Happiness – absolute and relative

Happiness is when you are in the flow. You feel alive. At peace with yourself and others. Emotionally connected and in harmony with others. Being in your creative element. Savouring the delightful, sensual flavours of life. Discovering your potential. Seeing the positive side of problems. Laughing things off….

I believe that, deep down, everyone is searching for happiness but it eludes so many and so often because of the clouded mind of illusions. Most people still look for it in things far more than in themselves, only to find that it doesn't materialise at all or is that most short-lived. That is because of a cycle of dissatisfaction through wanting more all the time, or lack of gratitude, and generally not realising that we are the deciders in the matter of happiness. Happiness is a decision.

When you feel happy, you attract many good things: people, situations, success… You have a higher state of energy and this obviously can improve your health and motivational level. On the other hand, when you are “down" or “low" that is by definition a less energetic state except perhaps during short-lived bursts of anger. But even after a bout of anger we often feel sapped of energy because we were fighting against something with frustration. Low energy levels mean a tendency for health to deteriorate, and may result in attracting undesirable events and situations. It certainly doesn't equate with feeling alive being of a generally negative mindset. Surely we want to feel alive and well?

The negative emotions have a positive role to play when we learn to understand them and their causes, and are able to create value as a result of them. But if they get the upper hand generally, we become imprisoned through tunnel-vision, a vicious cycle of seeing only bad meaning in events, which fuels further fatalism and victimisation-perceptions when such events repeat themselves. Phases of positivity and negativity together in life are not only unavoidable, they are necessary to make for dynamic, interesting and enriching experiences as long as we don't allow ourselves to remain in negativity.

Much of happiness that is experienced is relative. It requires desirable events, situations, people and material things. It needs life to go well. In contrast, absolute happiness is a state that can exist despite things “going badly". In reality it may seem like an impossible task to be happy during hard times and it would be foolish to expect a plateau of joy to continue unabated come what may. It is normal and healthy to fall into despair, anger, hatred and frustration from time to time. But the human potential is huge for learning to see the positive side of undesirable events as they arise, for developing the skills of resilience, for being imaginative and creative in transforming problems, for focusing on thoughts that recreate positive energy, or even for completely letting go if necessary, so that one can achieve an inner stillness. There are many methods available to us to create absolute happiness if we are only willing to look and try hard enough.

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