What makes you happy?

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Today we met and considered happiness (the Greek word is eudaimonia) as described by Greek philosopher, Aristotle. We each talked a little about what makes us happy. There was a lot of common ground with friends, family and nature featuring highly. I will include some of the ideas we looked at today:

Happiness comes from discovering who you are, developing your distinctive talents to work for the overall benefit of others as well as yourself.

Aristotle’s way of achieving happiness: activities that are in accordance with our virtues and the person having a noble purpose in those activities.

Happiness is having a sense of well-being that is achieved through good living. (Dr Martin Seligman).

According to Aristotle, ethics is about how people should best live, while the study of politics is from the perspective of the law-giver, looking at the good of the whole community (Wikipedia).

We talked about happiness and reflected on other positive emotions of which there are many examples as explored through the Positive Psychology field.

JOY, GRATITUDE, SERENITY, INTEREST, HOPE, PRIDE, AMUSEMENT, INSPIRATION, AWE, ELEVATION, ALTRUISM, SATISFACTION, RELIEF, AFFECTION, CHEERFULNESS, SURPRISE, CONFIDENCE, ADMIRATION, ENTHUSIASM, EAGERNESS, EUPHORIA, CONTENTMENT, ENJOYMENT, OPTIMISM, LOVE

(https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/positive-emotions-list-examples-definition-psychology)

There was plenty of lively discussion and different points of view which made it all the more interesting. Next time we meet we will be looking at Machiavelli.

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Philosophy 2019

Next week I will be starting the Let’s Talk Philosophy course for our local University of the Third Age.

This year we will be using the book “50 Philosophy Classics” by Tom Butler Brown. We hope to cover just ten philosophers between now and June. It will really be an introduction to each of the chosen philosophers and we will enjoy some stimulating conversation and hopefully a few laughs!

I usually include a quote by a philosopher as a basis for discussion. Our first one is Aristotle and the quote is:

Aristotle 384BC – 322BC

Do you have any thoughts on the quote? I would love to hear them!

Mooji – The Parable of the Two Birds

Just wanted to share this post from Val at Finding Your Middle Ground. I think it reflects what I was trying to say in my most recent post.

Find Your Middle Ground

This inspiration is from Mooji and is taken from ‘Vaster Than Sky Greater Than Space’.

“Some time ago I saw a picture depicting a parable from the Bhagavad Gita. It showed two birds in a tree, and one of them was building a nest. This one is flying off collecting things, arranging the twigs – its active, doing many things.

Above this bird, on another branch, is a second bird. It looks identical to the first bird, and it’s not building anything. It is just observing. It’s not building a self-image out of its perceiving, and its not deeply interested in any aspect of what it sees. Its perceiving is happening quite spontaneously without effort or judgment. There’s a silence there, that feeling of Being without thought. Just looking.

This is a beautiful portrait of who we are.

These two birds are connected. The first  bird represents our dynamic being…

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2019 and all that …

I am thinking about next year and where to focus my interest and my energies. I am not one for New Year’s resolutions or for setting goals but I like to pause and consider what I want to include or change in my year ahead.

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2018 was a pretty good year for me. It was very busy and enjoyable year with my U3A (University of the Third Age) commitments. It was one of those years where, at times, I became more of a human-doing rather than a human-being.

For the year ahead I would like to give more attention to my relationships with people in my life. I have moved around a fair bit in my life and have often lost touch with people in the process. I grew up in Victoria and have now lived in West Australia for 36 years. I have lived in the Kimberley region, Pilbara region, MidWest/Gascoyne region, Perth, Goldfields/Esperance region and now the South West. Each time I moved I had to start again and make new friends and set up new networks. It gets to the point that I get itchy feet if I stay in one place too long.

I think 2019 will be about putting down some roots, building relationships and accepting we are here to stay. And being grateful that I can enjoy life in such a pleasant environment.

Photo Busselton Jetty by Milz on Pexels.com

An Orange

I sometimes find that depression sneaks up on me. I have lots of strategies for working around it (diet, exercise, pills, positive psychology etc) but sometimes it wins. Today was one of those days.

I caught myself being grumpy when reaching for my ‘after-dinner’ orange that I have everyday that we have oranges in the house. I looked at the orange and thought how nice it looked. I remembered living in a remote community in the Northern Territory of Australia and we had no access to fresh fruit at the time. That was when I realised that oranges are my favourite fruit. We had to order food about six weeks in advance and the grocery order came by barge from Northern Queensland (quite a distance away). 

I held the orange in my hand, smelled it, felt the texture and felt very grateful for it. I then proceeded to eat it while savouring the taste! It didn’t cure my depression but it was a circuit breaker letting some light in!

Seeking Wisdom

Recently I have been exploring many avenues seeking wisdom.

I have studied (with a small group of other interested folks) Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche (not in any great depth, I might add!)

From there I spent some time in October studying the Stoics – Seneca again, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Following on from there we leapt a few centuries to consider Karl Marx and Mary Wollstonecraft. We finished up with a quick look at Bertrand Russell and Australian philosopher, Peter Singer.

Now it would probably be useful for me to tell you all about them but I am probably too lazy to do that, to be honest. Anyway, if you are interested they are only a google search away.

While doing the above I also joined an online course with The School of Practical Philosophy. A small group of us met online on Monday evenings for an hour and considered a range of texts and some thoughtful discussion.

The thing that impacted me the most was the well known words used in the the song below. It was one of those ‘aha’ moments! Realising that the cycles of life keep turning and sometimes we are observers and sometimes participants. Sometimes things go the way that is pleasing to us sometimes they don’t!

Where does this leave me? Not sure! The journey continues …

A Recipe reflecting Life

bake baked basil broccoli

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I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.

Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.

An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed

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Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.

I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.

 

Young means young, not wonderful

A great post/poem by blogger friend, Rachel McAlpine from New Zealand (currently in Seoul).

Write into life

Billboard of two old lovers kissing. Text: WE ARE YOUNG C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.

Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.


Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism……

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When is it tomorrow?

I am into Week 2 of my course on Practical Philosophy Online

I loved the Story of the Week so thought I would share it with you. The author is unknown.

One day Arnav and his friend Bhima were having a friendly chat while walking just outside the marketplace in Dhubri. A beggar asked for some help from Arnav, who told him to ask him tomorrow. The beggar went away. Looking around Bhima saw a big drum at a stall just inside the market took the big drum and started walking through the market beating the drum furiously. Arnav was surprised, ran after his friend and asked why he was doing this.

Bhima said, “I want to declare that our revered Arnav has won the battle against time! You told that beggar to come tomorrow. How do you know that you will be there tomorrow? How do you know that beggar would still be alive tomorrow? Even if, you both are alive, you might not be in a position to give anything. Or, the beggar might not even need anything tomorrow. How did you know that you could both even meet tomorrow? You are the first person in this world that has overcome time. I want to tell people of Dhubri about this.”

Arnav got the message from Bhima, recalling that actions can only occur in the present moment. Arnav called that beggar right away and gave him the necessary help.