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Zen and the Art of Happiness

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 19 (4690 words)
Categories: Art, Happiness
Downloads: 19
Views: 4

“Everyone deserves to be happy. ” And that is exactly why we are still here on earth, why we are still breathing, and why we are still persevering, this is because we want to experience happiness, not just it, but a true happiness. There are different concepts of happiness according to different kind of persons, and to some philosophers. I remember what our professor taught us when he teaches us that “there is change, especially when it comes to concept”.

In other words, our professor is trying to tell us that the concept, for example of “happiness” is changing, that the concept of happiness during the time of the ancient philosophers is different to the concept of happiness in today’s modern society.

But, do we really understand the word “happiness”? Is it something that we can acquire in just a snap of our fingers? Or we need a life time in order to understand it? Is it something temporal or eternal? Can we acquire it now?

Or do we still need to wait for it? But, no one can truly answer the question when it comes to happiness, because it is always a question of readiness and willingness.

Aristotle teaches us that man’s “telos” or ultimate end is “eudaimonia”. In order to understand this, “the first thing then that he does is to consider what makes human beings different from the rest of other beings. And what he discovers is that human beings have a function or ergon that is exclusively and characteristically human. In other words, in order for the human beings to experience its telos or ultimate end, which is eudaimonia, human beings need first to analyze what makes him a human being. In order to understand it well, Aristotle discusses the three kinds of souls, the vegetative soul, the sensitive soul, and the rational soul. The Vegetative souls are souls which are capable of nutrition and growth, and it is applicable to plants. The Sensitive souls are souls which are capable of not just nutrition and growth, but also the use of senses, and it can be seen to animals.

Lastly, the rational souls are souls which are capable of not just nutrition and growth, not just senses, but also rationality, from which human beings are capable of. In other words, human beings capability to rationalize makes him different to the rest of the creatures. Next, human beings need to know his function, and that function is very much related to his nature, and that is human beings capacity to rationalize, therefore human beings function is to think and will, to rationalize.

Lastly, in order for human beings to experience that eudaimonia, as Aristotle would tell us, human beings need to actualize his function, and that actualization for human beings as a rational beings is to rationalize, to contemplate to the ideas, and when he already actualizes, human beings will experience his ultimate end, eudaimonia. The concept of eudaimonia, or happiness is very different to the concept of happiness for us Catholics. Read what to do f you find a path with no obstacles

For us, “true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement- however beneficial it may be, such as science, technology and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love. ” In other words, for us Catholics, happiness is very much connected to our faith, many became martyrs because they embrace the cross, and they experience happiness to their crosses, they deny everything for God.

They believed that true happiness can experience after they have been share to the sufferings of Christ, and only God can give them this happiness. For some, happiness is just an event that can be happen everywhere, and can experience in different ways. One example are those who are hungry, happiness for them can experience when they were already eaten something, and be satisfied. For the inmates, or those who are in prison, for them, happiness can be experience when they were already free physically.

For those who are having problems and difficulties in life, happiness for them is when they were already overcome those trials. However, for some, happiness is something that can gives us pleasure, happiness can be found at parties, like drinking sessions, eating many delicious foods, sexual activities, etc. Happiness for these people is just temporal, believing that no one can give them happiness except by themselves. As far as I know, we have different concepts of happiness, and this concept of happiness is depending on how we truly know ourselves, to our very own status quo.

But what important most is when we experience happiness in a very unique way, that we believe that happiness really exist, and it just in front of us. One important issue that needs a solution is when people do not believe that they can experience happiness, when people are no longer aspiring to become happy. They become much more hopeless. Here, I want to discuss something very unique, unique that after I read the book, I immediately asked myself if I am really experiencing happiness, that after reading that book, it makes me smile.

I quoted Okakura Kakuzo who said that “Perfection is everywhere if we only choose to recognize it”. There is only one way to achieve lasting happiness. That way is simply: Be happy. It is very important to understand the meaning of being a happy person. Also, it is very important to know that we cannot be happy on our own, we must remember that “no man is an island”, no one can achieved something without needing the company of others. In other words, there is always someone or something that will guide us and accompany us throughout our journey.

Most of the time, the very reason of our happy disposition is because we believed that when we welcome the new day, we know that we are still alive and we have our love ones to journey with us. But we need to put in our mind and to understand that to be happy is something that will gives us a big responsibility, to be happy is not just to be happy, because there is always a reason why we are happy. It is stated that; The path that has led your current condition was not a few days or months in the making, but a long and arduous path that has spanned many years. Actually it has taken you as long as you’ve been alive to become the way you are.

It has also taken you that long to achieve what you’ve achieved, to possess what you now possess, and to arrive at your current condition. Your life today is the result of a series of decisions you made that have caused you to arrive where you are. In other words, what I am now, what we are now, is because of the many things, many experiences that we have, and of the different decisions that we made. I am here because I brought myself to this situation. I am seminarian because of something; I’m here not because of a supernatural experience or because of an apparition.

I am a seminarian because I brought myself inside the seminary, I take and passed different kind of examinations and interviews, and because of the attraction that I have to the priesthood, and to the belief that I can experience happiness when I enter the seminary, believing that there is something spiritual that will occur in my life while staying in the formation, that I will find truth about myself. I imagine a seminarian who has on a deep meditation, and while on praying, an angel of the Lord appeared, and told him about his future.

He told him that he will become a priest and he will be a good priest in the future, that he will help many people and became the inspiration and a good example to others. But, in his journey to the priesthood, he will encounter many trials and difficulties, even sacrificed everything, at the certain point that he does not believed at all that God love him. If you are in the situation of that seminarian, what will be your reaction? How do you feel about that wonderful news? Are you happy? Wouldn’t it be one of the greatest news you will ever hear?

If your answer is “yes”, perhaps, it’s because you’re already know what will happen to your future, and what you need to do is to wait for it, or perhaps, it is possible that what the angel informed you is really what you want in the future. And if your answer is “no”, maybe it’s because your current condition is not suitable to the news of the angel, and you cannot imagine yourself as a priest, or perhaps you really do not want to become a priest and what you want is to be married, and you don’t want to suffer many things as the angel told you.

Or it can be because there is no more surprised, because of the angle had already told you everything. What I want to say is that, we cannot automatically had what we want instantly, we need to experience many things before we experience what we really want, the situation before going to the priesthood can be terrible, and really bad, but we can salvage some good out of it. That even in the worst event on our lives we can found a tiny bit good. In the book Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss, Alan Watts defined “Zen” as simply, that state of centeredness which is here and now.

Zen is a Japanese word that is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “meditation” (dhyana in Sanskrit, ch’an in Chinese, and zen in Japanese). Zen is a journey of exploration and a way of living that, in and of itself, does not belong to any one religion or tradition. It is about experiencing life in the here and now and about removing the dualistic distinctions between “I” and “you,” between “subject” and “object,” between our spiritual and our ordinary, everyday activities.

It is about seeing into, directly experiencing, and expressing one’s true nature. In other words, Zen is a method of finding oneself; it is a method which enables us to wake up and became aware of everything. Here is the heart of it: “The Zen of doing anything is doing it with a particular concentration of mind, calmness and simplicity of mind that brings the experience of enlightenment and, through that experience, happiness. I remember a professor who asked us a question if we already experience to be enlightened, many of us do not understand what he is asking about, and what we only know is what we studied during our Indian and Chinese philosophy, that yogis spend years and years in meditation in order to be enlightened. To be enlightened is to be aware of everything that we have. As Zen master Dogen taught, “To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things. ” Zen will lead us to that experience of happiness, happiness that is achieved through an essential understanding of the Universal laws and of our relationship to the Universe is true happiness.

That kind of happiness endures and does not decrease with the changing conditions of time. It sees us through every difficulty, every loss, every hardship, and it brightens even our best days. Do you believe in the saying that “we are the authors of every next moment? ” meaning, we are the reason who we are now, that “everything that happens to me, is the best possible thing that happened” as the Dhammpada states “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts. In our daily life, we have principles that became the foundation of our daily life decisions, we believed to something that became who we are. We have the control of our life, and everything that is happening and will happen to us is because of our philosophy, our principle. As stated in the book, “We are the powerful beings, creating our futures with our thoughts and actions. We are the mechanism by which life is controlled, and by our personal philosophy, which determines how we respond to those events”.

I remember our latest movie last philosophy week which theme is about Existentialism. Our movie is about an introvert student, who was then challenge to experience the paranormal that is happening at the Dungeon, the place where no one ever dare to go because of the different horror stories that is accounted to the place. Because his afraid of going there in the middle of the night, he decided to go there before the sky get into darkness.

When he was already there, and already step forward to the place, he experience many paranormal activities, but in the end, everything is just an imagination, it is only on his mind, before he really enter the Dungeon, he already foreseen those paranormal activities, in the end, he really didn’t go and enter the Dungeon. It is like the story of our life, we have the thoughts on our mind that changes us, and before deciding something, we already foreseen on our mind the possible things that can happen, our thoughts beforehand including our feelings became the reason of the many failures that we experience and the cause of our weakness.

On our life, we cannot welcome happiness if our thoughts are very negative and full of worries of bad things that can be happen. We cannot welcome happiness if we already foreseen that something wrong will happen. We are the ones who invest seemingly bad happenings with the power to seem bad at the time they occur and to continue to seem bad afterward. As William Shakespeare wisely observed, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ” But when we try to believe to what is good and to what is positive, when we start to believe to what is best for us, even in our trials and difficulties, this will makes us happy.

As famous Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu states, “The true man sees what the eyes sees, and does not add to it something that is not there. He hears what the ears hear, and does not detect imaginary undertones or overtones. He is not busy with hidden meanings. ” In other words, we must be true with ourselves, we must be more honest to what is happening to us, we must accept who we are, we must open ourselves to the many opportunity and possibilities that the life can give, and that will makes us happy. It is also important to remember that there are times that we will experience something which we annot bear, things that is very unacceptable and can lead us to sadness, but we must have the belief that, that experience can later be turned into something beneficial, that event can be one of the best thing that could happened. And when we start to be happy and learn to accept those things which for us are unacceptable, that will lead us to happiness. In our journey we will experience different trials, no one can bear to have difficult trials, and no one wants to have problems. But how if that trials and difficulties are the reason why we are strong and those things will lead us to something very important?

How if those things that happened on our lives can lead us to our goal, which is happiness? “Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me. ” And when we are convinced of the truth that everything that happens is the best thing that can happen, life begins to be much more fun. It is like opening a direct changed to happiness. In other words, Happiness is just waiting, we only need to do what is most necessary, however, it is not just happiness but also the opposite of it, unhappiness is also waiting, and it is depend to us whether we will welcome it or not.

But still, we must believe that everything that happened is the best possible thing that can be happen, because “everything comes at the appointed time. ” We just need to wait, and when the appointed time came, we must welcome it and believe that what will happen, will lead us to happiness. One exercise to welcome happiness is to smile. Thich Nhat Hanh states, “If you really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Smiling helps you approach the day with gentleness and understanding.

Smile with your whole being. ” In other words, no one wants to encounter someone who is angry early in the morning, no one wants to be sad when the new day starts; no one wants to see someone crying. We need to teach ourselves to smile and smile even though the most difficult part in creating new results in our life is maintaining our awareness that whatever happens to us is for our greatest benefit. Happiness comes from within. It is a state that is produced by our minds.

In other words, what makes us happy is not the external objects, or experiences that we have, but the way we feel about those objects or circumstances, what our minds think about them, is the cause of our happiness. Neither happiness nor unhappiness is contained in the event itself. Let me give you an example. When Many Pacquiao and Marquez have their fight in boxing, many Filipinos wants to win Pacman, while the Mexicans wants to win Marquez. When the fight is over and announces that Pacman won the fight, those who are in favor of Pacman became happy, and those who support Marquez feel unhappy.

In other words, what makes us happy or unhappy is not the event itself, but what the event means to that person. Since happiness and unhappiness are states of mind based on your interpretation of events, you can change the state of your mind by supplying your mind with new information. In other words, we can choose new ways on how we interpret things or the events on our life. And when we have done this, we just not able to survive even the most difficult time, but will also come through them with a smile on our faces.

One important aspect to experience happiness is by knowing our companions. We believe that the one of the source of our happiness is the people who belong to our circle of life, we are always reminded that “No one is an island” and having worthy companions that will help us even in our painful experience and in our loneliness. “Whatever you are trying to achieve in life, it is very essential that you surround yourself with people who believe that what you seek and what you believe is not only possible but also probable. In other words, it is very important to remember that, this is not simply having friends and bestfriends or group of friends that can accompany us, but we must know that we need to have friends who are willing to help us, who are always there to listen and supports us. If you are surrounded by people who not only don’t believe in your goals and your positive outlook on life but who also continually try to tear you down, it will be extremely challenging for you to hold firmly in mind that you will succeed and that you can be happy. Who you allow into the circle of your life will make the difference in the quality of your life.

As Buddha taught, “He who walks in the company of fools suffers long way. Company with fools is always painful; company with wise is pleasure. ” In order to experience happiness there is the belief that we must be one with nature, it is stated: The Ancient Sages looked to nature to show them how to live a life of happiness. They taught that oneness with nature and living in harmony with its ways are keys to inner peace. Understanding nature and the laws of the Universe can help you to understand your own essential nature, move with the cycles of your life, and reach the goal of happiness.

In other words, in order to experience happiness, we must therefore be one with the nature; we must first acknowledge the presence of nature, because nature will bring us to our very own essence, nature will bring peace to us. Nature here is not simply the nature that we see, but nature here has something to do with the Universe. And in order to understand it, we must first know the very nature of the Universe. We are part of the Universe, we are one with it, and Universe, just as we are aware of a touch on our hands, the Universe is aware of everything we experience, because we are part of it.

Now, I would like to focus more on the things that can lead us to a deep happiness. One reason of happiness is our friends, we get friends when we have done something good to them, and they appreciate it, in other words, it is because of our action that makes us happy. And if you’re not happy most of the time, it’s because you are relying on something that you learned should make you happy but isn’t, or there is a condition in your life that is causing you to feel unhappy. And it is important that when we discover the cause of our unhappiness, you can learn ways to avoid bringing about that condition.

It is very important to know the very root of our unhappiness, because if we can’t find the cause of it, we will suffer allot. But it is also important to recognize that it is really happening to us. “Each incident in life, even a painful experience, basically provides you with only two choices: you can either curse it and call it an “accident” or you can call it ‘good fortune. ’” In other words, it is always depend on us on how to interpret things that is happening to us, it is always on our choice whether we recognize it as something that is beneficial or not.

A Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu states, “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. ” Here, he states the existence of what we called “change”, the only question is, are we ready to adapt to that changes? because “a situation only becomes favorable when one adapts to it. ” It is like a chameleon who can adapt to its nature, which can change his color depends on the place where he was. It is stated that; “Happiness comes from our response to the conditions of our lives. We are powers in and of the Universe.

We are able to think, to do, and to create. It is only past conditioning that has taught us to be unhappy about unfolding events. If you respond by being happy, you are happy. ” In other words, even though we are experiencing difficulties in life, we have many problems, and we cannot bear it anymore, one thing that will lead us to happiness is the acceptance that we are happy in spite of the many trials, believing that after suffering comes joy, what we only need is a strong philosophy that is so powerful and joy-giving, a philosophy which enables us to know more of ourselves. A strong personal philosophy does more than sustain us through the tragedies of life. It also sustains us daily in everything we think and do. It gives us optimism and hope. It frees us from the tyranny of events. ” One of the greatest obstacles between you and happiness is stress. By stress I mean a feeling in your mind of fear, anxiety, distress, worry, unease, or foreboding caused by using your mind to imagine a bad outcome to a past, present, or future event or situation. Stress will never be completely gone from our lives because of all the negative programming we have taken on, but we can eliminate most of it.

The tricky part in eliminating stress is controlling our imaginations to envision a happy outcome rather than a poor one. In other words, stress is our reaction to an event, for example, you have problem with someone and by thinking of it, it gives you so much stress, sometimes, in order to escape stress, we divert ourselves to something, because we have so much things in our mind that need to be relax, and when we control our imagination, and its empower stress, that can lead us to something very helpful, not just that, it can lead us to happiness.

By using our imagination, we have control on our mind, by changing our sorrow into joy for example. We must know then that imagination is not enough; we also need to deal with our challenges, believing that these challenges will gain us strength, wisdom, and knowledge. It is also important to understand that in order to experience happiness, we must therefore, heal our past. “We have not learned how to roll time backward to undo or change events of the past. However, we can change the ay we feel about past events so that they stop tormenting us in the present, so that they stop spoiling ‘now’”. In other words, there are still a chance to change everything, we can heal our wounded history and be renewed in order to experience happiness. Healing the past enables someone to be happy in the present. I remember when we are having a retreat at Baguio, I was then a sophomore, and one of the activities during our retreat is be reconciled with ourselves.

While having that spiritual exercise, I imagine myself as a child, I saw myself crying, and the reason of my tears is because of my stubborn hearts, because I allow myself to be influence by evil, and that’s the reason why I’m suffering during my childhood days, and at that moment, when I already hug the little boy, which is me, and be reconciled with him, I started also to cry like a child, and after that spiritual experience, I truly experience peace and happiness. By letting go of my past and be reconciled with it, I experience true happiness.

After reconciling with myself, I am ready to live my “now”, and this is another key to healing our past and to live a happy life, is to live “now”. As Thich Nhat Hanh states, “The present moment is a wonderful moment. ” Lastly, it is very important to be aware that to be happy is simply means we have to choose to be happy whenever we have the choice, that whatever happens, it will always have beneficial to give. We must have the faith that we can do all the things, only we need is to trust ourselves, always put on the mind the saying “You can do it”. That everything that happens to me only happens so that I can be benefited to the maximum amount possible. ” Happiness can be every day, it can be everything, what we only need is to allow ourselves to accept our very own nature. And believe that whatever happens to me, whatever happens, there is something great that can come out that will benefit me. That even in the times of difficulties and trials, I can still manage myself and will always found happiness there in, and welcome every moment of my life with a true smile on my face.

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Zen and the Art of Happiness. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/zen-art-happiness-new-essay

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