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December 1st, 2007

Happiness is not a permanent state. The natural state of man is not happiness but contentment - the proper balance of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.

I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. Aldous Huxley

What am I looking for? I am looking for contentment. Contentment, not happiness? In my opinion, there are four facets to human happiness and these are the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. I hesitate to use the word "happiness" in my words because the word has been highjacked to convince us in various ways to buy, vote, think and other actions which will result in our happiness. When you think happiness, what do you think of? Contentment better describes the end goal of my journey.

The balance between these four aspects of the human being is what determines the overall well-being or contentment of the individual. I suppose it is possible, to a certain extend, to compensate for a weakness in one of the facets. In fact, nature does it for us sometimes as in the case of the better hearing of blind persons. I do not believe that being more physical can solve a huge emotional problem. What matters is the balance.

An imbalance is one aspect leads to imbalances in the other aspects of the human nature. If you are unhealthy, then you are likely to be depressed (emotional) about it, which means that you may not be thinking (mental) properly. The idea is where the balance is disturbed; you take steps to correct that problem. I more inclined, at present, to believe that you have to balance the facet that is the cause of the problem. For example, if you are spiritually void, it is the spiritual aspect that needs to be addressed.

Physical: Being basically healthy is good for you everyone knows that, I think. Taking exercise, eating well and sleeping well are all good for you. The physical relates to you as a physical being, the stuff you can touch.

You might argue that mental and emotional states are the same as they are seen to be centered around the brain. Furthermore, it could be argued that "spitualism" is another aspect of emotion. I beg to differ.

Mental: The mental part of you relates to the way your brain works. It is not about intelligence at all. I mean who is more intelligent in the Kalahari desert, the San man (bushman) who can survive with very little or you? The mental aspect is about making your brain work, about thinking about issues and trying to solve the daily grind of survival.

On the other hand, the "emotional" aspect is about feelings; love, hate and all the sentiments in-between. The emotional aspect is the hardest one to control but the other three parts affect it more readily. If you are healthy, spiritually stable and mentally agile, you are more likely to have better control over your feelings. I would go so far as to say that being in a good mood would help any lovemaking you do. Negative sentiments are usually the result of other deep seeded insecurities that the person has. A jealous husband may think that the wife knows that shortcoming and is looking for something better.

To make this clear, I do not believe in God. At least not what the churches have been preaching for centuries. If you believe in God, congratulations, this aspect of your life is being looked after and I know many people who are comfortable with their "religion". Religion, however, is only a means of expressing spirituality. Spirituality is about believing, knowing, having faith in something we cannot physically, mentally or emotionally prove to others or ourselves. It is a way of regarding the meaning of life, the reason for our existence and provides the moral grounding on which we base our lives. I am now of the opinion, that just having an opinion of "life" is inadequate. Just being "atheist" can be spiritual. If you do not examine and practice this spiritually regularly, you are spiritually poor.

My journey here is to find the right balance for me here and it has to start with handling and dealing with those things that keep me from starting and continuing.

Love and peace, may you find the balance.

[First published on my Talking2Myself blog on specified date]