Friday, December 11, 2009

Living from happiness instead of for happiness

A few days ago, while using my favorite online service -- philosophersnotes.com (more on them in another post) -- I came across the summary of a book called "Happy for no reason" (written by Marci Shimoff with Carol Kline). There is one sentence in that book that absolutely perfectly describes what I believe to be the best philosophy on life:

Living from happiness instead of for happiness

That right there is what I believe our planet needs the most - more people living from happiness instead of for happiness. And combining that with my favorite quote from the Dalai Lama

The meaning of life is to be happy and to be useful

gives the recipe for a fantastic life. I firmly believe that it's no accident the Dalai Lama puts 'happy' before 'useful' and I also firmly believe that he means 'be useful from happiness' (and not for happiness.)

And how can we become happier so that we truly start living from happiness? Well, reading Marci Shimoff's book is probably a very good way to start.

Although I disagree slightly with one fundamental assumption she works with. She says something like that 50% of our happiness set-point is genetic and cannot be changed, 10% comes from external circumstances that are hard to change (and that most people spend most of their energy on trying to change), and 40% comes from what we do and think (our habits, thoughts, actions...). I fully agree with the 10+40% assumptions and she gives fantastic advice on how to improve our happiness set-point by working with the habits and actions 40%.

But I humbly disagree that 50% of our happiness set-point is genetic and cannot be changed. While some of our happiness set-point may be genetic and unchangeable, I believe that it is possible to go deep into our subconscious minds and do a great deal of healing work there that will impact this part of the happiness set-point. And I actually believe that this is by far the most important part of working on increasing our happiness because it is this work that provides a strong yet flexible foundation for all the other work (i.e., the aforementioned 40%). Over the past seven years I've seen this change occur in myself as well as dozens of other people to know that this is true.

So what are actually the methods or techniques for impacting this part of the happiness set-point? I have personally used a combination of holotropic breathwork and PBSP to make these changes (you can see my earlier posts on these methods). I am sure there are other methods as well. But the reason that HB and PBSP are so good is because they are the most effective methods I know of that can effectively deal with what I believe are the biggest causes of unhappiness in adult life that has no apparent cause: A) a glitch in the birth process, and B) so called 'traumas of omission' very early in life (i.e., first few seconds, minutes, hours after being born, all the way to the first one to three years of our life). I'll write about more about these two causes, which mainstream psychology / psychotherapy absolutely underestimates IMHO, in a later post.

But for now I'd like to encourage you to start living from happiness instead of for happiness and start working on ways of increasing your happiness set-point. And for those that are eager to either continue with or get going on the "useful" aspect, I'll end today with the best quote I've ever heard on finding one's calling in life:

Our true calling is where our joy meets the needs of the world
(Barbara Ernest)

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