Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thing vs Action based Happiness


Ahh that elusive giddy goal of mankind.
More cliches have been written about happiness and its pursuit than about any other human condition.

I’ve observed two primary causes of happiness.

1. Thing based happiness

2. Action based happiness

Most people today are primed to the first method of happiness, which basically defines happiness by how much you have or acquire. If one desires something and then gets it, he or she feels happy, at least temporarily.

The second source of happiness is defined by action. By the joy of doing something enjoyable or creating something original.
Someone in the first group would find happiness in a new chandelier while someone in the second group would find hapiness painting a mural onto a wall.
The obvious benefit to the action based happiness is that one can find happiness in every situation. Even if you have no money, you can find joy in doing what you enjoy.
So teach your children a hobby, you’ll be bestowing on them the gift of happiness forever.

In past days if you wanted something you usually had to create it somehow.
For instance if you wanted a dress you had to get fabric and sew it into a dress.
Most of the food we ate had to be planted or milked by hand.
If you wanted something recorded for memory, you had to take out a sketch book and pencil and draw it yourself.
If you wanted music, you went to the parlor and sat down to the piano.
Even thing based happiness was somewhat action based...

In spirituality the same 2 sources of happiness exist.
Those that need tangible things to be spiritually satisfied as opposed to action.
Theres a yiddish saying “A Yid darf tien...nisht oiftien” A person has to do..not accomplish.
Accomplishing is Gods realm.
Those accustomed to this way of thinking will find joy in all circumstances for no matter how poor one finds oneself spiritually and no matter how low one has fallen you’re never further than a moment away from doing something good.
And so we can latch onto that and find solace and happiness in the act....


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