What is happiness?
Think of the memories which remain with you from childhood that give you a warm glow when they come to mind. Now, really think about the incident and that moment in time. What was the temperature of the day? Was it sunny, raining or overcast? What smells do you recall?
Remembering and understanding those moments will more than likely explain why we are what we are. That's what psychiatry and psychoanalysis is all about. Remembering. The good AND the bad. The next step is understanding those moments in time for what they really were.
Studies of paedophiles have revealed that an overwhelming majority had been abused as children. So, why do the abused develop into an abuser? Because, as children, they were lonely, or unloved and/or ignored. The adult predator saw this as a weakness and an opportunity to lavished attention on them until the child felt save in their hands. That's when the seduction took place. So their most humiliating childhood memories - sexual seduction - are combined with, perhaps, their happiest moments: another person's attention.
Neurologists have been mapping the brain using MRI scanners
They identify regions and try to understand their function. One of their first quests was to find where our memories are stored. Guess what? There isn't one lobe nor stem that records all learning and/or experiences; there may be 50, 60 or more. Each of these regions record specific things: the temperature of the day of a given moment; whether the sun was shining; and the smell of the flowers. Primary sections of the mind record sensations as reflected from each of our five senses: visual, aural, touch, smell and taste.
A happy moment, and, unfortunately, the unhappy ones, too, are etched into the brain's lobes with the intensity of the moment and/or period of time. That's why a very happy moment -- like the first time you see your future lover's face -- is so memorable; as well as the final break up, with the same lover, when you can still feel the cold of the rain on your face with the taste of salt from you tears.
So to help ourselves define the term "Happiness" is to relive those moments, in time, when we felt it.
If we discover that some of those "happy times" are now "bogus" realities -- being sexually abused -- we will free ourselves in our quest to achieving true happinness.
Geeez ... I'm sounding like a guru ...
But isn't that the role of a guru? defining what it is supposed to be all about?
A man asks himself one day: "What is happiness?" He quits his job. Sells everything. Travels the world seeking someone to answer his question. He is directed to a mountain. He scales it to the top. There he finds a cave with the guru, squatting in a lotus position, and asks him: "What is happiness?"
The guru replies confidently; "Happiness is ALL about sitting on a mountain top!"
The man stares at him with an astonished look and cynically questions, "Happiness IS all about sitting on a mountain top? What kind of bullshit is that?"
The guru, obviously dismayed, says: "Happiness ISN'T all about sitting on a mountain top?"
So, again, what is Happiness? I guess it depends on who you put the question to. If it is yourself, you must then try to understand the answer to the question. If you say: "the lottery!" that is a bogus answer because you have never had the experience; and as I pointed out, in the first chapter of this ongoing discourse, you may regret your wish should you receive the illusive prize. To know what Happiness is, is to know yourself. And that ain't easy!
The lesson here is: Think before you leap!
Image: Arie van de Graaff