Happiness is ?

Saturday 1436 – 19th January 2013

Lao tse sayingWell what is it?  Happiness that is. I posted the saying to the left and below on Facebook today  ( I’ve written it below because I know I have followers who are blind and visually impaired)

“Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.”
― Lao Tzu

I guess I like it because it speaks to me about the most likely way for me to be happy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially in the bath, now don’t laugh I do a lot of thinking in the bath, don’t you?   It’s certainly a place where I have lots of moments of happiness 😉 and as it happens I got out of a lovely, hot, perfumed bath just before I started writing this! ( tut, tut giving in to my desires!.. read on)

John lennon happiness statement

I digress, back to why I like the Lao Tzu quote. It is evident to me just from observation and experience that happiness is not attained by selfishness and having lots of possessions. We want something, we buy it, we want something else, we buy it but our desires never seem to be satisfied. Why is that? 

Well I’ve been reading quite a lot of the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh’s work in recent weeks, he talks about original fear and original desire; about us being born with original fear because we are thrust from the wet, warm, dark womb into the dry,noisy, brightness of  life and it’s at that moment that desire is also born. The desire to have care, food, comfort etc from someone who will help us survive.  To me this makes a lot of sense. We seem to be largely at the mercy of our desires and because of this life has become complex as capitalism strives to make money out of this, through the power of advertising.

I believe it’s impossible to be happy this way as there is always something new to tempt us. It’s not so much having the possession as the emotional attachment we seem to have to it that causes problems.The more possessions we have the more time we use up looking after them; getting them fixed, cleaned etc instead of actually living our lives, engaging with people, reading books, having experiences and so on ( makes me wonder what I’m doing on here !! ) 

I return once more to Lao Tzu’s quote: I know I am happiest when I am living more simply in a more mindful way, with less striving, more nature, being compassionate to others and not completely at the mercy of my desires!!

Wouldn’t you agree that seems like a more satisfactory way to live ? ( by the way I am wide of the mark on managing this but aspire to it )

( Though some desires are good you understand 😉  )


121212 logoFinally I just want to add something about what I’m going to be doing next Saturday in London.  I’ll be attending the finale of the 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge.  On 1st January 2012, Shaun Buswell started a musical challenge to create an orchestra made up of musicians he met as strangers whilst travelling on the London Underground. Clearly he was absolutely as mad as a box of frogs but he’s doing it to raise money for charity. The charity Daytrippers who help “children with disabilities, life limiting or terminal illnesses enjoy amazing experiences that might otherwise not be available to them”   Click on the names to read more about the challenge.

It nearly didn’t happen and after all the work Shaun and others have put in that would have been a great pity. We only knew on Friday it was definitely going ahead. Phew ! but now bums are needed on seats to make this a success and make money for the charity.. So if you live in or near London it’s on Saturday 26th at 7pm in the O2 Empire in Shepherds Bush in London and you can buy tickets here http://www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk/  You’d be helping make history ! and you might meet me ! ( now don’t let that put you off ) or if you cannot be there you can help raise the money to cover putting on the event and get yourself a video or other memorabilia here http://wefund.com/project/underground-orchestra-challenge-help-the-one-off-event-and-documentary-happen/p56487/ 

Every little helps, even a pound or two.  You would make Shaun, the orchestra and Daytrippers VERY, VERY, VERY HAPPY !

Oh and if you know anyone in London ( Like Chris Evans) who could advertise this on their radio show or better still on TV that would be great too 😉

Needless to say I’ll be telling you all about it next week.

Saturday Girl signing off now. Have an uncomplicated week


You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already



18 comments on “Happiness is ?

  1. I never share links or plug films but I literally watched this today and it sort of fit the bill of what’s happiness all about. It, unexpectedly, answered a lot of questions for me. http://vimeo.com/11335940

  2. […] week I wrote about what makes me happy in my post called Happiness Is – at the end of that post I told you about 12.12.12 Underground Orchestra Challenge.   A […]

  3. Happiness is individual entity for everyone, like the DNA that is never the same as anyone – happiness is never the same for any two people.

  4. Alex Jones says:

    Happiness in my opinion is a subjective state, one reached where the individual is manifesting their life’s potential.

  5. ~mimo~ says:

    food for thought! Great post Helen!

  6. A simple, pared down lifestyle works well for me. Thoughtful post as always Helen.

  7. artblablablablog says:

    I think LOVE, from any source, is happiness.

  8. I agree with the idea of simplicity. I dislike the way that modern life compels us to be complicated normally by buying lots of goods and using lots of services. I hate the feeling that you only exist if you consumer.

  9. cewarnes says:

    Agree absolutely that a large part of happiness is being content with what you have now, and not always wanting something more and possibly better. This does not just apply to possessions. I think another important part of happiness is being able to make things better for other people, which perhaps comes under Lao Tzu’s “reduce selfishness”? And on that note, well done to you Helen for all the promotion you have done for Shaun’s 12.12.12 challenge.

  10. scillagrace says:

    I took a lovely bath this afternoon to relieve my headache…and it did. But now it’s back again. 😦 Thich Nhat Hahn talks about savoring in simplicity things we can enjoy with our senses. A tangerine section can be enjoyed in complete mindfulness, and that’s not the same as desire. That’s more about appreciation than attachment. Makes a huge difference.

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