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"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Sunday, February 8, 2009

More or Less Happiness

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune mentioned that researchers no longer appear to consider happiness depending mainly on financial factors (this is, in fact, not new).

Rather, says the article, there are many other factors that contribute to happiness, and as such, appear to have brought about a greater equilibrium in subjects in the US as opposed to past decades.

"The unhappiest Americans have grown happier, and the happiest are less so, producing a greater cluster around the ho-hum survey response of "pretty happy," Wolfers of Penn's Wharton School, said.

"Greater consensus on happiness despite a widening income gap suggests non-financial factors such as social equality, leisure time or religious beliefs could influence Americans' mood more than previously thought, he said. "

However ... and this is why I found the article interesting in the first place ... now, due to the recession, the above no longer holds true.

""There's just no doubt about it: In every recorded recession, happiness has fallen in the United States," Wolfers said. "In this recession, it's plummeting even further. … Folks out there are not happy."" Read the entire article here.

OK, not hard to understand. People are hurting, people are losing their jobs, their homes, some don't even know where the next meal is coming from. None of that is good. None of it is easy. But precisely in such difficult times it is all the more important to be capable of calling in on an inner core of power and resolve, an inner core of knowledge that my inner well being does not depend on what happens outside.

This is so hard to comprehend, and yet it makes all the difference. I've posted about this subject so frequently. It's of core importance. If you can figure this one out, if you can make this one happen for yourself, no matter what is going on, whether:
  • you find yourself in prison for political beliefs (like Nelson Mandela)
  • you find yourself in an extermination camp (like Victor Frankl)
  • you find yourself a quadriplegic (like Christopher Reeve)
  • you suffer from Lou Gehrig's disease (like Stephen Hawking)
  • you lose much of your money in the stock market (like so many)
  • you lose your child to an accident (like so many)

then you will be able to begin to feel free - even in highly difficult circumstances.

In all of those cases, and many more, if your inner state of well-being depends on your outer circumstances, you will surely go under. If, however, you have begun to comprehend that you - and not your external circumstances - are responsible for that inner state of well-being, then you are well on the road to inner peace and freedom.

Please also read the feature article - with much more about this subject - in this month's newsletter Looking in all the Right Places, by signing up for the newsletter here.

Photo: Egypt

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