What is happiness? But how does one truly recognize happiness?
Gretchen Rubin in her book “The Happiness Project” brilliantly brings up the theory of “recognition”. That “I know it when I see it” kind of thing. In this case it would be “I know it when I feel it”.
Most of the time we are not in touch with our feelings and our bodies, as we rush through morning coffeetime, work time, tasks, dinner, and reading with your kids. When we are on auto-pilot like this, we are mind-wandering. In other words, thinking about something else other than what we are doing.
How can one possibly be able to recognize the feeling of happiness when they are engrossed in thoughts of the past or future?
Thicht Naht Hanh in his lecture “Loneliness is the Ill-being of our Time”, explains that what we humans innately want and need is to connect with other people. This explains our obsession with phones, social media, etc. How often do you look at your phone? For most of us it’s at least 100 times a day, to check our emails, Instagrams, etc.
A Buddhist saying goes – “love in the past is a memory, love in the future is fantasy. Only here and now can we truly love”. This goes the same with happiness. It is also very true that when we cause happiness to others, we automatically bring that to ourselves.
If happiness only exists in the here and the now, then our “purpose” or our daily “intention” is to live as presently as possible. To love in this very moment, let your words and action emanate from that….
My theory: happiness is a product of being fully present. Give yourself permission to slow down, take a deep breath, and be grateful for where you are, who you are, and who you are with, at this very moment.