Happiness is a state of being or consciousness which depends upon the ease with which "life" operates within the total organism (body and psyche). Ease brings happiness: disease results in pain, sorrow and unhappiness. Any hindrance to the flow of life-energies through glands, muscles, nerves or psycho-mental functions produces a condition of disease, however slight or temporary it may be.
If happiness depends upon ease of function, it would be very important for a person to be able to determine the type of activity in which his life-energies can flow with the greatest amount of ease. Such a determination would be instinctive and spontaneous if men lived in a "natural state" with a minimum of paradigm interference to pervert the normal rhythm of their personal growth.
But you live in society, and you have collectively the wondrous ability to remember the past of their race, to "bind time" and condense the memory of human achievements in the fabric of a civilization. This means that the accumulated power of tradition and race-memories create challenges from birth. However, theses challenges may mean accelerated and super-normal personal growth, and the development of faculties of great mental and spiritual significance.
What higher personal growth can help us do is to discover consciously what our thwarted instincts are often no longer able to reveal with convincing clarity to our confused ego. It can also show us the basic reasons why, in our particular case, the life-force no longer flows with ease - thus, the causes for the absence of full and vibrant happiness in our life.
It is man's privilege to tread the "conscious way", and personal growth, if properly handled, can provide us with the substance of conscious understanding. It can bring every man, who is ready, to the illumination which transforms the instinctual and unconscious energies of "life" - into the power of creative meaning. It can make of us, subservient to the transitory and illusion-laden power of social and cultural structures, aspirants upon "the path".
The problem of happiness is more complex than it might appear from the preceding definition of the term "happiness". What makes it complex is the fact that "life" can be approached from two opposite points of view.
The normal way for most human beings today is to follow the line of least resistance - the path of maximum biological and psychological ease - and to approach all factors within the realm of "life" with the impulsive, instinctual consciousness. These life-factors include not only health, organic behavior, sex and personal feelings; they refer to all types of social and cultural activities displayed in the building of traditional structures according to passively accepted standards, patterns and paradigms.
But there is another way - the path of conscious personal growth. The conscious way which begins with clear vision and an objective awareness of the purpose and meaning of the entire cycle or field of life.
Both these ways deal with "life" but they deal with it's powers from opposite starting points. Both deal with happiness, but the meaning of the term "happiness" changes as the individual treads either the path in relative unconsciousness, or the path of conscious personal growth that seeks to formulate itself through words and symbols, thus releasing seeds of creative significance.
When I defined happiness in terms of ease of function, the definition was correct enough, generally speaking. But what has been emphasized so far is the type of happiness and life-functions which develop along the path of the default paradigm. Happiness has been made almost synonymous with organic and social well-being.
But there is another kind of happiness which implies a very different rhythm of individual activity... an essentially lucid, conscious and deliberate personal growth. Happiness born of illumination and developing through creative and individual strivings toward the realization of full significance in one's life and one's creations.
This happiness does not depend primarily - certainly not exclusively - on organic well-being (physiological, psychological and cultural). It depends above all upon a personal growth and expression of creative power - not upon the mere satisfaction of the procreative instinct. It manifests in the strange alchemy in which the concentration needed to overcome pain blends with a kind of winged exaltation.
In this brand of personal growth, tension is combined with the ecstasy of release, where light embraces darkness so that self referencing form may be born.
No single word is really adequate to describe this type of happiness which personal growth plants along this path; but the simplest and perhaps the best that that can be used is: "joy".
The act of formulating meaning is the essence of conscious and lucid creativeness.
Creative Joy through personal growth is in essence (though not always in its outer manifestation) the polar opposite of organic well being... personal growth becomes a hyper dimensional pursuit.
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