Have you ever tasted the fruit of pure happiness?
Have you ever been really happy? Have you ever tasted the fruit of pure happiness? Have you ever completed a task with that feeling of YES! I gave it my all. I'm really happy and proud with what I've done. Have you ever had that inner glow and outer radiation?
But was it happiness?
You see, most of us have replaced happiness with pleasure. Pleasure is those times when you feel terrific like after eating a fantastic meal with excellent company. Pleasure is when you loll for hours in that hot bath. Pleasure is when you indulge yourself in that spa weekend. Pleasure is when you watch our favourite team play - ..But it ain't Happiness!
The bad news is that Happiness is not an emotional state. Happiness is not the feeling you get when you are enjoying yourself. It's much, much more than that.
What makes people truly happy, satisfied and fulfilled?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, (pronounced "chick-sent-me-high-ee") director of the Quality of Life Research Centre at the Druker School of Management, Claremont, USA has spent years researching what makes us happy.
And he and his colleagues have found that happiness can only be achieved when you are totally involved in something. When, you are totally immersed. When, you are participating to the full. You know, when you are enjoying yourself so much you have no idea what the time is, what day it is, what is happening around you. You are really happy.
His research involving 250,000 people from every continent including chess players, rock climbers, musicians, people who meditate, artists, sports people and people from all walks of life shows that:
the times when you find yourself fully absorbed in something. Totally focussed, totally immersed and totally concentrated. Whether it be at work, playing with the children or meditating.
the times when you don't notice time passing.
the times when you keep going without being aware of what's around you....The state where.' I give Graham a cup of tea and he doesn't even know I've placed it on his desk next to the screen - ..
the state where you really enjoy what you are doing and when you come up for air you are totally satisfied with what you have been doing. In other words you are really connected: heart and soul. You really enjoy what you were doing.
the times when you were reading a stimulating book and when you put your head up everyone has gone off to bed.
the times when you are so involved playing your favourite sport, you forget everything else
that's when you feel really happy.
Happiness is: the flow state.
The state when you feel that you are on a roll. Where everything you do is effortless and just flows. The feeling you get when you completely lose yourself in what you are doing. The time, when time stops. You are in the 'grove' and everything is working for you. You are in total harmony with yourself.
The irony is, that this great feeling of happiness happens, not when you are relaxing or watching TV or enjoying the company of your friends. Happiness is achieved when you challenge yourself.
When, you stretch yourself. When you are doing what you enjoy doing most. When you are totally absorbed in what you are doing. When, you put yourself out there. When, you exceed your expectations.
So what are you waiting for?
You have nothing to lose. All you have to do is put those oughts, shoulds and musts behind you and follow your heart. Lose yourself in what you really want to do. Enter the flow world where:
"being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.
The ego falls away. Time flies.
Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.
Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
Go on. Go for it!
Graham and Julie
About the Author
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