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Happiness 101   External Factors for Happiness: 

#1 Money

Money plays a part in human existence much less important than we suppose. The best boon that money can bestow upon us is independence. How much money do we need to secure independence? That must depend on the nature of our wants. — W. J. Dawson, The Quest of the Simple Life


In our quest for happiness and the avoidance of suffering, we are all fundamentally the same, and therefore equal. Despite all the characteristics that differentiate us — race, language, religion, gender, wealth ... we are all equal in terms of our basic humanity. — Dalai Lama

The struggle is great, the task divine—to gain mastery, freedom, happiness, and tranquility. — Epictetus


Happiness is a place between too little and too much. — Finnish Proverb

Although the quest is universal, each of our paths are individual. There’s no single right answer for how to be happy. If something resonates with you—regardless of chapter or where I’ve placed it in the hierarchy—follow it. Only you can live your truth.  Kyle Kowaski


Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. — Gandhi 

Poverty is involuntary and debilitating, whereas simplicity is voluntary and enabling. Poverty is mean and degrading to the human spirit, whereas a life of conscious simplicity can have both a beauty and a functional integrity that elevates the human spirit… Once a person or family reaches a moderate level of income, here are the factors that research has shown contribute most to happiness: good health, personal growth, strong social relationships, service to others, connection with nature. —Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity 


Money only affects emotional well-being (happiness) up to an annual income of $60,000-$75,000 (in US). Once you get to an individual income of around $40,000, other factors such as health, relationships and a sense of purpose, seem far more important than income. — 

People who live far below their means enjoy a freedom that people busy upgrading their lifestyles can’t fathom. — Naval Ravikant 

The new roadmap says that there is something called ‘enough’ ... ‘enough’ is this vibrant, vital place ... an awareness about the flow of money and stuff in your life, in light of your true happiness and your sense of purpose and values, and that your ‘enough point’ (having enough) is having everything you want and need, to have a life you love and full self-expression, with nothing in excess. It’s not minimalism. It’s not less is more (because sometimes more is more), but it’s that sweet spot, it’s the Goldilocks point. Enough for me is one of the absolute fulcrums between the old roadmap for money and the new roadmap for money ... Once people start to pay attention to the flow of money and stuff in their lives in this way, their consumption drops by about 20-25% naturally because that’s the amount of unconsciousness that you have in your spending. So, when you become conscious, that falls away and many people say they don’t even know what they used to spend their money on. — Vicki Robin 

The truth is that as the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. — Viktor Frankl 



#2 Simplicity - Happiness comes from simplicity of living and keeping your relationships with material things in check


A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest. — Einstein

Happiness is simple pleasures, is spending time doing what you love and spending time with those you love. — Leo Babauta 

Increasingly, the mainstream media and society are recognizing how people’s search for happiness is taking them beyond consumerism to a more balanced and integrated approach to living. — Duane Elgin 


#3 Relationships

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. — Siddhārtha Gautama 

The clearest message that we get from this 75-year Harvard study of 700  people is this: good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period. Looking back on their lives, people most often report their time with others as being the most meaningful part of life and what they’re proudest of. 

We cannot have deep and enduring satisfaction, happiness, or joy unless we have self-respect. There is good reason to believe that self-respect is the basis for all higher morality. We cannot have self-respect unless our lives are an earnest attempt to express the finest and most enduring values which we are able to appreciate. That is to say, unless we come into close and right relationships with our fellow-men, with nature, and with Truth (or God), we cannot achieve full self-respect. — Richard Gregg, The Value of Voluntary Simplicity 


#4 Culture - Happiness—and a broader sense of well-being—can be learned from other cultures and environments 

The World Happiness Report is in its 8th year. It aims to survey the state of global happiness and ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The researchers look at a variety of well-being measures and track how happiness has evolved over time. Some things are surprisingly consistent. Here are the countries that have ranked in the top 10 for the three most recent study years (2017, 2018, and 2019): 

  • Finland 

  • Denmark 

  • Switzerland 

  • Iceland 

  • Norway 

  • Netherlands 

  • Sweden 

  • New Zealand

The US ranked 18th to 19th in the same studies between 2017 and 2019. Why?

  • Perhaps Danish happiness is not really happiness at all, but something much more valuable and durable: contentedness, being satisfied with your lot, low-level needs being met, higher expectations being kept in check.5 

  • the Ikarians may be the sanest (or most well) people on the planet. And, they are almost entirely free of dementia and other chronic diseases affecting Americans. When you view the Blue Zones holistically, you typically find cultural lifestyle factors including: 

    • Connection: Meaningful relationships (“us” vs. “me”) 

    • Modified Mediterranean Diet: Mostly plant-based diets, drink wine and tea
      with family and friends 

    • Clear Purpose: Based on satisfying low-level needs 

    • Time Abundance: No care about time or watching the clock 

    • Natural Movement: Walkable communities, gardening, enjoy physical work and find joy in everyday chores, enjoy being outside, etc 

    • Down Shift: Little to no stress or anxiety (that leads to inflammation which leads
      to diseases) 

    • Spirituality: Practicing any faith can add years to your life 

    • Sleep: Wake naturally, naps in the afternoon (nap research backs their

    • Environment: Live near water or nature

    • ADD- Pursuits of Curiosities - Creative exploration, research, projects & artistic expressions

A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer... — James Allen, As a Man Thinketh 

Happiness 201 goes deeper into how to be happy psychologically—happiness in the mind. 


The essence of philosophy ... happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. — Epictetus 

People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say dependent on form. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. — Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth 

So if you want to live, you must have no permanent abode. You must have no place to rest your head. You have to flow with it. As the great Confucius said, ‘The one who would be constant in happiness must frequently change.’ Flow. — Anthony de Mello, Awareness 


#5 Expectations -  Happiness is about keeping expectations in check 

If you do the job in a principled way, with diligence, energy and patience, if you keep yourself free of distractions, and keep the spirit inside you undamaged, as if you might have to give it back at any moment—If you can embrace this without fear or expectation—can find fulfillment in what you’re doing now, as Nature intended, and in superhuman truthfulness (every word, every utterance)— then your life will be happy. No one can prevent that. — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

The best expectations example I’ve come across is from Mo Gawdat, an ex-Google executive who quit at age 51 to create an equation for happiness: The way we think about the events of our life and compare them to realistic expectations is what makes us happy or unhappy. 

Happiness is very much like staying fit. You start with the decision that you are going to get fit, you find out how – but knowing that is not enough, you have to go to the gym to work out and eat healthily. To me the whole topic of happiness is exactly the same. First you understand that happiness is a choice, that you can actually achieve it and that there is a method to make it happen. Happiness is not a coincidence, it is not given to you by life, it’s entirely our responsibility.  


#6 Practice - Happiness is a skill that can be learned and requires training and practicing. Almost everything in life requires some amount of practice and training—especially if you want to get better at it. 


I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright ... I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live ... ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life. — Dan Millman 


Practice begins with an intentional choice.


#7 Choice - Happiness is a mindful choice.


If you want to be happy, be. — Leo Tolstoy 

For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. — Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Behold the master key to our happiness in our own hands. Moment by moment, we can be grateful for this gift. — David Steindl-Rast 

Happiness is also a choice. If you’re so smart, how come you aren’t happy? How come you haven’t figured that out? That’s my challenge to all the people who think they’re so smart and so capable. — Naval Ravikant 

I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty to riches, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me. — Sir Thomas Browne 

Happiness is a choice. You are as happy as you choose to be. If you don’t know how to be happy with what you have, you will never be happy with more. — Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life 

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. — Marcus Aurelius 

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. — Marcus Aurelius 


Other people’s wills are as independent of mine as their breath and bodies. We may exist for the sake of one another, but our will rules its own domain. Otherwise the harm they do would cause harm to me. Which is not what God intended— for my happiness to rest with someone else. — Marcus Aurelius


People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul


The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. — Eckhart Tolle 

Individuals who understand what brings them joy and happiness tend to have what we like to call the Right Outlook. They are engulfed in activities and communities that allow them to immerse themselves in a rewarding and gratifying environment. 


#7 Purpose - Happiness is a byproduct of finding meaning and purpose 


I’ve learned that there is nothing more consistent with unhappiness than spending your time in a way that doesn’t serve who you are ... there is no more profound source of fulfillment and happiness than knowing you are traveling your own path... — Scott DinsmoreAside 


According to some psychologists, happiness can be assessed with two simple questions. First, do you find meaning in your work? Second, do you have good relationships with those around you? — Haemin Sunim 

‘Years of research on the psychology of well-being have demonstrated that often human beings are happiest when they are engaged in meaningful pursuits and virtuous activities.’ Indeed, when we are deeply engaged in an activity that is in accordance with our best self, we often report the highest levels of life satisfaction. — Scientific American6 

Very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. — Paulo Coelho 

The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon. (A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget about his sheep.) — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Secret of Happiness story) 

Happiness is simply the byproduct of meaning and purpose: 


Here’s the truth. We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some ... are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. — Mark Manson 

Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’ Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation. — Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning 

Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself. — Viktor Frankl 

Once an individual’s search for a meaning is successful, it not only renders him happy but also gives him the capability to cope with suffering. — Viktor Frankl 

That’s the power of meaning. Happiness comes and goes. But when life is really good and when things are really bad, having meaning gives you something to hold on to. — Emily Esfahani Smith 


The difference between happiness and fulfillment is the difference between liking something and loving something ... Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it. — Simon Sinek 

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. — George Bernard Shaw 


So, instead of making happiness the goal, focus on meaning and purpose:


The happiest people I know found something they loved and went for it. — Dan Harris 

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. — Helen Keller


When we link our purpose with greater happiness, then we’re in a state of unlimited happiness and permanent happiness. — Emma Slade 


Our deepest happiness in life stems from fulfilling purpose. Doing the best we can, where we are, with what we’ve been given is the best way to live a life of meaning and significance. — Joshua Becker


Think of it like a system or process: 

When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running. — James Clear, Atomic Habits 

Stop hoping for happiness tomorrow. Happiness is being engaged in the process. — Helen Morales 

Yet again, the Blue Zones nail it. The concept of ikigai comes from Japan. After all my investigation and reflection on life purpose, I believe this evolution of ikigai is most effective for finding and creating purpose. 


The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow. — Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Healthy Life 

Artists, for example, who carry the torch of their ikigai instead of retiring, have this power. Art, in all its forms, is an ikigai that can bring happiness and purpose to our days. Enjoying or creating beauty is free, and something all human beings have access to. — Héctor García and Francesc Miralles 

Don’t forget the #1 most common regret of the dying: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Could we but fulfil our best selves we should ask no other happiness. — W. J. Dawson 

But what is happiness except for the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? — Albert Camus 


As an afterthought, it seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? — Hunter S. Thompson

Purpose is intertwined with relationships—it goes beyond yourself to serve others and the world: 


The happiness in serving ourselves is real but often fleeting; the fulfillment in serving others is lasting. The problem comes when there’s a lack of balance between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of fulfillment. That’s not just philosophy; it’s biology. — Simon Sinek, Find Your Why 

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. — Dalai Lama 

The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives, the wealthier he is. - Tao Te Ching 


Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.’ — Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak 

As much as our minds/egos would like to be solely responsible for happiness, we eventually realize that they will only take us so far. 

The work we must do next is less cerebral and more spiritual. It’s work located in the heart and in the soul, and not in the mind. Because it is our soul that is the key to our happiness (or our unhappiness), contentment (or discontent), moderation (or gluttony), and stillness (or perturbation). — Ryan Holiday 

Paradoxically, we have to let our mind/ego go. Not only will happiness naturally flow through you, you will move beyond happiness to holistic well-being, deep fulfillment, transcendence, and joy. Now, what, then, will be happiness? And happiness, of course, is such a vague word, so let’s say well-being. And so, I think the best definition, according to the Buddhist view, is that well-being is not just a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment. A state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states, and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way. — Matthieu Ricard 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. — Denis Waitley


You have everything you need for happiness, right now ... Happiness is realizing the world around us, no matter where we are, is a miracle, is beautiful and filled with sources of joy. Do you have eyes? Then you have the tools to enjoy the sky, the water, greenery, people — all miracles, all wonderful. Do you have ears? You have the tools to enjoy music, and laughter, and conversation. Do you have taste buds? You are blessed with a symphony of wonders ... These are the tools for happiness. Use them, and realize you are blessed beyond belief. — Leo Babauta 


#8 Presence - Happiness is the way—it’s the path in the present moment 


Happiness is a default state. It’s what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing from your life. — Naval Ravikant 

When you go through life with preferences but don’t let your happiness depend on any one of them, then you’re awake. You’re moving toward wakefulness. Wakefulness, happiness—call it what you wish—is the state of nondelusion, where you see things not as you are but as they are, insofar as this is possible for a human being. — Anthony de Mello 

You don’t have to do anything to acquire happiness. The great Meister Eckhart said very beautifully, ‘God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.’ You don’t do anything to be free, you drop something. Then you’re free. — Anthony de Mello 

One of many paradoxes is that happiness is not something you’ll find by seeking it: 


Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of wellbeing and inner peace, the source of true happiness. — Eckhart Tolle 


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. — Albert Camus 


We begin a never-ending search for a satisfying experience of identity. We look beyond ourselves for the next thing that will make us happy ... But the search is both endless and hopeless, because it is continually directed away from the ‘self’ that is doing the searching. — Duane Elgin 

Happiness is the way—it’s the path in the present moment: 


There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. — Thich Nhat Hanh 

There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. — Siddhārtha Gautama 

You become happy by contact with reality. That’s what brings happiness, a moment-by-moment contact with reality. That’s where you’ll find God; that’s where you’ll find happiness. — Anthony de Mello 

When you are Present, when your attention is fully in the Now, that Presence will flow into and transform what you do. There will be quality and power in it. You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do. And, of course, you cannot be present unless you become friendly with the present moment. — Eckhart Tolle 

I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man ... Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now. — Paulo Coelho 

If there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion. You can convert peace to happiness any time you want, but peace is want you want most of the time ... If you’re a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity. — Naval Ravikant 

It’s all but impossible to find a philosophical school or religion that does not venerate this inner peace—this stillness—as the highest good and as the key to elite performance and a happy life. And when basically all the wisdom of the ancient world agrees on something, only a fool would decline to listen. — Ryan Holiday 


#10 Surrender- Happiness is letting go of desires and accepting life as it is We’ve covered expectations, but how about desire? 


Desire to me is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. — Naval Ravikant


Happiness is simply the absence of desire. When you observe a cue, but do not desire to change your state, you are content with the current situation. Happiness is not about the achievement of pleasure ... but about the lack of desire. It arrives when you have no urge to feel differently. Happiness is the state you enter when you no longer want to change your state. However, happiness is fleeting because a new desire always comes along. As Caed Budris says, ‘Happiness is the space between one desire being fulfilled and a new desire forming.’ Likewise, suffering is the space between craving a change in state and getting it. — James Clear 

Nothing can satisfy the ego for long. As long as it runs your life, there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other. — Eckhart Tolle 

To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. — Matt Haig 

You are able to accept life as it is once you let go and practice non-resistance, non- judgment and non-attachment:


Don’t seek that all that comes about should come about as you wish, but wish that everything that comes about should come about just as it does, and then you’ll have a calm and happy life. — Epictetus, Enchiridion 

Happiness is a function of accepting what is. — Werner Erhard

Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, 

and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness. — Eckhart Tolle


Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest. — Sri Chinmoy

On the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except that they are so. — William R. Inge 

We need to start by understanding that true happiness is not reflected in the modern world’s view of it being fun, elation or laughter. Happiness is finding peace and being OK with life exactly as it is. — Mo Gawdat 


If you want permanent peace, permanent joy, and permanent happiness, you have to get through to the other side of the inner turmoil. You can experience a life in which waves of love can rush up inside of you any time you want. It is the nature of your being. You simply have to go to the other side of the psyche. You do that by letting go of the tendency to cling. You do it by not using your mind to build false solidity. You just decide, once and for all, to take the journey by constantly letting go. — Michael Singer 


Happiness is in the extraordinarily ordinary: 

There are many more ordinary hours in life than extraordinary ones. We wait in line at the supermarket. We spend hours commuting to work. We water our plants and feed our pets. Happiness means finding a moment of joy in those ordinary hours. — Haemin Sunim 

The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. — William Morris 

It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. — Richard Branson 

Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things. Most people, in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all. The philosopher Nietzsche, in a rare moment of deep stillness, wrote, ‘For happiness, how little suffices for happiness! ... the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance – little maketh up the best happiness. Be still.’ — Eckhart Tolle 


#11 Trancendence - Happiness is transcending your self . What happens when life is no longer all about you? 

‘The self-transcendence of human existence’ ... being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself ... self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. — Viktor Frankl 

What if all you have to do is align yourself with the life that is unfolding in front of you? 


There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance. — Eckhart Tolle 

For unenlightened people, not every day is a good day, because they feel happy only when things happen the way they want them to. For enlightened people, every single day is a good day, because they feel free knowing that nothing can take away their wisdom. — Haemin Sunim 

If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist. — Michael Singer 

Committing yourself to unconditional happiness will teach you every single thing there is to learn about yourself, about others, and about the nature of life. — Michael Singer 

All living beings desire to be happy always, without any misery. In everyone there is observed supreme love for oneself. And happiness alone is the cause of love. In order therefore, to gain that happiness which is one’s nature and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep, where there is no mind, one should know oneself. To achieve this, the Path of Knowledge, the enquiry in the form of  ‘Who am I?’, is the principal means. — Ramana Maharshi 

As you identify less and less with the ‘I,’ you will be more at ease with everybody and with everything. Do you know why? Because you are no longer afraid of being hurt or not liked. You no longer desire to impress anyone. Can you imagine the relief when you don’t have to impress anybody anymore? Oh, what a relief. Happiness at last! — Anthony de Mello 

Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of 

sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self- Happiness. — Ramana Maharshi 

What is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e., when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery. — Ramana Maharshi 


Moving beyond happiness to bliss, liberation, and joy: 

Once you have passed through trial by fire, and you are thoroughly convinced that you will let go no matter what, then the veils of the human mind and heart will fall away. You will stand face-to-face with what is beyond you because there is no longer a need for you. When you are done playing with the temporal and finite, you will open to the eternal and infinite. Then the word ‘happiness’ can’t describe your state. That’s where words like ecstasy, bliss, liberation, Nirvana, and freedom come in. The joy becomes overwhelming, and your cup runneth over. — Michael Singer 

The key to staying happy is really very simple. Begin by understanding your inner energies. If you look inside, you will see that when you’re happy, your heart feels open and the energy rushes up inside of you. When you aren’t happy, your heart feels closed and no energy comes up inside. So to stay happy, just don’t close your heart. — Michael Singer 

The term peak experiences is a generalization for the best moments of the human being, for the happiest moments of life, for experiences of ecstasy, rapture, bliss, of the greatest joy. I found that such experiences came from profound aesthetic experiences such as creative ecstasies, moments of mature love, perfect sexual experiences, parental love, experiences of natural childbirth, and many others. I use the term—peak experiences—as a kind of generalized and abstract concept because I discovered that all of these ecstatic experiences had some characteristics in common. — Abraham Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature 

Although we’re in the realm of the spiritual, Maslow actually theorized about transcendence from a transpersonal psychology (spiritual psychology) perspective: 

Overlapping with several of the above is the transcendence of effort and of striving, of wishing and hoping, of any vectorial or intentional characteristics. In the simplest sense this is, of course, the sheer enjoyment of the state of gratification, of hope fulfilled and attained, of being there rather than of striving to get there, of having arrived rather than of traveling toward. This is also in the sense of ‘being fortuitous’ or Mrs. Garrett’s use of the phrase, ‘high carelessness.’ It is the Taoistic feeling of letting things happen rather than making them happen, and of being perfectly happy and accepting of this state of nonstriving, nonwishing, noninterfering, noncontrolling, nonwilling. This is the transcendence of ambition, of efficiencies. This is the state of having rather than of not having. Then of course one lacks nothing. This means it is possible to go over to the state of happiness, of contentment, of being satisfied with what is. Pure appreciation. Pure gratitude. The state and the feeling of good fortune, good luck, the feeling of grace, of gratuitous grace. Being in an end-state means the transcendence of means in various senses. — Abraham Maslow 

Basic needs and metaneeds are in the same hierarchical-integration, i.e., in the same continuum, in the same realm of discourse. They have the same basic characteristic of being ‘needed’ (necessary, good for the person) in the sense that their deprivation produces ‘illness’ and diminution, and that their ‘ingestion’ fosters growth toward full humanness, toward greater happiness and joy, toward psychological ‘success,’ toward more peak experiences, and in general toward living more often at the level of being. That is, they 

are all biologically desirable, and all foster biological success. — Abraham Maslow 


#12 Joy - Happiness is living the Joy of Being—the only true happiness  - Let’s talk about the joy of living at the level of being:


We’ve reached the summit of the art of living: 

The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. — Henri Nouwen 

By now, you’ve realized that happiness comes in many forms and goes by many names (eg freedom, peace, bliss) but they all lead to joy, love, and God:  There’s only one good in the world, love. It’s sometimes called by other names. It’s sometimes called happiness or freedom or peace or joy or God or whatever. But the label doesn’t really matter. — Anthony de Mello 

One of the ancient names for God in the yogic tradition is Satchitananda— Eternal, Conscious Bliss. God is ecstasy. God is as high as it gets. If you want to be close to God, learn to be joyful. If you remain spontaneously happy and centered, no matter what happens, you will find God. — Michael Singer 

Many people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life; but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find happiness. I say that God is Happiness. He is Bliss. He is Love. He is Joy that will never go away from your soul. So why shouldn’t you try to acquire that Happiness? No one else can give it to you. You must continuously cultivate it yourself. — Paramahansa Yogananda 


Learn to carry all the conditions of happiness within yourself by meditating and attuning your consciousness to the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy, which is God. Your happiness should never be subject to any outside influence. Whatever your environment is, don’t allow your inner peace be touched by it. — Paramahansa Yogananda 

Ancient sages of India called ananda – the bliss of Being. What is joy? When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of Being. When the creative power of the universe becomes conscious of itself, it manifests as joy. — Eckhart Tolle


What is the joy of Being? The joy of Being is the joy of being conscious. — Eckhart Tolle 

This ‘cognition of being’ means really the cognition that Plato and Socrates were talking about; almost, you could say, a technology of happiness, of pure excellence, pure truth, pure goodness, and so on. — Maslow 

The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, can not come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates form the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are. — The joy of Being ... You can only feel it when you get out of your head. Being must be felt. It can’t be thought. The ego doesn’t know about it because thought is what it consists of. — The joy of Being doesn’t come from what you do, but it does flow through you into what you do: Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. — To be more precise, what you are enjoying is not really the outward action but the inner dimension of consciousness that flows into the action. This is finding the joy of Being in what you are doing. — Eckhart Tolle 

Why is it the ‘least thing’ that makes up ‘the best happiness’? Because true happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears. The thing or event is so subtle, so unobtrusive, that it takes up only a small part of your consciousness – and the rest is inner space, consciousness itself unobstructed by form. Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. In other words, the form of little things leaves room for inner space. And it is from inner space, the unconditioned consciousness itself, that true happiness, the joy of Being, emanates. — Eckhart Tolle 


Now, you’ve realized that happiness comes in many forms and goes by many names (eg freedom, peace, bliss) but they all lead to joy, love, meaning, creativity…


Conclusion - 

If you want to be happy, be. — Leo Tolstoy


Creativity is one tool to awaken us to, the joy of being happy.


Edited from Kyle Kowalski, founder of

Here’s what Sloww values in a nutshell: 

Sloww synthesizes the timeless art of living for our modern world because we aren’t taught how to live in school—or even better, how to be fully alive, holistic humans. 

Sloww supports slowing down in a fast world because slowing down is the gateway to all things good—which aren’t things at all. 

Sloww encourages lighter living because more hasn’t added to our lives—we must subtract the heavy superficial “stuff” (physical and mental) and shift inward to a lighter space where we can meet life face-to-face. 

Sloww promotes finding higher purpose because there’s nothing more essential than meaning—but no one taught us how to find it. 

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