Higher goals than happiness - what do you think?

Submitted by wings on
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My long and fruitful discussion with Freedom made me wonder how all of the other posters in here feel about it. Is there a path where happiness takes second place? If so, how and why?

I would love to hear from all of you, all thoughts are welcome :)

What about being as you are

What about being as you are with no goal? Could you be happy now? If not, why not? What would happen if you had no goals? Might no goals be above the goal of happiness? If you can't define happiness, how will you know when you get there? Will you ever be happy if you never get there?

Happiness comes in degrees

[quote=freedom]What about being as you are with no goal?[/quote]

You have to work on being happier continuosly. Becoming happier takes time, because you have to understand how your mind works, and how the world works.

[quote=freedom]Could you be happy now? If not, why not?[/quote]

It's not either/or. It's degrees of happiness. As the "happiness ladder" you mentioned in our other discussion.

[quote=freedom]What would happen if you had no goals? [/quote]

I wouldn't be happy. Having no goals means not working on understanding the world and the mind, thus you will never be happy if you do not see happiness as a goal.

[quote=freedom]Might no goals be above the goal of happiness?[/quote]

My thought on that is that the decision to have no goals is actually an attempt to be happier. Why else would you do it? Having no goals is not in itself valuable - it is valuable in order to shape your mind and develop it - so you can be happier.

[quote=freedom]If you can't define happiness, how will you know when you get there? Will you ever be happy if you never get there?[/quote]

happiness is well-defined. You should watch this video I've been posting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_30JzRGDHI

It explains in-depth what happiness is.

Can you not seek growth,

Can you not seek growth, development, and understanding without a goal of happiness? No goals does not mean no growth. Trees have no goals, yet thet grow. Did you have the goal to grow up and mature or to age? Did you have the goal to get on the path you are on before you began it? Maybe you need to understand suffering or neutrality or something else better too. No goals does not inherently require a goal of happiness. Are there really degrees of happiness? Or is the brain more like a computer? Might be be happy or not, and the degrees only a matter of your acceptance?

Growth

[quote=freedom]Can you not seek growth, development, and understanding without a goal of happiness? No goals does not mean no growth. Trees have no goals, yet thet grow. Did you have the goal to grow up and mature or to age? [/quote]

Of course you can grow without a goal. Nothing I have written indicates that growth is impossible without the goal of happiness. I have no idea why you would think that.

[quote=freedom]Did you have the goal to get on the path you are on before you began it? Maybe you need to understand suffering or neutrality or something else better too. No goals does not inherently require a goal of happiness. Are there really degrees of happiness? Or is the brain more like a computer? Might be be happy or not, and the degrees only a matter of your acceptance?[/quote]

I am having a hard time distinguishing between what you think and mean, and what is just hypothetical questions. Understanding suffering is a key part of becoming happier. Again, I have never said, nor implied, that you cannot grow without happiness, or having happiness as a goal.

Of course there are degrees of happiness. It's actually an accepted academic science that is comprised of elements from many other scientific fields, like medicine and statistics, and it is very well-defined - you should really watch that video.

Hi

Happiness is not a goal it is a state of being. You either are or you are not. Making happiness a goal will just put you in a never ending treadmill of wanting.

It is ok to feel bad. Everyone hurts some times.

The middle ground is where to be. Learning to be ok while feeling bad is the key.

All feelings are good fir you. Trust ne thus is hard for me to say. I spent 25 plus yeras in an addiction so I did not have to feel or feel very little. I thought.
I was happy with that addiction for a long time but it wad an illusion.
happiness is a kind of wisp maybe. Just ahead but you can not be sure.

I was seeker. Seeking is never ending. Being is where you want to be no matter what state that is.

Wishing you well
Be safe

Happiness vs. intoxication - it's an important distinction

[quote=Seeker]Happiness is not a goal it is a state of being. You either are or you are not. Making happiness a goal will just put you in a never ending treadmill of wanting.[/quote]

Happiness is not either/or. You have to distinguish between intoxication and happiness. Intoxication ir either/or, and always consists of coming up and coming down. Happiness is something else - there are degrees of happiness. The science of happiness has become more and more important, and I would recommend that you watch the video I linked to.

[quote=Seeker]It is ok to feel bad. Everyone hurts some times. [/quote]

Suffering is a part of life. It is one of the most elemental ideas in Buddhism. We suffer, because we have attachments, addictions and misunderstandings.

[quote=Seeker]The middle ground is where to be. Learning to be ok while feeling bad is the key. [/quote]

Feeling bad and being happy at the same time is an oxymoron. But I agree that the middle road is a good place to be. I am not advocating a fanatic obsession with happiness. Why wouldn't you want to be happy?

[quote=Seeker]All feelings are good fir you. Trust ne thus is hard for me to say. I spent 25 plus yeras in an addiction so I did not have to feel or feel very little. I thought. I was happy with that addiction for a long time but it wad an illusion.
happiness is a kind of wisp maybe. Just ahead but you can not be sure. [/quote]

I agree that all feelings must be examined and understood, and that we always should learn from them. Addiction causes intoxication, which is counterproductive to happiness - that's why Buddhism focusses so much on getting rid of all addictions.

Thanks for your input - I am happy that our discussion about happiness gets more perspective.

So what you are saying is

So what you are saying is feeling bad and hurting is just a degree of happiness. That happiness is not an on off thing. If that is the case then feeling bad and being happy at the same time is not an oxymoron it would mean it is the same thing just that feeling bad is a very low level of happiness.

Be safe

You're right :)

[quote=Seeker]So what you are saying is feeling bad and hurting is just a degree of happiness. That happiness is not an on off thing. If that is the case then feeling bad and being happy at the same time is not an oxymoron it would mean it is the same thing just that feeling bad is a very of happiness. [/quote]

You're absolutely right. This is a problem with language, not so much the actual idea behind it. In the context you describe, suffering is a degree of happiness, but it's tricky - the logic of language can be contradictory, and it all depends on context.

Edit: I forgot to mention that your description and understanding of what I meant is spot on. :)

Higher goals

Here are my daily goals--they don't include seeking happiness, but I guess in a roundabout way, they bring happiness? Not sure and it doesn't matter because I am very joyful and at peace with my life.

~Express my gratitude for every little and big thing that is good in my life

~Give love to those around me and try to bring them happiness as best I can (whether words or actions)

~Avoid negativity (whether from within myself or around me--best thing I ever did was stop watching television news, lol)

~Know that everything that happens, happens for a reason, whether good or bad. It's all part of the course of my life

rediscovered

Important point

[quote=rediscovered]Here are my daily goals--they don't include seeking happiness, but I guess in a roundabout way, they bring happiness? Not sure and it doesn't matter because I am very joyful and at peace with my life.[/quote]

You are touching a key subject here - why do we do the things we do? Why do we want spiritual growth - what's the point of it? I believe that yes, it IS to become a happier person. Remember, happiness is not intoxication, and it's not either/or - it's degrees of happiness.

A path~

I feel that I am being led down a certain path and these are the things I am being taught along the way. I don't know where the path is leading, but it feels right to do these things at this time in my life. It just feels right.

rediscovered

Paths

[quote=rediscovered]I feel that I am being led down a certain path and these are the things I am being taught along the way. I don't know where the path is leading, but it feels right to do these things at this time in my life. It just feels right.[/quote]

Having a path is a gift. Most people find purpose in life, without realizing that purpose and meaning are not the same. With a spiritual path that lets you grow, you're on the right track.

I would ask of you to think about the lessons the path teaches you - they feel right as you say, but do they also make you a happier person?

Don't know~

I don't really understand the word "happiness" unless it relates to a reaction to something specific that happens~~such as, "Woot! I get to see my sweetheart an extra day this weekend!! Happy dancing!!!"

rediscovered

Happiness vs. intoxication - it's an important distinction

[quote=rediscovered]I don't really understand the word "happiness" unless it relates to a reaction to something specific that happens~~such as, "Woot! I get to see my sweetheart an extra day this weekend!! Happy dancing!!!"
[/quote]

What you're describing is actually intoxication, not happiness. It's very important to distinguish the two - intoxication is counterproductive to happiness. Intoxication is defined by its two phases: coming up and coming down (just like in Marnia's book). Happiness, on the other hand, is relative, and when we talk about happiness, we talk about how happy we are (or aren't). It can even be quantified using statistics.

I don't agree~

But that's okay! If that is intoxication, so be it--but I don't think it's counterproductive to *anything*~~

Semantics, words, descriptions~~one person's reality and place in their journey in life can feel very much different than another's, so it is really hard to even label the different parts (and we don't really need to, do we?).

rediscovered

I think buddhists would say

I think buddhists would say that if you search for truth (in their way which means Vipassana) you will also find happiness even if it is not the desired goal. I think a yoga would say that if you give yourself to the devine fully you will also gain the highest happiness. Same goes for giving yourself to the service of others.

Spiritual growth makes you a happier person

[quote=New Start]I think buddhists would say that if you search for truth (in their way which means Vipassana) you will also find happiness even if it is not the desired goal. I think a yoga would say that if you give yourself to the devine fully you will also gain the highest happiness. Same goes for giving yourself to the service of others.[/quote]

I agree completely. The search for spiritual goals (be it truth, self discovery or any other aspect of spirituality), for the most part makes you happier in the long run. The way I see it, there is no difference between the path of spirituality and wanting to be a happier person.

Truth, in a Buddhistic context, means understanding yourself, the world and how your reactions influence your mind. The ultimate truth in Buddhism is the realization that we have no self - we have a stream of consciousness that is in constant flux. But describing the non-existence of the self with words is very different from actually understanding it. It takes years of meditation and discipline, and to get there, and you have to understand all the underlying concepts.

The path that leads to the understanding of the non-existance of the self brings happiness. The closer you get, the happier you become.