had a highly successful and extensive career. Fortune Magazine and the James Beard Foundation selected her as one of America’s top six female chefs and invited her to the 2014 Fortune: The Most Powerful Women Summit.

In addition, Loi is no stranger to television. Not only is she a frequent television guest and speaker regarding various aspects of Greek cuisine and culture, but she is also a well-known television chef in Greece.

Stateside, she has appeared alongside Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, who credited Loi with having the “world’s best branzino” at her restaurant and convincing him to take his vacation in Greece last summer.

In June of 2016, Loi was unanimously re-elected for a second term as the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy from the Chef’s Club of Greece, a nation and a culinary heritage which she won’t stop promoting.

When her dips and spreads were added to the shelves of Whole Foods, Maria famously lifted a jar of skordalia in one hand and a jar of tzatziki in the other and told media that “this isn’t about Maria Loi, it’s about Greece and getting this blue and white flag in more U.S. supermarkets.

Loi hasn’t stopped being a champion for the nation she emigrated from five years ago.

In 2012, she accepted an invitation to cook for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and 250 honored guests at the White House annual celebration of Greek Independence Day during which time her “Greek baklava” caused a minor diplomatic incident between Greeks and Turks, who argued over the dessert’s ethnic origins.

Loi also authored a book published by Harper Collins titled The Greek Diet, offering a look into Greek Mediterranean lifestyle along with a number of healthy and delicious recipes.

Her restaurant, Loi Estiatorio, is located in the heart of Manhattan, just steps from Carnegie Hall and Central Park and already has a host of celebrity “regulars” like Ryan Seacrest, Tony Bennett who lives in the neighborhood and now calls the restaurant his “neighborhood joint” and Star Trekker George Takei.

Source: http://www.pappaspost.com/chef-maria-loi-named-one-nycs-top-women-food-service/

Why Is Happiness Fleeting?

Why Is Happiness Fleeting?

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Why Is Happiness Fleeting?

Why is it that happiness is fleeting? How could it be that you feel great in the morning yet that contentedness fades away by the evening? If I would ask you about your happiest time during the last month your mind will probably wander to an event or a period of time where you felt good, experienced great pleasure and were filled with positive emotions. The association of happiness with joy is a natural one, and yet happiness consists of much more than these positive feelings. To understand this greater depth of happiness we need to explore positive psychology theory and research where a distinction is made between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Such a difference would also make it easier to understand why we experience happiness as a fluctuating emotion.

The first dimension of happiness is hedonistic. This is where a certain event triggers a fabulous feeling – you are eating a slice of pizza which is fresh, hot and delicious, being told by your boss that you’re getting a raise, or receiving praise in school or at work for an assignment. It feels great, and you are glowing inside – it’s a fabulous feeling of joy and pleasure. This aspect of happiness is easy to understand as it is based upon a very simple rule: a maximum of positive emotions and a minimum of negative emotions. In other words, to experience it you need to feel as much joy as possible but sadness or frustration cannot be part of the equation. You might be thinking, “Well, of course they can’t be part of the equation, it’s happiness we’re talking about here”. But as you will see, happiness is a much more complex phenomenon than commonly thought. To better understand this intricacy let’s move on to eudaimonic happiness.

If hedonic happiness is the celebrating, carefree brother, eudaimonic happiness would be its purposeful, aware and deeply contented twin. Eudaimonic happiness asks “Who are you?” followed by “What do you do?” The relationship between the answers determines your experience of eudaimonic happiness. Put simply, if your deeply held values and beliefs are expressed in your life’s choices and activities then you would feel eudaimonia. This is the kind of happiness that is based upon the question of meaning in life. Research in positive psychology shows that people who wake up in the morning with a clear knowledge of their raison d’etre in their life, experience a deep feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Their lives are filled with passion and vitality which are at the heart of eudaimonic happiness.

However, as you might imagine, this journey of eudaimonic happiness is not an easy one. It is filled with challenges, questions, doubts, and the natural obstacles of life. Indeed, it is highly rewarding for long-term happiness, but frequently short-term impact might be difficult as you are struggling to express meaningful insights. Imagine, for example, you are dissatisfied at work. You go through an agonising period of time where you feel that “who you are” and “what you do” are mismatched. You then begin a personal journey of realising what is meaningful to you – and how to achieve it. It might be that you need to take further studies at university, or move down the job ladder into a new position. This process in the short-term is challenging and may instil feelings of frustration, sadness and even pain, as part of this self-actualising experience. And yet it is a natural part of eudaimonic happiness. Going through this development might be challenging but it would probably fill you with a highly satisfying and deep feeling of meaning as you proceed with it. You are investing in your long-term happiness.

The question “why is happiness fleeting?” might be easier to understand now. Hedonic happiness, in its essence, is a brief experience of joy and pleasure which quickly fades away. When you eat a delicious chocolate cake you get short-lived feeling of pleasure spreading through your body – but it is a fleeting one nonetheless. Even the gratification of winning an unexpected amount of money fades away much more quickly than we would have thought. As we equate happiness and pleasure, Eudaimonic happiness offers an instable experience of positive emotions. Eudaimonic happiness, as we have seen, is filled with challenges, making it difficult for us to experience consistent joy. We will no doubt discover moments of great satisfaction and positive emotion, but the difficulties along the way would make it feel as if this positivity comes and goes instead of being constant. And there it is – happiness which we much prefer to feel as never-ending bliss, becomes a fluctuating, fleeting experience. And yet, as we walk our personal path of eudaimonic happiness we discover a new kind of happiness: deep contentment and self-fulfilment. This kind of happiness might be challenging and lack pleasure and joy at certain points in time, and yet it fills us with the burning fire, and passion, of those who live meaningful and purposeful lives.

Dr. Itai Ivtzan is a psychologist; His work is focusing on mindfulness, spirituality, and positive psychology. You can find his workshops, books, and scientific work on his website: www.AwarenessisFreedom.com

His mindfulness training for teachers offers an in-depth discussion and practice of meditation and mindfulness, enabling you to complete a meditation certification online

Source:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindfulness-wellbeing/201603/why-is-happiness-fleeting

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