Happiness is something that we all aspire to. Even the grumpiest old man in the world is looking to take some pleasure, whether he would like to admit it or not, in the stance he takes when he faces the world each day.
Others struggle to find it in the small windows of free time they have to themselves when released from work or other external commitments, and children are often the lucky ones who are able to find it in the most innocuous and simple of places.
For most adults, the wonder of the world that is the one seen from the child’s eye is something that is nothing but a distant and sometimes painful memory. We can hope to share in it vicariously through our own children, and some happiness lies undoubtedly in watching our children grow, but where then do we find it when they are older enough to take care of themselves? And what about those who are too young, unable, or simply have no interest in having children?
- ·Meditation: The act of meditation can take many forms and does not necessarily need to involve baggy trousers, tons of knowledge of the esoteric, and a hippy lifestyle. Meditation, much like yoga, is an activity that can be enjoyed in many ways and in any place. The basic premise of meditation and its direct link to happiness is that it encourages the practitioner to look into themselves. It may be somewhat of a cliché, but happiness does lie in you. Meditation looks to give grounding and focus on the individual. By taking just ten minutes out of your daily schedule, one is able to strip away the stresses of the world outside and find a point of equilibrium that leaves you feeling invigorated and ready to take on that place on your own terms. Your thoughts will become clearer, your own intentions will be better understood, and the process will ultimately lead to a better state of consciousness whose goal should always be one of happiness.
- ·Our Hobbies: How many people actually practice those things that give them a sense of joy? It is easy to complicate the road to happiness and to forget just how rewarding simple pleasures can be. Whether it is painting, writing, swimming in the sea, walking in nature, or just reading a book, it is often those little things that are well within our grasp which can afford us the most happiness, at least in the short term. If we are denying ourselves of even our most simple pleasures it is highly unlikely that we will be able to find happiness on any wider scale. It is great to have the perfect job, the loving partner, the house by the sea, but where is the personal and private joy to be found in those things? In order for us to feel the happiness within the world, it is essential for us to first satisfy the thirst that exists within ourselves. Enjoying ourselves then allows us to go forward and interact on a happier level with the world and to find the positives rather than the negatives within it.
- ·Travel: The kind of travel I am talking about here is much more than a snatched weekend away. It is the kind that allows you to step away completely from the world that you inhabit day in and day out for the majority of your life. This kind of real release is paramount when talking about happiness, as it is so easy to fall into the trap of perceived happiness. People spend their whole lives convinced that they are happy and are one day struck dumb with the realization that the opposite was in fact true. Travel then means disconnecting completely with the world as you know it. You may not even go far physically, but you must move a million miles away emotionally. Of course, a combination of the two is the ideal movement and the one that best reawakens you to the simplicity of happiness or the realization that you possess very little of it. A trip into the sanctity of the Himalayas, volunteering in Africa, a road trip through the deserted beauty of Route 66; these are the journeys that can take your body and soul far away from life as you know it. The only drawback is that you have to go home. But do you, really?