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Happiness Research and Meditation Go Hand in Hand

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter has recently highlighted happiness and our pursuit of happiness in two articles (see here and here). It has been interesting reading, and I find that practicing meditation aligns well with the latest findings on happiness and how to lead a happy life.


In the first article, Bengt Brülde, a professor of practical philosophy at the University of Gothenburg, states that happiness can be divided into four different variants: euphoric happiness, peace of mind happiness, well-being happiness, and life satisfaction happiness. The latter two are the measures most commonly used in happiness research and are assessed through self-assessment. Peace of mind happiness is something that comes from within, and euphoric happiness is strong and temporary moments of joy.


Happiness, meditation, mindfulness, meditation course, meditation teacher in Stockholm

The second article suggests that the pursuit of happiness itself can be a problem. Russ Harris, author of the book "The Happiness Trap," emphasizes in his research that humans often believe that happiness should be the normal state, but that is not the case. Due to this misconception, psychological suffering is perceived as abnormal and a sign of weakness that evokes shame, according to Harris.


Instead of chasing happiness, Harris advocates for something called ACT, which stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In short, it involves not trying to push away difficult thoughts and feelings. The person should allow them to exist without judging them or trying to change them. This makes it easier to move forward without getting stuck in thoughts or feelings.


Psychologist Isabel Petrini says in the same article that ACT leads to "regulating the volume of thoughts and giving them less power. Then you listen to them less and do more of what you really want."


Professor Brülde emphasizes that a good way to increase happiness in life is to focus on close relationships and engage in something that gives meaning to everyday life. He also recommends meditation.


My thoughts on happiness research and meditation


I have been practicing meditation for over ten years now and see many similarities with current happiness research and the insights I have gained through meditation.


  1. We chase happiness because of our innate feelings of inferiority. We believe that we are not enough and think that something we label as "happiness" can make us feel satisfied with ourselves. This is no different than chasing money, love, or validation as a way to fulfill ourselves. However, it can never fill our inner void because our minds fundamentally cannot be healed by external stimuli.

  2. Honest introspection is the foundation of good meditation. It is pointless to push away negative thoughts and feelings. When we do that, we cannot see ourselves, which only leads to continued, and even increased, suffering. That's why it's crucial to allow all thoughts and feelings. Only then can we see what we carry within.

  3. Through meditation, we move beyond negative thoughts and feelings by letting them go. Acknowledge and release, acknowledge and release. Doing this over time is the basis of meditation.

  4. Inner peace arises when you are not trapped in negative thoughts and feelings, when you have cleared the mind and created a space free from negative thoughts. One could say that this space consists of a "pure awareness" without any identifications, not even with oneself. This place is the source of life and natural happiness.

  5. With a free mind, it becomes easy to engage in activities that align with a happy life according to happiness research. Since the mind is not cluttered with countless thoughts, it is easier to focus on what one wants to do, easier to accept other people, feel gratitude, and build meaningful relationships. Thus, one experiences greater satisfaction with one's own life.


Overall, I find that meditation aligns well with what research indicates leads to a "happy" life. By meditating, one does not create illusions about happiness but finds a way to live a realistic life, accepting what happens and dealing with it wisely, which is true happiness.


Stockholm Meditation's motto is "Happiness means to have no worries." There is a lot of truth in this. When we do not cling to anxious thoughts and other negative thoughts, we are naturally happy. Not ecstatically happy, but rather naturally content—something very pleasant and gratifying.

Meditation for beginners | Learn to meditate | Simple meditation

Through meditation, we experience a closer connection to the source of the world, the vast consciousness, and our higher self. This connection can sometimes involve strong euphoric experiences, but at the same time, we have attained such a degree of wisdom that we do not chase or cling to such moments of euphoria. Everything is a whole, a coming and a going. This realization comes when we have developed a broad mind that can see the entirety of existence and human life.


Meditation has led me to a much happier path in life. Even though my mind still produces a lot of negative thoughts and other nonsense, I am no longer stuck in them. I can live in a "space" that is free, which is very grateful.


Being able to approach life from a free mind brings joy, gratitude, and relief. I now experience great meaning in life and in everything I undertake. Happiness is constantly present – even in difficult situations. Knowing that happiness is just "a perspective away" is a great comfort. My hope is that more people start meditating.


Michael


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