An assignment for class this week requested 300 words about Happiness, and this was the result!
Feeling happy is the end result of feeling many other emotions, and cannot be found or achieved alone. True happiness comes from living a life of love, excitement, kindness, fun, and other related emotions. One thought path is that in order to feel these emotions, and live a happy life, one must first be safe and secure. This is demonstrated in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Another though path is that our outside conditions should not affect our inner conditions, therefore, we can feel the emotions that lead to happiness regardless. This is a Buddhist philosophy. I believe is is impossible to say for sure which is true, but I lean more towards the Buddhist way of thinking.
If Maslow is correct, then using my definition of happiness puts many people in a position where they cannot possibly achieve happiness because they are not secure. With that in mind, consider people living in rural villages, in poor countries, who are apparently some of the happiest people in the world. This seems to help out the Buddhist point of view.
In my own personal experience, I have found it quite difficult to not let my external conditions dictate my internal ones, but I have occasionally succeeded. It requires much intention, awareness, and practice. This in some way proves both theories to be true!
If a person is living in a constant state of unconscious autopilot, it rings true that they would require a sense of safety from their external conditions in order to experience the emotions that lead to happiness. One who is awake and aware can learn to create a sense of stability within themselves, not requiring a stable exterior, therefore, can feel the emotions that lead to happiness regardless of their external condition.
This poses another question! If both are true, then is the person who experiences happiness when they external conditions are correct really experiencing true happiness at all?