Chasing Happiness

What is it with happiness that everyone seems to be in pursuit of it?

Hugh Mackay, the author of The Good life, has this to say about the concept of happiness.

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfilment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

I love how the idea of wholeness integrates both the good and the bad as part of reality, the yin and yang as some would say - the positive and negative together, as a whole, forming a full circle. After all, life is all about having the balance between the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.

Isn't this a breath of fresh air?

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