Monday, August 29, 2005
On finding and living a life that is flourishing.
Just stumbled on Positive Psychology, the study of happiness. (Try that in your google search) Whew, what a topic, what a field. Now to create Positive Art Therapy!
Here's a summary of what happiness is by B. Alan Wallace of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, happiness is studied from the dual perspectives of modern science and traditional Buddhist meditation practice.
Genuine happiness can be seen as a kind of “human flourishing,” which is a translation of the Greek word eudaimonia. The term flourishing gives us a sense of happiness that’s beyond our constantly changing emotional state.
What would that happiness entail? A meaningful life.
What makes for a meaningful life? Wallace considers each day, not just his life as a whole. He looks at four ingredients. First, was it a day where he successfully avoided harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; where he devoted himself to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, he’d like to feel happy rather than miserable. His role models exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But he could do all that sitting quietly in a room. He doesn't exist in isolation, though, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, “What have I brought to the world?” If Wallace can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, he can say, “You know, I’m a happy camper.” Pursuing happiness does not depend on his checkbook, or the behavior of his spouse, or his job, or his salary. He can live a meaningful life even if he only have ten minutes left.
I like this guy!
for free downloadable chapters of Wallace's book.
for research on Cultivating Emotional Balance