What does happiness mean to me? do I go looking for happiness?
Let me answer the second question first, no i do not go looking for happiness. There is an interesting quote from Abraham Lincoln which I really like “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln
To me happiness is a puzzle, I am really curious about this emotion that seem to manifest differently in different people, in the quest of happiness my first query was what is happiness? W hat happens to the body? What happens to the mind? What happens emotionally.
How would I recognize that what I am experience is being happy. Is the experience uniform for all mankind, or is it individualistic. So many questions, I figured let me at least try to get some data so that I can start working from there.
The Natyashastra talks about navarasa but ananda, is not rasa, it is an anubhava or experience and the Natyashastra says that there could be people who are happy when they are unhappy. The minute you eliminate the sorrow from the space, they will find a new issue to moan over. So I am still left with the question what is happiness?
If I were to answer my questions with my own humble input then happiness would probably be – happiness could probably be distinguished as two types, type 1 subjective assessment of one’s life in general, this definition would conclude that if I am pleased ie satisfied with the way my life goes then I am happy.
The second though would well being, how people feel from day to day and the proportions that we experience positive and negative feeling.
Interesting both is self assessment. Though both are connected they are not necessarily equivalent. This could be why scientists study it separately.
The self assessment is are by and large reliable though it could be influenced by assessments provided by family and friends. Happiness level would definitely be correlated with physiological responses like people who perceive themselves as happy show higher activity in the left part of the prefrontal cortex and lower levels of stress induced cortisone.
When we are happy our body actually undergoes chemical changes endomorphins and serotonins are liberated.
If I were to speak in terms of chakras, then the first would be related to the Manipura chakra the chakra of experiencing power, and the other would be anhata chakra the chakra that concerns with our emotions. But to experience both swadhistana chakra needs to be healthy too.
This is one interesting TED talk I heard — https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy
At the end of the day I am still left with questions I started.
Maybe like George Washington said–“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ― George Washington Burnap, The Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures