Happiness is a state of being. Pleasure is a feeling. In his book, “Happiness” , Mathew Ricard , the scientist turned Buddhist monk encourages us to embrace the tenets of the Buddhist philosophy to ensure our happiness state. One of the main tenets of Buddhist philosophy is that the lot of man is suffering. That is unless he has cast off the illusions of life , shed ignorance and become aware.
Looking around in any major city where I usually reside,the truth of this statement becomes evident. Most people do not know themselves. They neither know their weakness’s nor their strength. They are lost souls seeking satisfaction by pursuing a lifestyle in which they are programmed by many agencies of society and in a specific nefarious manner ,the advertising and marketing industry. They are constantly comparing their lives to the one that they should be having according to media influences. To be their true authentic selves and striving for their personal bests entirely escapes their consciousness.
Therefore, for the most part, they become their own worst enemies in the pursuit of happiness.
Knowing who they really are, their soul’s purpose eludes them. Perhaps if the countries in the world imitated the country of Bhutan and had ,”The Gross Happiness Index instead of of the the ,”Gross National Product as their goal more people would be happier.
In the eighties I read a book called,”The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. His wise teacher said there were many ways of getting wealthy. He went on to say, “You could marry rich, you could rob a bank, you could work hard and save your money or you could control your desires”. This last statement impressed me at the time. This is what Mathieu Ricard suggests in his book. This requires discipline and being an independent thinker which is the opposite we in Western society are programmed. We are programmed to trust and obey authority in all its’ various forms.
The gap between the rich and poor is increasing every day.
This is the first time in history that young people have given up having the expectation that they will not be as wealthy or surpass their parents. They represent the highest group of unemployed people in the West. For every MBA making a six figure salary there are thousands of post high school graduates working as Barista at Starbucks and other Coffee shops and other minimum wage paying jobs.
Research shows that after attaining a minimum amount of wealth to allow you the freedom to do what you want ,when you want any additional wealth does not bring one any more happiness. The challenge at the moment is that young people often are scrambling to pay their rent, make payments on huge student loans and enjoy a lifestyle they previously had living with their parents without being in constant debt. It is impossible to do so being paid the minimum wage.
It is not only young people but many older people especially woman in retirement age suffer from the same fate.
It appears that many people are in a survival mode. How long can this continue in North American society. We have seen its” effect on the ,”PIGS”-Portugal, Italy,Greece and Spain. When will this unhappiness spread to North America or has it already?
The question one must ask oneself is ,”What is my passion, and what nurtures my soul”? For me ,it has been my work in healing,doing all I need to do to keep myself healthy in body, mind and spirit, good friendships, classical music, travelling , reading and writing.