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Cultivating Happiness, Not Hedonism December 19, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.

237px-Kustodiev_Merchants_WifeZoe wrote a thought-provoking post on The Matter of Money,  followed by a somewhat related post on Happiness.

I replied, inter alia, “Happiness is . . . the goal behind all goals. ~ The Dalai Lama”

In response, Zoe referred me to a post from Midlife Makeover, On Being Happy.

Reading that post caused me to comment further on Zoe’s post:

I read the post and comments and think that perhaps we are using two different definitions of happiness.

When the Dalai Lama advocates happiness as the goal behind all goals, he is speaking of inner happiness, peace, contentment, and serenity. He is not advocating the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures.

Happiness for external reasons (especially hedonistic pleasures) can always be taken away. It is happiness for “no reason” that we want to cultivate.

When we seek meaning and purpose in our life . . . it is because having purpose and meaning makes us happy. When we act compassionately towards others . . . it is because being compassionate makes us happy.

We rarely find lasting happiness by being selfish narcissists.

* * * * *

To clarify:

When I speak of happiness, I mean serenity, not hedonism.

Quote #1:  When asked, “what is the meaning of life,” the Dalai Lama replied simply: ”To be happy and to make others happy.”

Quote #2:  If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~ The Dalai Lama

Related posts:  Dalai Lama: Inner Peace & Happiness * Generosity of Spirit * What is True Happiness? (Always Well Within)


1. Paula Tohline Calhoun - December 19, 2010

Our synchronicity amazes me! We both chose to elaborate and/or repost on the same subject today! Interesting stuff!

nrhatch - December 19, 2010

Zoe’s post got us all thinking . . . 🙂

2. Helene Oseen - December 19, 2010

Great post. I particularily like your comment that “happiness for external reasons can be taken away. It is happiness for ‘no reason’ that we want to cultivate.”

nrhatch - December 19, 2010

When we quiet the mind (and Ego concerns), happiness and bliss bubble up . . . for no reason at all. 🙂

The more we practice cultivating this type of happiness, the easier it becomes.

Enjoyed your post ~ and laughed along with Zoe at the idea that a baby provides exactly $4,000 worth of life satisfaction. 😉

nrhatch - December 19, 2010

Happiness for a reason is a form of misery because the reason can be taken away from you at any time.

To be happy for no reason is the happiness you want to experience. ~ Deepak Chopra

3. Carol Ann Hoel - December 19, 2010

I think I know what you mean. Happiness that does not rely on anything that anyone or any circumstance can take away from us. Yes, I would say that true happiness is contentment with and enjoyment of the moment and hope for a bright future. Blessings to you…

nrhatch - December 19, 2010

It’s the state of being that arises naturally when we stop to admire a sunset or smile at the sheer wonder of it all.

4. 4minutewriter - December 20, 2010

Wonderful continuation of the discussion,Nancy.
I like your response to Carol Ann. Golden moments, those.
I read this post and your next one and think they are related (as my comment to your next post shows).
Am enjoying this great forum for discussion that blogging provides.

nrhatch - December 20, 2010

Thanks, Zoe. I love this web of interconnectedness we weave on blogs ~ with offshoots and branches.

Words can be so tricky. The comments following On Being Happy reminded me that the word “happiness” is susceptible of numerous nuances.

5. Cindy - December 20, 2010

To make others happy, that is my ultimate happiness.
I enjoyed the comments on this post.

nrhatch - December 20, 2010

I am happiest when those around me are smiling too. 🙂

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