Is “happiness” possible or a cruel illusion?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Sat 15 Dec 18 in Books & Media, bookshop, Happiness |

 Good Morning REBT Mates!

We have been discussing whether it is really possible to be “genuinely happy and what REBT has to say about happiness. A reader shares this quote from the Dalai Lama

“Achieving genuine happiness may require bringing about a transformation in  your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter.”

– The 14th  Dalai Lama

His Holiness is being just a tad bland or casual, I think, in saying that genuine happiness is not a “simple matter.”

I am in no position to speak for him, but I am sure he knows better than any that the sort of “genuine happiness” (I prefer the term “persistent happiness”) that can be measured in the EEG of some  monks from Zen and other Buddhist traditions takes decades of devoted meditation and other practices, surrounded and assisted by a community of people  who support one another along the path.  Very few are up for that sort of commitment or lifestyle.

That is not to say that it takes decades of practicing Zen and other meditation to experience any benefits at all, nor that the average Joe Sixpack has nothing to learn from such traditions, nor that science will not come up with technologies (such as neurofeedback) which accelerate the process.   However, it is to say, in my opinion, that “happiness as a steady state” is probably doomed to be a frustrating and disappointing distraction for the average person.

Finding  more things to enjoy, and more ways to enjoy them–as advocated by REBT–seems to me to be more practical and obtainable.

However, perhaps this is one of those “hard problems” in philosophy.  Maybe it is one of those questions or issues best left alone such as free will, consciousness, truth, etc. which are great fun for those endless sophmoric discussions over pretzels and beer, but are essentally unresolvable and end up causing frustration and disappointment.   Maybe, after all, Meher Baba was right in his seemingly simple minded advice “Don’t worry  Be happy!”


Don’t Worry. Be Happy
~Meher Baba













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Originally posted 2012-11-12 17:46:32.

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