The Nature of Happiness

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Virtues Of Happiness & Moral Ethics

Through yoga, the feelings of happiness that previously seemed to come from external events began to come from a place deep inside of me.

The Nature of Happiness | This Ruthless World

The more I got comfortable with being quietly present with myself, the more I was called out into nature. Gradually I moved to the southern outskirts of the city and spent my weekends wandering by the river and reading books on park benches. And then the time came to move back to the Scottish countryside to create a nest for the baby that was growing in my belly. I had to heal and remember how to be yin as well as yang.

I had to soak myself so deeply in nature that I would know its touch wherever I lived. I discovered that reconnecting to nature is the journey back home to the self, finding inner peace and soul-deep reconnection. When you walk slowly, you breathe more slowly and you will instantly feel more relaxed. Look around you slowly and consciously and see what you find when you settle into this more natural pace of being. We humans are the only creatures to place a shoe between the soles of our feet and the Soul of the earth. The simple act of removing your shoes and standing barefoot on the earth satisfies a tribal need for reconnection.

The Nature of Happiness

Find a quiet place out of doors—a corner of the park, a quiet place in your garden, or your favorite wild place. Kick off your shoes, close your eyes, and take soft slow barefoot breaths feeling the sun on your face, the air on your skin, and the warm heart of the earth through the soles of your feet. When was the last time you lay on the grass and watched the clouds float by in the sky above you?

Cloud-watching clears the mind and brings calm to all your senses. Try it in the evening when sunset paints the clouds with pink and orange, on sunny days with a buzzing soundtrack of insects, or on a stormy day when you can watch 10 shades of grey roll past in just a few minutes. When you think of trees what words come to mind? The oldest trees on the planet have been living for thousands of years and we rely on trees to produce the oxygen we need to breathe. Lean in close and lay your cheek against the trunk. Feel the texture of the bark against your skin and open your arms to embrace the tree.

Native people around the world talk about the spirit of the plants they use for healing. The spirit of a plant is greater than the sum of all its active ingredients, and you can tap into the spirit of plants too. Ever noticed how you are attracted to particular cut flowers or plants at different times in your life?

Go somewhere with flowers and turn your awareness into your heart by focusing on your gentle breath flowing in and out. From this tender place of connection, notice which flowers attract you most—which call to your heart? So anytime you want to feel happy or inspired or soothed or reminded of your true nature, head outside and turn your face toward the sun.

Photo by Cavin.

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Before using the site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Click to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking. Though I run this site, it is not mine. It's ours. It's not about me. It's about us. Your stories and your wisdom are just as meaningful as mine. As a result he devotes more space to the topic of happiness than any thinker prior to the modern era.

Explore the Happiness of Nature

Living during the same period as Mencius, but on the other side of the world, he draws some similar conclusions. That is, happiness depends on the cultivation of virtue , though his virtues are somewhat more individualistic than the essentially social virtues of the Confucians.

Yet as we shall see, Aristotle was convinced that a genuinely happy life required the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions, including physical as well as mental well-being. Essentially, Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between two excesses.

A grand theory of human nature and happiness

For Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking. The Middle Path was a minimal requirement for the meditative life, and not the source of virtue in itself. Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the history of western science and philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre.

He was a student of Plato who in turn studied under Socrates. Aristotle was the first to classify areas of human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as mathematics, biology, and ethics. Some of these classifications are still used today, such as the species-genus system taught in biology classes.

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He was the first to devise a formal system for reasoning, whereby the validity of an argument is determined by its structure rather than its content. Consider the following syllogism: All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal. Here we can see that as long as the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true, no matter what we substitute for "men or "is mortal.

Aristotle was the founder of the Lyceum, the first scientific institute, based in Athens, Greece. Along with his teacher Plato, he was one of the strongest advocates of a liberal arts education, which stresses the education of the whole person, including one's moral character, rather than merely learning a set of skills.

According to Aristotle, this view of education is necessary if we are to produce a society of happy as well as productive individuals. One of Aristotle's most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics , where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today, over 2, years later.

The key question Aristotle seeks to answer in these lectures is "What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?

From a philosophy perspective, the true nature of happiness

Everywhere we see people seeking pleasure, wealth, and a good reputation. But while each of these has some value, none of them can occupy the place of the chief good for which humanity should aim. To be an ultimate end, an act must be self-sufficient and final, "that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else" Nicomachean Ethics, a , and it must be attainable by man.

Aristotle claims that nearly everyone would agree that happiness is the end which meets all these requirements. It is easy enough to see that we desire money, pleasure, and honor only because we believe that these goods will make us happy. It seems that all other goods are a means towards obtaining happiness, while happiness is always an end in itself. The Greek word that usually gets translated as "happiness" is eudaimonia , and like most translations from ancient languages, this can be misleading.

The main trouble is that happiness especially in modern America is often conceived of as a subjective state of mind, as when one says one is happy when one is enjoying a cool beer on a hot day, or is out "having fun" with one's friends. For Aristotle, however, happiness is a final end or goal that encompasses the totality of one's life.

It is not something that can be gained or lost in a few hours, like pleasurable sensations. It is more like the ultimate value of your life as lived up to this moment, measuring how well you have lived up to your full potential as a human being. For this reason, one cannot really make any pronouncements about whether one has lived a happy life until it is over, just as we would not say of a football game that it was a "great game" at halftime indeed we know of many such games that turn out to be blowouts or duds.

For the same reason we cannot say that children are happy, any more than we can say that an acorn is a tree, for the potential for a flourishing human life has not yet been realized. As Aristotle says, "for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy. In order to explain human happiness, Aristotle draws on a view of nature he derived from his biological investigations. If we look at nature, we notice that there are four different kinds of things that exist in the world, each one defined by a different purpose:.

Mineral: rocks, metals and other lifeless things. The only goal which these things seek is to come to a rest. They are "beyond stupid" since they are inanimate objects with no soul. Vegetative: plants and other wildlife. Here we see a new kind of thing emerge,something which is alive.

Because plants seek nourishment and growth, they have souls and can be even said to be satisfied when they attain these goals. Animal: all the creatures we study as belonging to the animal kingdom. Here we see a higher level of life emerge: animals seek pleasure and reproduction, and we can talk about a happy or sad dog, for example, to the extent that they are healthy and lead a pleasant life. Human: what is it that makes human beings different from the rest of the animal kingdom?

Aristotle answers: Reason.

The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness
The Nature of Happiness The Nature of Happiness

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