• Do the philosophers know what happiness is?
• Do the spiritual teachers?
• Do you?
• Get some practical pointers here on Philosophy Happiness.

Philosophy: Happiness

Many of the great philosophers (all the way back to Aristotle, and probably long before that, too) have grappled with the concept of happiness.

Is it 'the good life', is it 'joy' or is it a state of 'rapture'?

Is it a permanent long-term condition or a fleeting short term one? How does it relate to satisfaction - and to spiritual enlightenment?

Aristotle on Happiness

Greek philosopher Aristotle (Aristoteles) lived from 384 B.C. to 322 B.C. and had a profound impact on Western science and philosophy. (Aristotle was taught by Plato, who in turn was taught by Socrates).

Aristotle wrote many things on happiness and the ‘worthwhile life’, and one of his assertions is that happiness and the worthwhile life is one of our main driving forces - in some ways the primary one. If a person gets clear on his or her values, the most important one, the top priority, will reveal what this person considers a worthwhile life - the happy life.

And happiness is an end, not a means to something else, he claimed. Since e.g. money is just a means, having money does not make you happy. Furthermore happiness must be pretty much self-sufficient, stable and independent of the happenings of life: When you are happy, you're happy, and not afraid, not even of loosing your happiness. (If you were, you wouldn't be happy!)

Aristotle on the Worthwhile Life

To Aristotle the happy life is a life that has activity that we are good at and which is important and worth doing.

He pointed to three kinds of life that might make you happy: a life of pleasure, a life ofpolitics (public service), and a life of study. In the Eudemian Ethics (a treatise), he states that the happy life must combine the features of all three (pleasure, public service and study).

Yes, Aristotle was a wise man. Even though he lived more than 2.300 years ago, his texts are still being read and his thoughts and conclusions are still relevant today.

Where to Look for Answers

Another question is this: Apart from the founding fathers of western thought (like Aristotle), is it even important to check out the opinions of the philosophers throughout the ages - or is it perhaps more interesting to look at the people who are alive today and experiencing happiness?

Well, happiness is an experience, it's not something you 'think' or 'philosophize'. So I would recommend asking the modern day experts in happiness:

Wise Modern Teachers Talk about Happiness

What follows are a handful of modern teachers and their messages regarding happiness, etc. If you want to know more about them (through their websites), you can click on their names:

Eckhart Tolle will tell you that if you are totally present here and now you will be feel totally alive and happy. This is true.

Byron Katie will tell you that if you examine all your thoughts and let them go, you will end up feeling totally alive and happy. This is also true.

Neale Donald Walsch will tell you that God is not judgemental, but rather unconditionally loving, and also that you and God are one and the same, and therefore you can safely let go and let God. He will also state that you can replace the word 'God' with the word 'life' if you prefer.

Arjuna Ardagh and Gangaji will tell you that if you stop judging everything and instead completely relax your ego, you will end up feeling totally alive and happy. Again, this is true.

Countless other teachers have countless other bids, many of which are quite valid and true.

Suggested Reading

If you want to know more, here is some suggested reading, based on the teachers I have mentioned above:

The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. He has written more books, but those are the two most important ones, I think.

Loving What is: How Four Questions Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie describes her simple process for dealing with thoughts. She calls it the Work. She, too, has written more books, but the first one covers it nicely.

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue: Books 1 and 3 by Neale Donald Walsch. He has written MANY more books and done other materials, some of them absolutely great, but those two cover the basics.

Let Yourself Go is an audio-book/audio-course by Arjuna Ardagh. He has written printed books as well, but this audio-course is nice; both basic and more advanced.

The CDs Who Are You? and Revealing Strategies of Ego by Gangaji are examples of the her teachings. You can also get both DVDs and printed books with her, but personally, I like to hear her lovely, calming voice, so the audio recordings appeal to me.

The soon-to-be-published book Let Go and Come Home: 10 Steps on the Fast Track to Happiness and Inner Peace by Soren Lauritzen is my own quick course in understanding the basics and using my method the Let Go Method. It will soon be available both as printed book [LINK] and e-book [LINK].

I am also preparing a special report called Feel Truly Alive! - Happiness, Wholeness and Coming Home Made Easy [LINK] in which I will give you some easy to use tips and techniques for attaining that experience that all people desire deep down.

The Funny Thing Is ...

... we all know what happiness is. We have all experienced it, at least in glimpses, because it's part of our most basic nature. Happiness is in fact one of the experiential 'faces' of our own basic nature (other 'faces' include inner peace, unconditional love, feeling whole, etc.).

Since happiness feels so good, obviously we want to experience it a lot, i.e. long term rather than short term.

When we only experience happiness fleetingly and not on a more permanent basis, it's because we let something get in the way - like clouds blocking the sun. That something is fear.

Fear blocks out happiness in precisely the same way clouds block the sun. When we feel fear, we start to think that we must defend ourselves - our defensive mechanisms come into play - particularly our ego, and those mechanisms see to it that we do CONTINUALLY DO NOT experience our true nature.

Happily (!) there are ways out of that mess. If you haven't already read them, I would recommend the 'mother-page' of this one (Happiness) or the page about letting go.

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