During the course of the last few days a few experiences have made me think a lot about life and relationships in general. My first instinct now was to create a joke and in some way detract from this very serious kind of post. Because, let’s face it, we like to read things that make us smile, or brighten our day in some small way, perhaps even in a way that is lost on the next person. We often avoid the “deeper” things or trivialise them because for some reason being “deep” is often looked down upon. I think we avoid expressing some of our deeper contemplations because we are insecure about them, maybe we fear them, perhaps we even think that revealing these parts of ourselves open us up to attack. Now I do not mean physical attack but these are things that some people do not really talk about, we all think about them right? (questions if he is normal).
BUT, what I like to read is something that makes me stop, think and take stock of how I view the world. So here goes 🙂
Why are we alive? Well the biologist in me says that our primary goal is to survive long enough in order to reproduce and be fit enough in order to ensure the survival of our offspring (yes that basically means we eat to survive so that we can have sex and produce babies- sometimes biology is simple well for some people). But the conscious, philosophical side of me thinks that there is more to this living thing. There must surely be a point to it all? And I think a big part of it has to do with being happy. Yes as simple as good old happiness! It is at the basis of our entire experience, with experience taken to mean our lives. It is something we all desire, something we all strive towards. Sometimes we also strive for it, mistakenly thinking we do not “have” it yet. That sort of mindset is flawed, goals are great and all, and yes when we achieve something that will bring us a sense of happiness but true happiness is something that is far more internal. It is not something we have to go looking for, it is something we already have. It is a state of mind. Some people will never be happy, why? Because they always want more, and while there is nothing wrong with that this also means that they rely heavily on the outside world to “give” them happiness. When simply when you realise who you are and what makes you happy that is all you need, it is something you can choose to have based on what you already possess and the connections and relationships you have already nurtured. The experience that is life is (hopefully) a long one for us all. We ought to try to live it the best way we possibly can.
What I mean is this, instead of wanting that new car, or that high paying job to “make” us happy choose to appreciate the small things. I take incredible joy and derive loads of happiness by helping and being there for the people in my life. Today for example I was told an exciting story by a very close friend and it was special to me, not because I gain any sort of tangible benefit from it but because It was extraordinary to feel her excitement and awe at what she had experienced. It gave me an incredible sense of happiness, because I was so very happy for her. We derive happiness from those in our lives and when they are happy, we are happy. Or should I say happier?…remember we can always be happy. Convoluted I know! Ultimately one path to happiness is caring about others, being compassionate to their situation. Likewise when those important to us are going through a difficult time it instills a deep sadness. And while some would argue that this interdependence is dangerous. I disagree. I think that because we care about the happiness of someone else we are capable of being there to support that person in their time of need, if they need it.
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life—-The Dalai Lama
Ultimately It is all about altruism!! Now you may ask yourself, how can being happy if other people are happy be altruism…I think it can be. We are not gaining any sort of materialistic benefit by helping someone. I once had this same conversation with another friend. And while altruism to many runs around the same playground as unicorns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows, I think it is something real. Yes we may gain a bit of extra happiness, which you could then argue that we are helping someone in order to feel…which then makes it a “selfish” act and somewhat discounts altruism- BUT is it really selfish? Your are concerned with their happiness, with their well-being and only when they are happy do you gain your sense of happiness…That does not sound un-altruistic to me! happiness breeds happiness! in the most internal of senses. So we should all aim to make the lives of other people better because inadvertently we improve our own.