Monday, October 10, 2005

How to be happy

Steve Pavlina's blog has an interesting article on the start of a series he's going to do:
When you learn to use your consciousness a certain way, happiness is the natural consequence. You don't have to use your consciousness to create happiness, but once you learn how to do so, you'll probably be inclined to leave it switched on all the time.
I stumbled on this art, or something similar, myself three years ago after years of mild depression. The easiest way I can summarize my enlightenment: happiness is an act of will. There were other parts too, though, which probably seem trite and obvious, unless you accept them in a deep way (or maybe I'm just different, or slow, or whatever :-):
  1. The world isn't entirely understandable or controllable, so accept things you can't change.
  2. Logic and reason, the scientific method, is not a philosophy which leads to happiness or completeness.
  3. Committing to every action, drinking actively of every passing moment, effortful yet (in the end) effortless deliberate living is one of the keys for framing one's life and action. A focus on one word: being.
It was almost a religious experience, but I don't believe in God, or at least I recognize no god described by any major religion: they all seem like metaphorical fathers. It might sound like an act of faith (But everything is an act of faith executed on the accumulated biological machine that is the human being.) but I reached my conclusions through a leap of insight, not an act of faith.

I find happiness everywhere: from the usual trees and birds I see on the bus and while walking to and from work, to the really mundane such as the concrete beneath my feet, the cloudy sky above, the chill in the air that keeps me awake, the wind on my face that makes me fall in love with life all over again.

When they're written down, the seem like so many useless platitudes. The words are only the shadows of the living actions, though, flat photographs of live actions.

I'm interested in what Steve has to say, and how what he says compares with my own experience.


Northernbear said...


My name, interestingly enough, is also Barry Kelly. You can check out my blog at "", if you interested.



Anonymous said... is better than this blog

Barry Kelly said...

anonymous - that depends on what you're looking for! I use this blog to post technical programming articles, not life musings. Each to his own...

Peter Bromberg said...

Nicely done, Barry. Happiness, while somewhat elusive to some, is indeed a normal state and does not require synchronization locking.