Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Happiness Project..blah blah best seller

On the recommendation of a friend I am reading the Happiness Project. It is a best seller about one woman's search for happiness. I can tell you right away why she is having a hard time. She is the most tedious person imaginable as she researches where to find happiness. Is it in interests? (She catalogues this), a tidy closet? Lack of clutter...etc etc. I cant imagine why it is a best seller.

Happiness is not an end in itself. It is a by product of a life that is lived with confidence and contentment. Happiness is not a day on the beach, or a nicely organized sock drawer...it is simply a state of being that comes naturally as one lives. I am happy when I see the snow, or the rain, or the sun. I am happy when I go to my bike shed and look at my bikes, or go on my trainer. Happy when I have breakfast, or see my husband or walk my dogs. I don't do anything to look for happiness nor do I fret about "am I happy"

Happiness, or rather an appreciation of the state of happiness exists more obviously when we are directed towards others. I find that I am most satisfied when I am assisting others in some way or thinking about their well being. A life lived in the pursuit of your own happiness to the exclusion of others is doomed to fail. That is why, although I have not finished reading the book, I am pretty sure the author will never find happiness because her search is all about her. It is akin to reading the diary of a 13 year old girl!

I suppose I find the popularity of this dreary read depressing. Is it the case that most of us can no longer find pleasure in a cup of tea? Or in watching birds at a feeder, or people, or watching snowflakes as they fall and alight on fenceposts? Have we become so joyless and morose that we cannot experience the immense pleasure that physicality gives us? The joy of movement or of music? Is this why Prozac is a best seller as well? Is Prozac our Soma where we try to recapture something of the colour of life?

Happiness is not something we look for, it is the way we live and you don't need a book to find that out.

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