Cyclothymic Cister

Before the Internet, I used to lie in bed at night composing thoughts as if I were talking to a wise entity. (An actual face never came to mind). I would re-word and re-phrase the thoughts till they were crystal clear. Now I can blog. And hopefully, there are a lot of wise people with real faces out there who might just comment back.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why Can’t We Just be Happy?

There are only a few moments in my adult life that I remember being happy without any twinge of pain in my heart. Most of the time there is a mixture of pain and joy--the pain keeping me from total abdononment. Do other people feel this way I wondered? Then I read this article.

Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness answered my question. He said, "People have a lot of bad theories about happiness."

The article also mentioned that people of all cultures experience happiness for the same reasons. In other words, we are all alike.

And “In general, the older you get the happier you get -- until you reach very old age. “

Nancy Segal, a professor at California State University, Fullerton, mentions the transcendent moments of joy.

Segal also said we “ . . . should find small things we can do every day that bring us joy, whether it's going for a walk or cooking a meal or reading a book."

To summarize my findings: we humans are all alike. Happiness is transcendent. It is the little things that make us happy. The older you get the happier you become until you die.

Hmmm. Here is the way I’d say it. We are all born with vague memories of our ancestors’ first home in the Garden. Throughout our life we are haunted by those bittersweet memories. We have an idea of what pure happiness should be but life doesn’t live up to that. Then as we get older and closer to death, we are again closer to Paradise.

C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory says it like this. “ We remain conscience of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy."

". . . the mind and, still more, the body receives life from Him at a thousand removes—through our ancestors, through our food, through the elements. The faint, far-off results of those energies which God’s creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what we now call physical pleasures . . .What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating?”

“Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is Monday morning.”


At 2:01 AM, Anonymous shyann said...

Thanks for this latest writing. It does help explain that inner pain or melancholy that keeps me (us) from experiencing complete joy. Also, it is absolutely true that aging does indeed bring more spurts of happiness. That's about the only good thing I can say for aging.

At 5:02 AM, Blogger aj-today said...

Cister, this post hits so close to home. I too am plagued by the simultaneous existence of joy and pain in my heart. My husband doesn’t understand this whatsoever, so I really have no one to talk to about this. During the past several months, joy has prevailed over pain even though pain is always present. And it IS the little things that make me joyful and thankful. Now during the last several days, pain is beginning too surface again. But I’m going to fight it off somehow. And contrary to what many may think, this state of mind, feeling both happiness and pain, is not “mood swings.” My mood is pretty stable 99 percent of the time. Anyway, bottom line, I can relate.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Cyclothymic Cister said...

Thanks shyann and aj. It makes me happy that you can both relate, but it also makes me sad that you can both relate.


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