Monday, October 12, 2009

Something about happiness

On an impulse this morning, I did a goodsearch* on "happiness". The very first result was (surprise, surpise) a Wikipedia article. Here's a little excerpt:
Some researchers have found that about 50% of one's happiness depends on one's genes, based on studying identical twins, whose happiness is 50% correlated even when growing up in different houses. About 10% to 15% is a result of various measurable life circumstances variables, such as socioeconomic status, marital status, health, income, and others. The remaining 40% is a combination of unknown factors and the results of actions that individuals deliberately engage in for the purpose of becoming happier. These actions may vary between persons; extroverts, for example, may benefit from placing themselves in situations involving large amounts of human interaction. Also, exercise has been shown to increase one's level of momentary subjective well-being significantly.
Okay, folks. Looks like 40% is up to us. That's quite a lot, actually. And that's where meditative practice comes in. It's startlingly simple:

- A lot of unhappiness comes from suffering.
- Suffering is caused by excessive attachment, craving.
- The remedy is letting go.
- And we learn to let go through meditation.

So get those bottoms on those cushions, people!

(* If you use GoodSearch for your search engine at least part of the time and type in St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation as your charity of choice, the Center will benefit. Please help us in this easy way that costs you absolutely nothing!)

1 comment:

  1. I try to fill in the 40% of happiness that's up to me with:

    -some meditation
    -some exercise, my endorphins love it
    -some purposeful contact w/friends, meaning I make a date instead of just waiting for the friend thing to happen, or if the friend thing comes my way, I take them up on it, I find ways NOT to turn a friend date down
    -I enjoy a healthy relationship with my spouse enabling us both to enjoy the simplest and the most complex of events together

    I do stay pretty up most of the time although grey skies weather is starting to show up here in WW and I have to watch it that I don't let that drag my good happy intentions down!

    Thanks for reminding me that it's not up to other people to make ME happy:)


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