23 centuries ago, Aristotle concluded that what is most sought after by men and women is happiness. While we seek anything else such as health, beauty, money, etc., we are only interested in the measure that gives us or leads us to happiness.
Today we don’t know more about the happiness than what Aristotle said. Despite scientific and technological advances, people often end up feeling that they have wasted their lives and that their years have elapsed between anxiety, boredom and disgust.
When do people feel happy?
Happiness IS NOT something that happens. It is not the result of good luck or chance. It is not something that can be bought with money or power. NOR DOES IT SEEM TO DEPEND ON EXTERNAL EVENTS, but rather on how we INTERPRET THEM.
PEOPLE WHO ARE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR INNER EXPERIENCE ARE ABLE TO DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES. THAT’S WHAT’S CLOSE TO HAPPINESS.
JS Miller said: “Ask yourself if you are happy… and you will cease to be”. The road to happiness begins with CONTROL OVER THE CONTENTS OF OUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
In our lives we have all experienced moments in which we had control over our actions; we were the masters of our own destiny. It happens rarely, we feel exhilarated, a deep feeling of joy that tells us how life should be. We will call this OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE. Those unique moments in our lives can be our first love, our graduation, the birth of a child, etc.
The funny thing is that these moments usually occur when the body or mind of a person has reached the limit of a volunteer effort to obtain something difficult and worthwhile. OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE IS SOMETHING WE LET HAPPEN.
These experiences do not necessarily have to be nice when they occur. The swimmer before reaching the finish line, winning and enjoying the delight of success, had to work before the maximum in the pool and sometimes with pain. A delivery may be another example of this. Despite the trauma, it can be one of the BEST MOMENTS OF LIFE.
The concept of FLOW or to FLOW is the state in which people are so involved in the activity that nothing else seems to matter, because the experience they feel at that moment is so pleasant in itself, that people perform it despite the great costs. They do it for the simple reason of doing so.
The optimal experience depends on the ability of control of each person, and they reach it based on the effort and their own creativity. The book and the FLOW hypothesis is what’s going to allow us to reach the HAPPINESS THANKS TO INTERNAL CONTROL OF OUR LIVES.
The optimal state of inner experience occurs when there is order in consciousness, and this happens when all our attention and all our energy is concentrated to get a realistic goal, and when the skills we have are arranged to achieve it.
FLOW is the way people describe their mental state, when consciousness is harmoniously organized, people are doing what they like to do.
The way to react to a given situation is what will determine whether or not the person is going to take advantage of his misfortune, or how he will respond to. That’s the point. Tranquility, serenity and considered decisions, seem to be the core elements of FLOW.
ONLY THE DIRECT CONTROL OF EXPERIENCE AND THE ABILITY TO FIND JOY, MOMENT BY MOMENT, IN EVERYTHING WE DO, CAN OVERCOME OBSTACLES IN THE WAY OF REALIZATION.
Life and the universe were not designed for the COMFORT OF THE HUMAN BEING. It seems that every time we solve one problem, another comes. Sometimes we don’t have time to think, something happens we can’t determine or even predict. However, our success in overcoming all depends on HOW WE FEEL, the joy of living depends directly on the way we feel and the way the mind filters and interprets everyday experiences.
We can be happy if we don’t depend on the internal harmony and the control over phenomena, that is, of what appears and is outside of us. Everyday we have to learn how to master the external environment, because our survival depends on it, but mastering the external CANNOT HELP US IF WE CAN´T LEARN TO DOMINATE THE CONSCIENCE.
All or at least most of us have a project of life, that is, things we want to do before we die. How close or how far we are from this project is what gives us our quality of life, the closer we are to what we want and desire, the happier we are, the same happens in reverse.
However we try to improve the quality of life; this is an ENDLESS TASK because having reached a goal or something we wanted, something else that we want will appear, and so on. But some people are able to get out of this vicious circle, staying out and pursuing happiness. They still live, they are happy, they are learning about life, enjoy what they do and are in harmony with themselves and with their living environment. Perhaps its greatest strength is that they control their lives.
If our living environment does not help us, if the society in which we live does not cooperate at all with our being and everything seems to be a mere utopia, WE ARE BOUND TO USE ANY ACCESSIBLE TOOL TO BUILD A LIFE WITH MEANING AND THAT ALLOWS US TO ENJOY IT.
Ironically we think that life will give us everything, but that’s not true. Rather, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “We are always striving to live but never living”. Or as the poor French said:, “there will always be bread and meat in the morning but there is never bread and meat today”.
In conclusion of these ideas, we can say that the way to get control over life is with CONTROL OF CONSCIOUSNESS. We can be liberated of anxiety and fears controlling consciousness, leading us to control the quality of the experience.
And how does consciousness works?
Consciousness is self directed. It creates the ability to deviate from the genetic instructions, being independent and running their own course of action. Its function is to represent the information about what is happening inside and outside the body, so that the body can evaluate and act accordingly.
It’s like a telephone exchange for feelings, perceptions and priority ideas. Without it we react instinctively and reflexively. WITH IT WE CAN EVALUATE WHAT SENSES DELIBERATELY SAY AND RESPOND BY EVALUATION.
A PERSON CAN BE IMMENSELY HAPPY OR MISERABLE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS OUTSIDE, CHANGING ONLY THE CONTENTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS. IN SUM: WE HAVE TO ORDER THE CONSCIENCE, CONTROL THE THOUGHTS. These are two parallel tasks.
But what does being conscious mean? Just that what happens, what is happening right now, called feelings, thoughts, intentions, etc., can be controlled. Everything we perceive is liable to be the subject of consciousness.
Based on the book Flow Mihaly. Csikszentmihalyi.