What Is Happiness?
What Is Happiness?
Allyn Lyon (Meditation Teacher ) gives expert video advice on: How do you define happiness?; Does everyone have the ability to be happy?; Who are the happiest people? and more...
How do you define happiness?
I would like to define happiness as… there is conditioned happiness, which is the warm puppy, the ice cream cone, a good steak dinner, whatever it is that causes you momentary contentment. But that's conditioned. And when there is no puppy, or ice cream you're not happy. That just sort of follows. Contentment on the other hand - you're glad you got the ice cream, fine, you enjoy it, and then you're still enjoying the rest of your life or appreciating it. So it's not your state of well being, your sense of well being is not based on particular conditions.
Does everyone have the ability to be happy?
Everyone has the capacity for being Happy because, everyone has the capacity to wake up. Well, the more we see through the dramas we create the more content we can be with things as they are. And more interested we are in things as they are. And so that you have this almost a joy of discovery and appreciation of the world that we are in that isn't conditioned by what we particularly find.
Who are the happiest people?
In my travels, I have found that the people who have the least tend to be the most content. People in Nepal used to be like that before the Maoist insurrection. The people in Mexico tend to be extremely cheerful, and know how to celebrate. It's not based on having a lot of money or possessions. Tibetan people are among the most cheerful you could ever hope to meet, and yet people would say they're oppressed, that they have almost nothing.Well, they have something and they are very cheerful.
Do you believe that the average person is happy or unhappy?
I suspect the average person is not content, because discontent seems to be part of the human condition in general. How serious a discontent it is varies tremendously. But there's a little itch that something's not quite right, that causes a little itch of anxiety that almost everyone experiences.
What part does money play in happiness?
Well I think it's vastly over rated but in my own personal experience when I do not have to worry about where I'm going to, you know, having enough then I am naturally much more content. This is obviously conditional, contentedness.
What part does family play in happiness?
Obviously this is an incredibly relative situation in the family because some families are functional and some families are dysfunctional. When you have a family that's working well, then it's a great support system and because there is a natural affection which is a cause of contentment, when we can feel affection, we're happy. When we have love and concern for others, that's happiness. So when we're in a family that can't do that, that's misery upon misery, but if you're in a family that has a good dynamic, than it's a very cheerful situation.
What part does spirituality play in happiness?
I think that having some kind of a feeling of having a place in the universe is also a seed for contentment. That you're not always worried about whether you are loved -- it's too groundless. So I think a spiritual practice helps.
What part does work play in happiness?
Well I know in my own situation I have the best of all possible jobs from my point of view. Because I do what I love to do and I can travel and meet all kinds of new people and it is delightful. And it is my passion. I think it is best if people can have their livelihood and their passion go together. Then they will be much more contented and cheerful. Where as if it is just the j-o-b, it is necessary in order to pay the rent, but their passion is someplace else. Then there is always a conflict and always some discontent.
What role do love and sex play in happiness?
It's going to give you a ride. Whenever we love someone we are going to experience pain. You can't help it; I mean in the best of all possible world's you'll both die together, but usually somebody has to go first. And so it's going to change, you're going to lose them. And you can't help it and that's no reason not to love. It's just that, again, if you love and have affection and really genuine feelings but at the same time an understanding that, yeah, sometimes it's going to hurt. And that's fine, that's not being dependant upon things going a certain way.