Four Kinds of Happiness

Four Kinds of Happiness

In a recent article on Huffington Post, they mention:

In his book Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman, a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology and resilience who studies emotionally successful lives, identifies three distinct kinds of happiness. He speaks about pleasure, the kind of enjoyment found in choosing good food and any kind of entertainment. The second kind is engagement — when we are so caught up in an activity such as sports or playing music that we lose ourselves in it. The third kind of happiness is exemplified by service or higher values, that which gives life meaning.

Which kind of happiness should you be focusing on? According to Seligman’s research, the third kind of happiness provides the most enduring satisfaction — service to others generates the deepest fulfillment.

This is entirely true. If you get absorbed in meaningful work, you’re using both the second and third. But I knew there was a fourth kind. The happiness we are made of, of our bliss body. But I was surprised by the next passage.

The three types of happiness Seligman describes are all dependent on outer circumstances, even the most fulfilling one of service to others. However, if we continually depend on the outer changing circumstances of life for our happiness, then our joy will go up and down like a yo-yo.

And she goes on to quote the Taittiriya Upanishad (3.6.1)
Out of bliss all beings are born,
In bliss they are sustained,
To bliss they go and merge again.

Ah – the writer is Ann Purcell, author of Let Your Soul Sing: Enlightenment is for Everyone

She goes on to say “There is a field of happiness within everyone in the experience of transcendental consciousness — the most silent level of our mind.” I’d suggest that while this may seem initially true, it soon becomes apparent that we experience bliss on the way in and out of pure consciousness, beyond the mind. In other words, consciousness is a layer “beyond” bliss. And indeed, the bliss “body” is 2 stages more expressed than the body of consciousness, Atman. Mind, 2 stages still further.

But I agree with the later statement that this is our own essential nature. It is our very life itself. And when pure consciousness becomes established or awake on an ongoing basis, that bliss can be too. It can take a little time to clear some of the noise in the emotions and mind. Samadhi from an effortless meditation is a very fine way. And then we can be happy for no reason.

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