The achievement of true and total happiness emanates from a number of sources. There are many authors who have tried to capture the essence of it. The closest I have heard to the key ingredients named four vital sources of happiness.Having described them, I shall share with you a fifth of my own.
Those five sources are, I believe, essentially interlinked and inter-dependent. They could be said to relate to five levels of our life and activity as humans.
The first level amounts to the simple pleasure and happiness of the spontaneous enjoyment of a particular food or one-off activity. It could be a particular favourite flavour of ice-cream, of pizza, a particular fun-ride in a pleasure park. It is experienced, enjoyed greatly, and then it is gone.
The second level, just as important as the first, has been described as the experience of the joy and happiness of competing successfully. Success by winning or by doing well feeds our sense of self-worth. It is not so much the feeling of somehow being able to lord it over your fellow competitors for having done well. It comes more from the feeling of pleasure and happiness that the work, the training and the preparation done to enable us to compete well, has all been worth while.
The third level or source of happiness stems from our community involvement. Here, it is said, we gain happiness from contributing to our community for the good of that community. Community can be described in any number of ways and yet still be applicable. It could be our village or town. It could be the community of an interest group involving our education, our health, our local environment. But it is our sense of connection, of giving and taking, of communing with like minded people or by using our skills for the betterment of others in the community which is significant. More, it is the third vital integrated source to achieving happiness.
The fourth and highest level of activity in terms of our perception of Life, could be said to be the pursuit of our ultimate purpose in life. The commitment to a purpose which we can only contribute to in our lifetime, which will out-live us and which has some true spiritual context for us, bringing to us the ultimate level of happiness. It could be a religious commitment. It could be a commitment to banish disease or protect the environment. Importantly it is of spiritual dimension, bringing to us that sense of happiness derived from a commitment to a cause far greater than ourselves..
My own fifth source could conceivably be two sources, but I would say it is the combination of unconditional love and gratitude for and from another. This, with the four sources described makes for a happy life.
However there are dangers lurking in all this and I have written a sequel to this article, describing them. Should you wish to establish the name of the author of the happiness research, you can obtain if from my blog.
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