Monday, June 08, 2009

Focusing On Happiness And Fulfillment

image by doriana_s, sxc.hu

Living Life Positively Psychologically

Mankind has been wrestling with, since Time immemorial, issues and questions about itself and about the Universe. We know that some of the questions have been answered, and that there are many more whose answers continue to elude.

image by ba1969, sxc.hu

Of these unanswered are some very deeply profound questions, such as "Who Am I?", "Whence I Came?", "What I Am Doing Versus What Am I Supposed To Be Doing?", "Where Shall I Go, Or What Shall I Be, After Death?", "What Came First - Chicken Or Egg" - which continue to jog the minds of philosophers and intellectuals, and which apparently will continue to do so for some more time to come. We are all waiting for that one out-of-the-box, ground-breaking idea or thought to rise in some ripened mind somewhere on this earth, a thought which has non-dogmatic foundations, and which will give a clue to the underpinnings of Life in general.

image by topsoft, sxc.hu

Leaving the eggheads to their devices while they wrestle with these profound issues, we ordinary mortals are happy if we keep receiving continued assurance that we live in a benign universe that has brought us to this planet and plunked us right in the midst of a family and / or community, not to heap on us hardship and strife and shortage and sorrow, but to make us feel happy and contented. This basic psychological need - that there is Someone or Somebody who is taking care of us -, is what drives the devout and the religious and the non-atheists amongst us in droves to our places of worship on designated days. The communion we seek to establish with an entity - who we have been conditioned since early childhood to look upon as our savior - in those silent, calm moments in the place of worship is sometimes the only bright stretch of time in an otherwise bleak day.

image by kkesler83, Kimberlee Kessler Design, sxc.hu

The past decade or so has witnessed a sea-change in our thinking about how we lead our lives. More specifically, this change has occurred in our view about how we view our lives - some sort of a "meta-view". While we have always been alert, since the ancient times, about what we think and why we think what we think and how our thoughts can impact our sense of happiness and fulfillment, it is thanks to the internet and a shrinking world that the body of knowledge on the entity called "mind" has been unlocked from the ivory tower of intellectualism and brought to the mainstream of human consciousness.

image by vassiliki, sxc.hu

And, thanks to newly evolving knowledge such as positive psychology - of which self-development and self-help are a part, including this blog and this article that you are reading right at this moment -, the bright stretches of time have lengthened, and can easily cover the entire day to wipe away all bleakness, if we want to. Positive Psychology gives us the ability to look at our problems constructively, without suppressing them or repressing them or brushing them away beneath the proverbial carpet. This body of knowledge helps us to root ourselves firmly in the one singular thought that happiness and fulfillment are our birthright. While circumstances may conspire to give us some very bad times, it is ultimately the thoughts that we harbor in the mind that make all the difference. It is ultimately how we react to the circumstances that influences our sense of happiness. This is not self-delusion or fantasizing, but a "conscious" decision that we make that nothing, but nothing, should disturb our peace of mind.

image by lusi, sxc.hu

Ever since the then President of the American Psychological Association chose positive psychology as the theme of his term as President in 1998, this body of knowledge has witnessed explosive growth. June 2009, 18th to 21st, will see the first "World Congress" on Positive Psychology being organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here is where you can register for the event, and learn for yourself how you can keep your waking - as well as dreaming - hours bright and cheerful, despite the negativity of the situations you are in: http://ippanetwork.org/wcpp/world-congress.html.

IPPA Logo

[Thoughts have a way of tiptoeing into our mind when least expected. Every so often, the mind wanders to the past, analyzing incidents and events that appeared to be very insignificant and trivial at that point, but later turned out to have life-changing impact. It is but natural to be wistful. How we wish that we had acted or reacted differently from what we did! Usually, the line of thinking begins with two innocuous words, but which this article says are the two most dangerous words that can drag our mind back into the valley of emptiness and loss: "Two Most Dangerous Words To Beware".]

image by jomeriano, sxc.hu

3 comments:

  1. Hiya Sanjay

    I enjoyed reading this. I think you've written provoking questions and statements. Some, I believe are considered irrelevant and unrealistic by many in so-called modern society.

    That may be aconsequence of our uber consumerist, reductionist western society. And the fact they don't offer profound queries into life in schools and universities. We may be modern but are we advanced beyond our technological achievements?

    It seems to me that mysteries of life are sadly denied amidst the intellectual advance of science. I approve of science as the benefactor of many of mankinds healthy resources. But as the thinking mind can only detect it's own limits and cannot see itself, it can never discover something outside of itself (a real Mystery).

    Thanks
    Jens

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  2. Hi Jens,

    What you say is true, but partly true.

    The questions that Sanjay has raised about mysteries of life continue to cogitate the mind of very many people, including the ones in the western society. It is a different matter that these people do not form part of the mainstream, pop culture that hogs 99.99% of TV/newspaper/magazine space today. The mainstream can be pardoned if it thinks that the questions are irrelevant or unrealistic, because there is no money involved in finding the answers to them...

    But the quest to solve the answers to these questions continues. Ask me, I am a philosopher myself, born and brought up in the "decadent" consumerist, reductionist society - and part of the circle that shares my ah, eccentricities!!! :-)

    Kelly

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  3. Great article!

    I agree with Jens in that the deeper mysteries of life are overlooked by educators and educational institutions. Strangely people have been conditioned to care more about the brand of clothing they are wearing than how the universe was formed, or how consciousness even came to be.

    The study of the brain is a prominent science, but the study of the mind, and mindspace are niche. Fortunately, blogs such as this and the people that run them, as well the everyone who ponders these questions more than they think about what they are going to say to their boss tomorrow, are beginning to really make a difference. The seed of change has been planted, and its growing slowly but surely.

    Tom

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