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Unvealing The Mysterious Link Between Happiness and Joy

December 10th, 2007 by Wai Loong (Add Your Comment)

Last week, I was struck with an unusual question. “What’s the difference between happiness and joy?”. I staggered back for a while and ridiculously thought: “Aren’t they the same?” That’s was what I thought… until I discovered the fine line that separates the man from a child…

Let’s begin by quoting from Aristotle:

Joy is the meaning and purpose of life.
– Aristotle

Do you have a purpose in life?

How many times have I been amazed when I see folks giving back a blank stare when asked this question. Do you?

Now, this is not a question of religion. Rather, I’ll attempt to discuss things in neutrality.

Let examine happiness again. When do we feel happy? Is it due to material pleasure? It has been said that happiness is doing and experiencing what we really enjoying doing. Let’s examine ourselves and answer that from within. How do you feel when:

  • You win a game of golf
  • You struck lotto/lottery
  • You are treated to a magnificent course/meal
  • A friend complimented you
  • You pass a difficult examination
  • You meet an old friend whom you’ve never seen for the past 10 years

Now let’s examine a different kind of feeling. How do you feel when:

  • The moment when your baby is born…
  • You take a cool deep breath, a breeze that carries a scent of fragrance of…
  • You wake up in the morning feeling fresh and energetic…
  • You saved someone’s life…

Realizing that joy is much deeper than happiness, it does seem to point to sources coming from deep within our mind and heart. To put it coarsely, happiness physical response to desirable feelings that we crave. As such, happiness requires effort to maintain. Joy on the other hand is automatic. It appears like it’s part of our sub-consciousness, our spiritual self or higher self whatever you call it.

How many times do we lust for that hot gadget, fashionable handbag, high-tech toy, whatever that gets to your mind right now? As such, happiness is largely associated with material gains. With the invention of currencies, material gains may be exchanged for a price, often that is non-negotiable.

Now, not all gains we derive from materials or matter are tagged to prices. For example, the lust for sensual pleasures are often priceless, as most we are familiar with. When the source of happiness is removed, we spiral into mental emptiness. And as we strive harder to fulfill that, we demand stronger and more lasting feelings, the physical happiness.

A lot folks desire success.

Just what is success?

Is it that fulfillment of mental emptiness?

Are we missing something important here?

Think about that for a moment…

It’s often easier said than done. Human beings are herd creatures. Seldom do we enjoy solitary.

Unfortunately, we tend to experience bliss, peace and joy only when we’re connect to something deep within ourselves – usually alone. That something I cannot say… it’s like a source of energy deep within. It’s hard to express in words since language is physical and feelings are meta-physical.

As I discover deeper on the topic, it appears that happiness is easier to achieve than joy. If you’ve being awaken to the law of attraction (see Rhonda Byrnes “The Secret”), it’s easier to appreciate depth of happiness.

Happiness is best derived by loving yourself first. Be grateful that you’re alive, being with your loved ones, loving the things you do, having a splendid and healthy body. Being mindful about the simplicity of living every moment itself, may bring you all the happiness you ever crave for. Anything external that you pay a price for with money is simply icing on the cake. Joy on the other hand is more profound…

I take that fine point from the stand of personal spiritual development. A lot of folks get confused between religious and spiritual. Anyone can be religious, and yet achieve nothing spiritually. On the flip side, it’s entirely possible too.

Personally, spiritual development is best practice upon the foundations of a suitable teaching that promotes joy, bliss and peacefulness. Such teachings should be readily understood and internalized by an individual.

It has came to my attention that with the recent boom of economic growth in many parts of the world, many people are rushing onto the bandwagon of personal gain in all sort of ways imaginable. In particular, the Generation Y group (born between 1979 to 1994).

This group is particularly subjected to cultural shift of instant gratification on almost everything. And it gets worse for Generation Z and beyond. Shrewd businesses are already making a spree on consumer spending from this group while others are lured upon to new forms of social issues.

What I foresee that such perceived happiness can be extremely dangerous and damaging to one’s spiritual development (if any). Of course, not all young friends in this era behave that way. On the contrary, there are always older kids (and many of them, my friend!) who may behave similarly. There are almost always exceptions, and only you can decide what it is best for yourself.

As you could be also on the search or struggle for (greater) wealth, do consider seriously about your purpose in life. With some luck, you may even discover long before the dusk of your life that your true happiness and joy is seldom measured by the amount of wealth you have accumulate over your lifetime.If you’ve been reading this far, I must thank you for your dedication! Not many folks take such writing this seriously. I applaud on your courage to know yourself better… and it’s just only the beginning of your life long journey to self discovery and development.

I’ll see you again next week and may you live a life with passion!

Resources & Further Reading:

  1. The Big Picture teaching universal principles for success in life
  2. Happiness vs. Joy – By dsimple
  3. Eternal Joy
  4. The Secrets

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!