Or maybe both things are truisms – you live a productive, good life and continually remind yourself of your happiness, acknowledge the good feelings you have when you focus on others – you are spending your time here in service and therefore you are happy???
It is a universal response – “I just want to be happy” or if you are a parent, you say, “I just want my child to be happy”. OK, but define it.
I do know that external “things” only cause a temporary little rush of sorts, something I can’t even think of as pure happiness – new cars, clothes, “stuff”. I can see things around this house that I wanted so badly years ago, things I thought would make me happy and there they sit offering me no solace at all now, some of them actually cause me unhappiness; their “positive” effect is so fleeting and shallow.
And then the next level to achieve happiness, one that lasts a bit longer and goes underneath the surface, is the self-satisfaction of accomplishing, of reaching a goal that may have seemed “impossible”. That feeling of completion does, I think, make you happy for a good bit of time, it actually defines you. It does something else too, it makes you want to continually set the bar higher for yourself – I can do it! And “it” feels good. Like a child riding a bike without dad holding him up – we feel so good when we can function on our own, when we can push ourselves to do things that are challenging – that’s a big rush. That’s becoming the best person you can be.
And then the third and “deepest” level is reached when you have helped someone else – when you have not focused on yourself, when you have not chased the butterfly, but instead busied yourself, distracted yourself, with helping another, that’s the level that takes you there – that’s my humble opinion.
Buddha: “Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”
Just something to think about on this Friday the 13th because we all just want to