PURSUIT OF CALM #28
Physical training for mental well-being / Mind training for physical well-being
My question du jour is “how would you define happiness?
It’s a powerful question to cogitate. Not only because modern life strips us of the time to reflect on questions like this – and just as importantly ponder the potential outcomes of such reflection – but it’s also an opportunity to dive deeper and ask ourselves ‘what makes me happy?’, and ‘am I happy?’.
Because we’re often caught up in this chaotic, confusing, polarising, busy modern world I think we can tend to attempt to make ourselves happy via actions that we think make us happy.
If this is the case, another important question or two to ask yourself is am i seeking happiness, or am I actually seeking gratification?
Am I seeking gratification of some kind from which I hope to derive happiness?
Outside the confines of your reality – your ‘job in life’ – I tend to think most of us, especially on a day to day level, seek gratification. We want to be gratified. We want reward for our perceived efforts. It’s this self-rewarding that provides us a consistent flow of gratification, it ‘justifies’ the exertion we’ve expensed doing our ‘job’.
Is there a difference between happiness and gratification?
Gratification is, especially these days, easily found and accessed which I think is potentially causing us more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong gratification is important, but if it’s the only constant in our day to day then, and because we want to be ‘happy’, we’ll tend to continue to lean towards the very things that are ‘easy’ and provide consistent gratification and comfort.
And this can be problematic because gratification is short-lived, and because we want a sense of happiness to remain a permanent fixture, we cling to our habitual acts of gratification in an attempt to maintain lasting permanency…again, no matter how detrimental to our wellbeing our methods of gratification may be.
Does happiness consist simply of getting what you want?
You want a new higher paying job, and you get it, and you are happy.
You want a new car, and you get it, and you are happy
You want new shoes, and you get it, and you are happy.
You want to lose 5kg, you do it, and you are happy.
You want a bigger house, you get it, and you are happy
As soon as travel restrictions end, I can travel, and I will be happy.
When I finish work today, I will have a drink, and I will be happy.
[I am being deliberately superficial here]
So is what you call happiness, getting what you want – and as long as you want something and you get it you will feel perfectly happy?
But what if you cannot get what you want?
If you can’t travel?
There’s no higher paying jobs?
You can’t afford the car you want?
Covid continues to restrict travel for another 2 years, and you’re unable travel overseas – does this cause frustration and unhappiness to set in?
So, if you are constantly seeking gratification as your pursuit of happiness, ultimately it will have detrimental impact not only on your physical and mental well-being, but it will cloud your ability to see what it is in life that truly makes you happy.
Why Does This Matter?
The upside to continually seeking actions that gratify us does give us an immediate sense of relief. But the downside is that sense of relief is a false one, it provides a momentary state of self-forgetfulness. Meaning, for a short period of time we forget about the things in reality that are making us unhappy – but at the same time – we have to continually pursue these actions because they’re so short lived.
So now we want more and more of it.
Are we just seeking permanent pleasure?
Constant Gratification Causes Conflict
If we’re compelled to ‘have to repeat’ these gratifying habitual behaviours – though it offers short term relief – it ultimately is just causing greater conflict, turmoil and long term ill-health. Not only that, this state of being is just plain exhausting. We live a life in constant comfort, yet we’re continually exhausted – physically and cognitively. And ironically, we’re often either confused as to why we’re feeling this way, or feel redundant to do anything about it…which ultimately causes more conflict.
‘Vitality’ Is The Resource We All Need (future post topic)
If we’re wanting to revolutionise our wellbeing, if we’re wanting to ignite and develop our self-awareness, our self-actualisation, our spiritual growth, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it – then we need energy, we need the impetus, and effervescent resource of vitality to bring about this radical transformation. And it will not be possible if we do not have enough energy, if what energy we do have is ‘spent’ both exerting, and recovering, from the gratifications we embrace.
It is so-so easy to ignore who you really are, what you really want, what you really need, and ultimately what makes you truly happy when your energy is distractingly over-stimulated, fatigued, stressed, anxious or consistently feeling the effects of alcohol.
“Your longterm wellbeing is found in the disciplines you avoid”
Last Q: Are you self-rewarding or self-sabotaging?
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Peace & Health