A Meditation on Life: The Pursuit of Happiness

Wouldn’t it be nice if happiness was a decision?

Alas, life is not that easy.

No matter what form it takes… a warm hug, a cold beer, carefree play, feelings of contentment and gratitude, physical health, emotional well-being, freedom from want, freedom from fear, the joy of communion, the satisfaction of a job well done, sincere friendship, forgiveness, a gift given, a gift received, a wound healed, a mountain climbed, a promise kept, enjoyment of natural beauty, emotional intimacy, justice restored, a joyous discovery, a clear conscience, an exciting prospect, mutual trust and understanding, a noble accomplishment, a pleasant memory, sexual ecstasy, peace of mind, or hope for the future… happiness is the elusive and fleeting exception, not the rule… sometimes bestowed by grace, sometimes earned, but largely and ever at the mercy of circumstances beyond my control.

Next Meditation: Dry Wells

19 thoughts on “A Meditation on Life: The Pursuit of Happiness

  1. Good thoughts. If happiness is the sought goal then you are correct. It’s a crap shoot. I wonder what the “fathers” of the American constitution meant by “the pursuit of happiness.” Seems to me if that’s the goal of life… well no wonder America is in the mess it’s in. To an aware and open mind, happiness is never a goal, just something that may or may not happen; changes in the weather. As a quest, happiness is a super shallow one; as useful as seeking the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As a pursuit, happiness is a dead end but a life lived for joy will experience more happiness than any others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, the pursuit of happiness a la the American Dream seems more the attainment of material comfort and freedom from… in other words, embracing the BENEFITS of liberty while rejecting the BURDENS of liberty.
      More on the subject later, but I agree that there are ways of living that make higher degrees of “happiness” possible… although such happiness is just a by product, not the pot of gold. Peace.

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  2. I think, like most things in life, happiness is relative.

    I feel content most of the time. I find moments of happiness (if I had to differentiate between the two) each and every day in the small things – the song of a bird, the cuddle from a pet, a shared moment with another, listening to and playing music, pursuing my interests, helping others (this one is a great source for happiness, and contentment), singing like no one is around (as is this one), focusing my attention on the task at hand and doing it well. Achieving goals.

    Most of these bolster a sense of self-worth, or confidence. Both fundamental to contentment in the long run. You need to find moments of happiness… but you need contentment to enjoy life the majority of the time. Words are relative, but I hope you get my meaning.

    There are a myriad of things that bring joy, peace, and contentment. I think a lot of it, though, is dependent upon one’s underlying thoughts/concept of life. Feelings and emotions are like the weather – they pass, they fluctuate, at times they’re unpredictable, but if you have a strong, solid foundation of how you perceive the world, and your place in it, how you react to life as a consequence plays a big part ultimately.

    This of course, is just the tip of the iceberg.. much more could be said.

    Get a good, solid foundation – how does one do that? I think it’s similar for all of us – we’re not that different.

    Something to think about.

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      • Yep.

        I think it’s important to know what makes you happy and content. I don’t think it varies much from person to person. It is a journey to reach this stage, and different for all of us, ironically. It’s human nature to keep searching when we lack this strong foundation of contentment… and we find that nothing material will ever fit the bill. We think it’s the perfect partner, or having kids, or a pet… it comes from within. It is a state of mind. A way of perceiving yourself and the world.

        I think, too, understanding others (in general) helps navigate through life a little easier. Instead of allowing someone to upset us, if we understand human nature (and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a good general grasp of this, there are plenty of good resources out there to educate us), there is less chance of this happening.

        Couple that with a clear conscience, always helping others, etc., being kind to everyone you encounter (even if just a friendly smile at a passerby, or even when you don’t want to be kind), and you’ll soon find that “the nasty ones” have less effect on us. We can walk with our head high, and feel much better for it. We may still have a knee-jerk response to the “jerks,” but it will become less with time (and experience). And it never pays to unleash on them… don’t feed them.

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  3. Actually, it occurs to me that one can live in their own world, so to speak, free from the knowledge of the burdens that plague our society and beyond, and it could be much easier to find this contentment… but I realise for a lot of us, we aren’t that way inclined – we do know “how the other half lives.”

    So, how do you find peace and contentment when confronted, perhaps daily, with this knowledge, or it’s brought to mind? You are then dealing with feelings of perhaps despair, extreme anger, or other similar strong reactions. These of course pass, like the bad weather, and you do what you can to help – contribute in some way – no matter how small that contribution may be… you do what you can.

    People, society, cultures can and do change, one step at a time – one deed at a time. It may seem hopeless, and a huge ask – and maybe in our lifetime it is – but what’s the alternative? To do nothing would be much harder to live with.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I remember seeing some horrific images of suffering, and it upset me so deeply, it caused a knock-on effect in another area of my life. I couldn’t deal with the despair and helplessness i felt over the senseless violence towards the defenseless, in this particular case, animals.

        So, I jumped online, signed a petition, and sent it to everyone I knew, including animal welfare organisations, the media, etc., as well as commenting on YouTube where people had influence (followers), and asked them to jump on board and help too.

        People were outraged upon learning about the mistreatment of these animals, and I encouraged them when they felt it was hopeless, by recounting various stories of success of people power – how it has influenced great change – laws have been changed, dictators overthrown by their own people (Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines), standards improved where before they were abysmal, etc. etc.

        Anyway, you get my meaning – it all about small steps, being kind, being respectful, being strong…. yep. 🙂 Getting out there – and into the thick of things… which you are, judging by your pics… you’re fighting the good fight…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How true is that? Look at how easy it is today to run with half-baked facts, and the consequences of acting before knowing. One of the reasons I don’t “do” social media.

    Liked by 1 person

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