Monday, September 13, 2010

More on Happiness

My long time friend from school days back in Montreal, Paul W, sent me this in response to my last post:

And this, from Solzhenitsyn :

“Do not pursue what is illusory – property and position; all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.

“It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides. If your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk, if both arms can bend, if both eyes can see, and if both ears can hear, then who should you envy? And why? Our envy of others devours us most of all. Rub your eyes and purify your heart – and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know; it might be your last act and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory.”


The Talmud asks:


Who is a rich man?


And answers:


One who is happy with his lot.


Those ancient rabbis were very Zen.


It is a guaranteed path to misery to compare yourself to those who appear to be more fortunate and happy. Rabbi Telushkin's mother said: "The only people that I know that are really happy are people that I don't know well."


The Russian author quoted here also reminds us in his closing lines that love is all you need and life is not predictable or controllable.


Please share your thoughts on happiness.


Later this week, my CT scan. To say I wasn't apprehensive would be mendacious. To let its approach shatter my joy, would be wanton. Why borrow trouble?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading Solzhenitsyn's "Cancer Ward" gives hope and encouragement. It is autobiographical. He survived metastatical cancer and lived to the age of 90 or a little over. A great man!

September 15, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My newest take on "happiness," is that true happiness is accessible to anyone at anytime. We need only to decide - to experience joy also, in the midst of pain. I also believe that takes a lot of practice, that certain circumstances require a modified version of the word "joy," and that some people may never be able to fulfill this desire/decision but that the more we practice it, the more possible it is to do.

September 16, 2010 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Happiness is a journey, not a destination,
So work like you don't need money.
Love like you've never been hurt,
Dance like no one's watching.
(So True. . .)


Words that have spoken to me:

If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies.
Be successful anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people may forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It never was between you and 'them' anyway.

September 19, 2010 at 7:15 PM  

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