Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Simplicity is Bliss

This is Tara Brock and I'm writing today about the "Happy Planet" called Earth. The question is, do we live on a  planet that experiences true happiness, or do the difficulties outweigh the potential to be happy? According to the Happy Planet Index (HPI), the happiest countries where measured by experienced well being, life expectancy, and ecological footprint. Over 150 countries participated and the results were surprising! According to the HPI , the United States is listed as 105/151. This number is suprising because although the US is a wealthy nation, the harmful ecological footprint that the US is leaving as its legacy greatly dampers the overall national happiness.  

It's uplifting to me that there is such a thing as a Happy Planet Index because it shows awareness that there may be an imbalance. That being said, there still remains the potential for change. Environmental sustainability is one way to ensure future happienss. When a nation is at war over natural resources, it is a sure thing that  happiness goes out by the wayside.  We are learning that happiness does not have to be destructive. 

According to the HRI, material wealth is not any measure of happiness, either. In fact, material wealth maybe the antithesis to what we think happiness is.  Why is the United States 105th on the list when we have such high standard of living? Does our need to consume at such a high rates leave us feeling increasingly dissatisfied? This is a question we all must ask ourselves. Our insidious need to 'keep up with the Jones' can potentially erode our right to happiness. Stress takes us off the course of simplicity, which in my belief, is the secret to happiness. Upon examination, we realize that simplicity really is bliss.  The attributes of simplicity and calmness are the antithesis of fear and discontent.  

One ancient culture and people that believes in happiness, both on a personal and political level, are the people of Bhutan. As I wrote about in my last blog, one thing I find worth mentioning is that the people of Bhutan are an ancient people. They have ancient traditions and ways of wisdom that were passed on to them and their families many moons ago. The wisdom of the ages outweighed the persistence of capitalism, which may correlate to their increased happiness.

This blog is not intended to portray happiness like Disneyland with  sunshine, butterflies, and expensive toys bouncing and fluttering about. But instead, it  is a commentary designed to inform the reader about the measurement of real-life happiness on planet Earth. 

What makes you and I happy may be two different things. However, where we do have a common base is that happiness is something that we all long for in some way or another.  We can not know happiness is unless we have also experienced its opposite. I do believe, however, that our planet is a wonderful place to leap from in order to fully grasp the meaning of true happiness. 

Please feel free to drop me a line or email me regarding what you have just read. Your comments are always valued to me. 

With my warmest Aloha,