“Happiness” is one of the most overrated words of our times. The word is usually associated with a state of pleasure and if you are reading this post on os.me, you definitely agree with the fact that continuous striving for pleasure has it’s own problems. Pleasure is usually related to material comfort, sexuality, over indulgence in food and luxuries. There’s no dearth of examples in history that prove how over indulgence in pleasures eventually leads to a dissatisfied and unhappy life. Even our scriptures mention all the material comforts and luxuries as moh maaya which seem to have entrapped humans since time immemorial. So what do we do then?……stop making money?, stop indulging in life’s pleasures? and live a life of misery?. Of course not, the only thing that needs to be done is to change our perspective of what we actually striving for. Aristotle defined true happiness as “Eudaimonia” (from daimon – true nature) which means living a life that represents human excellence and aims at living well than feeling good at all times. According to him, happiness and well being are actually by products of a life lived well.
Carl Rogers, one of the fathers of humanistic psychology, observed that people who made real progress towards what can be considered ‘a good life’ would typically not regard themselves as happy or contented. He writes:
‘The good life is a process, not a state of being’.
Even in greatest Indian scriptures, KARMA (the right action) has been the hero of each and every story. The satisfaction and inner peace derived from doing the good karma leaves us in a state of contentment which seems to be worth striving for than striving for happiness itself.
Aristotle was the originator of the concept of eudaimonia (from daimon – true nature). He deemed happiness to be a vulgar idea, stressing that not all desires are worth pursuing as, even though some of them may yield pleasure, they would not produce wellness.Aristotle thought that true happiness is found by leading a virtuous life and doing what is worth doing. He argued that realising human potential is the ultimate human goal. This idea was further developed in history by prominent thinkers, such as Stoics, who stressed the value of self-discipline, and John Locke, who argued that happiness is pursued through prudence – IIONA BONIWELL
In present times, when we are made to believe that “Happiness” is the ultimate aim of life, it’s worthwhile to pause and think if it is worth pursuing. Happiness without the right karma is shallow and short lived. Doing what we can, for the greater good and leading a virtuous life with self discipline might not be a bed of roses all the time but is the only way of feeling fulfilled as humans. Today, the world is going through a tough time…..people are scared to step out of their houses and yet we have those heroes who are selflessly serving the distressed beings not because it makes them “feel good” all the time but because they are happily taking pains for “living well”.