(Author, Blogger, Laughter Yoga Master Trainer, Founder: LifeSkills, Behavioural Science Trainer, and National Science Talent Scholar. He is a Laughter Yoga Master Trainer of international repute and has been propagating happiness and well-being among people for the past twenty years. He served in a bank for thirty-five years and has published eight books on the subject of happiness.)
Book Excerpt: CULTIVATING HAPPINESS: A Guide to Practices that do Wonders ☆ Jagat Singh Bisht .
A short video about the book:
(Mr. Jagat Singh Bisht)
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“Change in the world always begins with an individual who shares what he or she has learned and passes it on to others.”
Do you seek health, happiness, and peace? Would you like to increase your well-being and flourish?
Would you mind exploring a happy state of mind called flow, the feeling of complete engagement in a creative or playful activity?
Do you value gratitude, meaning, and better relationships, and want an abundance of these in your life?
The good news is that all this is possible. You can learn these skills to make your life happier.
This book takes you on a pathway to authentic happiness, well-being, and a meaningful life.
It will equip you with sustainable scientific and spiritual tools to cultivate a happy and fulfilling life with a greater sense of well-being.
LIFE SKILLS FOR AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS
To experience authentic happiness, you need to have a true understanding – scientific as well as spiritual – of happiness and practise exercises – like yoga, meditation – for well-being.
This book outlines twelve sets of proven practices that are known to bring health, happiness, and peace.
You will find a brief description of each of the practices, step by step instructions on how to perform them, followed by deep insights into them from experienced practitioners.
Some of the practices – like yoga – are exercises to be done on a regular basis, while the remaining – like spirituality – are essentially programmes that run at the back of your mind.
You may choose as many practices as you wish and add to your repertoire to enrichen your experience of life.
It is not necessary to learn all the skills at one go and practise them. You may learn the skills one by one at your own pace and develop a fit that suits you.
You will slowly discover the activities that suit your temperament and requirement.
THE FOUNDING PILLARS OF WELL-BEING
Taking care of body, mind and spirit is of utmost importance. It is like a tripod. All limbs must be equally strong for balance and harmony. We need to transform the entire experience of life by taking care of all the relevant dimensions – physiological, psychological, and spiritual.
This work is the result of years of deep study and practical sessions with people from all walks of life. A holistic approach that carefully blends the best of positive psychology, laughter yoga, yoga, meditation, and spirituality, evolved over time:
Positive psychology is the science of happiness. It provides authentic understanding of happiness and well-being and dispels myths and wrong notions about happiness. It is a treasure trove of evidence-based happiness-increasing strategies from which one may choose activities suitable for oneself.
Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing. It is instrumental in oxygenation of the body, strengthening immune system, and stress relief as feel-good hormones known as endorphins are generated during the process.
Yoga can do wonders for your health by stimulating endocrinal systems and taking care of neuro-muscular systems. It is suitable for modern day lifestyle diseases and brings about body-mind union.
Meditation is an invaluable tool for calming, concentration, and purification of the mind. It clears clouds and lets you seek wisdom.
Spirituality provides right view and right understanding of life. It gives spiritual insight into right speech, right action, and right livelihood.
After years of deep study and practical sessions, we believe that the practice of yoga, meditation, and laughter yoga along with fundamental understanding of positive psychology and spirituality can lead you to lasting happiness and peace.
Wish you a happy journey into the realms of health, happiness, and peace!
“Positive Psychology takes seriously the bright hope that if you find yourself stuck in the parking lot of life, with few and only ephemeral pleasures, with minimal gratifications, and without meaning, there is a road out. This road takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfilment, meaning, and purpose.”
-Dr Martin Seligman
Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
Are you seeking authentic happiness? Do you want to enhance your well-being and flourish? Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.
Everyone seeks happiness in life. No one desires misery. Twenty-three hundred years ago, Aristotle said that different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life.
According to positive psychologists, people flourish when they experience a balance of positive emotions, engagement with the world, good relationships with others, a sense of meaning and moral purpose, and the accomplishment of valued goals.
Does happiness reside within us or in the outside world? That is a baffling question to which Jonathan Haidt gives a beautiful response, “Happiness comes not just from within or even a combination of internal and external factors, happiness comes from “between”.
“Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to survive, people need love, work, and a connection to something larger.
“It is worth striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself.
“If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.”
It is true that we all have a genetic set point of happiness built into us and we are as happy or unhappy in our life as were our parents and grandparents during their lives.
Some happiness also depends on the circumstances of life – whether married or single, social relationships, money, age, religion, living in a democracy or under military dictatorship, etc.
But the good news is that about forty percent of happiness is under our voluntary control and depends on the intentional activities that we choose to do in life. This is important – up to 40% happiness is within your power to change!
Action and activity are the keys to happiness in your life. Positive psychology tells us of several evidence-based scientific exercises that bring more happiness and positivity. These are called happiness activities.
CREATING YOUR HAPPINESS
Happiness lies in activities.
All activities may not lead to happiness but there is no happiness without activity. You can create your own happiness by voluntarily engaging in activities like exercise, yoga, meditation, helping someone, being kind, expressing gratitude, and savouring life’s little pleasures.
Happiness activities like Expressing Gratitude, Nurturing Social Relationships, Increasing Flow Experiences, Practicing Yoga, and Meditation are known to increase your level of happiness.
Here are some evidence-based, scientifically proven, exercises that make you happier. Choose the activities that you like and practice them regularly. You will feel happier!
Each night before going to sleep, write down three things that went well during the day, that made you happy or things for which you are grateful.
These may be small things or important ones.
Doing this exercise regularly can help you appreciate the positive in your life rather than take it for granted.
You can do this exercise on our own or with a loved one – a partner, child, parent, sibling, or close friend.
Expressing gratitude together can contribute in a meaningful way to the relationship.
Have A Beautiful Day
Set aside a free day every month to indulge in your favourite pleasures.
Have a beautiful day.
Design, in writing, what you will do from hour to hour.
Be mindful and savour every moment of the beautiful day.
Do not let the bustle of life interfere and carry out the plan.
The Gratitude Visit
Select one important person from your past who has made a major positive difference in your life and whom you have never fully expressed your thanks.
Take your time to compose a testimonial just long enough to cover one laminated page.
Travel to that person’s home.
It is important to do this face to face, not just in writing or on the phone.
Do not tell the person the purpose of the visit in advance; a simple “I just want to see you” will suffice.
When all settles down, read your testimonial aloud slowly, with expression, and with eye contact.
Then let the other person react unhurriedly.
Reminisce together about the concrete events that make this person so important to you.
Gratitude helps us build new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
It dissolves anger, bitterness, and jealousy.
Gratitude is a meta strategy for happiness.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude to be happier in life.
Answer the following questions:
Where can I simplify?
What can I give up?
Am I spending too much time on the internet or watching TV?
Can I reduce the number of meetings at work or the duration of some of the meetings?
Am I saying “yes” to activities to which I can say “no”?
Commit to reducing the busyness in your life.
Simplify, slow down, be kind. And do not forget to have an art in your life – music, paintings, theatre, dance, and sunsets.
Practicing Acts of Kindness
True happiness consists in making others happy.
In our daily lives, we all perform acts of kindness for others.
These acts may be large or small and the person for whom the act is performed may or may not be aware of the act.
Examples include feeding a stranger, donating blood, helping a friend with homework, visiting an elderly relative, or writing a thank-you letter.
Over the next week, try to perform at least three acts of kindness that you may decide.
Learning to Forgive
This exercise involves letting go of your anger, bitterness, and blame by writing, but not sending a letter of forgiveness to a person who has hurt or wronged you.
In it describe in detail the injury or offence that was done to you.
Illustrate how you were affected by it at the time and how you continue to be hurt by it.
State what you wish the other person had done instead.
End with an explicit statement of forgiveness and understanding – e.g. “I realize now that what you did was the best you could at the time, and I forgive you”.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY AND SOUL
Taking care of the body and soul is of utmost importance for happiness and well-being.
Everyone knows that physical exercise is good for health. But positive psychologists have discovered that physical exercise enhances your level of happiness and well-being.
Go for long walks, trek, jog, gym, practice yoga, swim, play basketball, or learn the martial arts. It will not only improve your health and fitness, but it is also good for your overall well-being.
Exercise reduces depression, anxiety, stress, and panic; it betters mental processing, creates longer life, improves sleep quality, and strengthens the immune system.
Research demonstrates that exercise may be the most reliable happiness booster of all activities.
Acting like a happy person also makes you happy – seems strange but it is now scientifically proven. So, go join a laughter club and laugh for no reason. The body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter and you get an instant mood boost.
Meditation relaxes the body and mind and brings peace. It takes care of your mind, body, and soul. When you are relaxed and peaceful, there is no tension of mind and no tension of body. You are fully stress free and can concentrate upon whatever you do.
Scientists have also found that practising religion and spirituality makes one happy. You may have your own ways of prayers, meditation, or any other rituals.
Overthinking and stress are harmful for your health and reduce your happiness.
Overthinking is thinking too much, needlessly, passively, endlessly, and excessively pondering the meanings, causes, and consequences of your character, your feelings, and your problems. If you want to be happy, avoid overthinking and social comparisons.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with so high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense,” recommends Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Stress is a major contributing factor in lifestyle diseases. Choose stress management techniques like mindfulness of breathing, vipassana or transcendental meditation for coping with stress.
Savour the positive experiences in your life. Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, “Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.”
Have an optimistic approach about future to be happy. Looking at the bright side, finding the silver lining in the cloud, noticing what is right rather than focussing on what is wrong, having positive friends and avoiding the negative ones, giving yourself the benefit of doubt, feeling good about your future and future of the world, or simply trusting that you can get through the day – all are strategies for cultivating optimism.
Do not spend your free time mindlessly. Choose an active pursuit of happiness over passive hedonism. Instead of doing nothing, watching TV, after returning from work, turn to your hobbies, or other activities that challenge you. You may also think of spending quality time with your near and dear ones, finding time to call upon someone not keeping well, or having an engaging conversation with old friends.
Do yoga and meditation every morning or go for a walk in the park and exercise.
Smile and be kind to all.
Spend quality time with family and friends.
Engage deeply in work, study, play, love, and parenting.
Connect with a meaningful cause.
PEARLS OF WISDOM
Happiness does not just feel good. It is good for you and for society. Happy people are more successful, have better relationships, are healthier and live longer.
Psychological wealth includes life satisfaction, the feeling that life is full of meaning, a sense of engagement in interesting activities, the pursuit of important goals, the experience of positive emotional feelings, and a sense of spirituality that connects people to things larger than themselves.
It appears that the way people perceive the world is much more important to happiness than objective circumstances.
People generally have the misconception that, to be successful, they must postpone their happiness. Ironically, what research is showing is that happiness is the fast track to success. If, instead of overworking and burning out, you take time to relax, to cultivate calmness, to stay present, and to be compassionate to yourself and others, you will be more productive, more resilient to stress, more charismatic and influential, and more creative and innovative.
Those who seek happiness in pleasure, wealth, glory, power, and heroics are as naive as the child who tries to catch a rainbow and wear it as a raincoat.
-Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
We cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it. It is being fully involved with every detail of our lives, whether good or bad, that we find happiness, not by trying to look for it directly. The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Unless there is inner peace, you will not experience happiness. If your mind is serene and calm, it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful physical experience. But if you suffer from any form of emotional distress, then even while enjoying physical comforts, you will not be able to experience the happiness that these could bring.
Happiness does not just exist in the present but also can be drawn from past events. Try savouring past successes, enjoyable experiences and other golden memories by making a habit out of looking at memorabilia or trading stories with a spouse or friends.
You will be surprised to find that you can draw actual happiness– right now– from events that have taken place long ago. Rather than looking for increased happiness in a better future you can mine your past experiences to pay out happiness dividends!
-Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener
We are partly responsible for the happiness or unhappiness we experience. We can all make ourselves happier.
The still and the harmonious mind is happy and joyful; the unhappy, disturbed, or violent mind is never still. Mindfulness, contemplation, meditation, and prayer are pathways to greater stillness.
Kindness and goodness make us happier: selfishness and unkindness make us unhappy now or in the longer term. It is inevitable.
Letting go of attachments to possessions, thoughts and feelings, especially in the ‘second half’ of our lives, is the way to the joy and reality that lie beyond happiness.
Contrary to what most of us believe, happiness does not simply happen to us. It is something that we make happen.
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing, not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion but an optimal state of being.
Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortunes takes back. It depends on us alone.
One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labour, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.
-Luca & Francesco Cavalli-Sforza
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.
The enjoyments of life are sufficient to make it a pleasant thing, when they are taken en passant, without being made a principal object. Once make them so, and they are immediately felt to be insufficient. They will not bear a scrutinizing examination.
Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life.
Let your self-consciousness, your scrutiny, your self-interrogation, exhaust themselves on that; and if otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination, or putting it to flight by fatal questioning.
-John Stuart Mill
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Happiness Formula?
The Happiness Formula is
H = S + C + V
The enduring level of happiness that you experience (H) is determined by your biological set point (S) plus the conditions of your life (C) plus the voluntary activities (V) you do.
50% of the happiness depends on the genes you have inherited (S) and is called the biological set point, 10% on the circumstances of your life (C) such as money, marriage, social life, health, education, climate, race, gender, and religion; and 40% on the voluntary activities (V) that you undertake.
What is the PERMA Theory of Well-being?
Happiness is a thing and well-being is a construct. For example, weather is made up of elements like temperature, humidity, windspeed, barometric pressure, and the like.
Martin Seligman, known as the father of Positive Psychology, developed the PERMA model, which identifies the five things necessary for wellbeing. PERMA stands for positive emotion (P), engagement (E), relationships (R), meaning (M) and achievement (A).
What is the AIM Model of Happiness?
Psychologists Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener propounded the AIM Model of Happiness.
Attention: Pay close attention to the good things that happens to you.
Interpretation: Try to interpret the experiences in positive light. Look for the positive whenever you can.
Memory: Peg the positive events to your memory. Paint positive mental pictures of your experiences.
FLOURISH: A New Understanding of HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING – and How to Achieve Them by Martin Seligman.
AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
THE HAPPINESS HYPOTHESIS: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt
THE HOW OF HAPPINESS: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky.
HAPPIER: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph. D.
“Through daily physicality and other lifestyle choices we have the power to make ourselves happier.”
If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert.
-Walter Beran Wolfe
Do you remember being totally engrossed in an activity – reading an absorbing book, trekking inside a beautiful forest, or playing with children – forgetful of yourself and the surroundings, when time stood still? This optimal experience is known as flow. Would you like to have more flow experiences in your life?
Happiness is a flowing river – a river that flows continuously – it is not a stagnant pool.
Happiness consists in activity – go for a long walk, exercise, do yoga, meditate, sing, dance, paint, play football, swim, travel, or learn a new skill.
Whatever you do, engage fully. Go deep into it – immerse yourself fully.
Just like a musician – who forgets himself, is oblivious of the surroundings and time, and ultimately becomes one with the musical instrument and the music.
Engage deeply – be it play, work, love, or parenting. And experience flow.
When you are in flow – deep into music, play, work, reading, or smiling with your child – oblivious of time and self, you are in heaven.
Flow is total absorption in an activity – you lose sense of time and self.
What more could you ask for when you are fully present, immersed in something worthwhile, and there is an exhilarating feeling of transcendence?
THE CONCEPT OF FLOW
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor at the Drucker School of Management in California. He has been involved in research on topics related to optimal experience or “flow”. During his studies, he tried to understand as exactly as possible how people felt when they most enjoyed themselves, and why.
His first studies involved a few hundred “experts” – artists, athletes, musicians, chess masters, and surgeons – in other words, people who seemed to spend their time in precisely those activities they preferred. From their accounts of what it felt like to do what they were doing.
Csikszentmihalyi developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow – the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
Flow is what we feel when we are fully alive, involved with what we do, and in harmony with the environment around us. It is something that happens most easily when we sing, dance, do sports – but it can happen when we work, read a good book, or have a good conversation.
Flow is the psychology of optimal experience. During flow, people experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.
Let us listen to some of the people who have experienced flow:
“You are so involved in what you are doing, you are not thinking about yourself as separate from the immediate activity. You are no longer a participant-observer, only a participant. You are moving in harmony with something else you are part of.”
“You feel like there’s nothing that will be able to stop you or get in your way. And you are ready to tackle anything, and you do not fear any possibility happening, and it’s just exhilarating.”
“You are not aware of the body except your hands – not aware of self or personal problems. If involved, you are not aware of aching feet, not aware of self.”
“Concentration is like breathing: You never think of it. The roof could fall in and, if it missed you, you would be unaware of it.”
“Two things happen – after it is passed, (time) seems to have passed really fast. I see that it is one o’clock in the morning and I say, ‘Ah-ha, just a few minutes ago it was eight o’clock.’ But then while I am dancing… it seems like it’s been much longer than it really was.”
“Do it for the satisfaction it gives. This is what I tell my students. Don’t expect to make money, don’t expect fame or a pat on the back, don’t expect a damn thing. Do it because you love it.”
HOW TO EXPERIENCE FLOW
The experience of flow makes our life richer, more complex, and intense.
To experience flow, find an activity that you find interesting, that you love to do, that gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. Do it with full concentration and absorption. Go deeper and deeper into it.
Engage fully to meet the challenges the task offers by upscaling your skills by continuous learning. Find ways and means to repeat the activity again and again.
Some activities are more conducive for flow experience and seem to have been designed for optimal experience, like singing, making music, rock climbing, games, sailing, and chess.
Yoga and the martial arts are activities that ingrain in us the control of body and its experience. They could be considered as the ultimate exercises leading to optimal experience and flow.
Csikszentmihalyi observes, “The similarities between Yoga and flow are extremely strong; in fact, it makes sense to think of Yoga as a very thoroughly planned flow activity. Both try to achieve a joyous, self-forgetful involvement through concentration, which in turn is made possible by a discipline of the body.”
You may have an optimal experience with deep involvement in intellectual and scientific pursuits, including reading, writing and poetry, and work. If one finds flow in work, one is well on the way toward improving the quality of life. People who learn to enjoy their work, who do not waste their free time, end up feeling that their lives have become much more worthwhile.
Abraham Maslow coined and defined the term “plateau experience” as a sort of continuing peak experience that is more voluntary and one that requires a lifetime of long and arduous effort.
According to him, “Such people who appear to be in harmony with their lives often have moments of an extraordinary occurrence called ‘peak experiences’. These are profound moments of intense rapture and well-being, along with possibly the awareness of ultimate truth and the unity of all things. Accompanying them is a heightened sense of control over the body and emotions and a wider sense of awareness.”
WHAT MAKES FLOW ACTIVITIES ENJOYABLE
Why is playing a game enjoyable, while the things we have to to do every day – like working, waiting for the bus, or sitting at home – are often so boring?
Activities like sports and games, surfing, dance, and theatre make optimal experience easier to achieve. They have rules that require the learning of skills, they set up goals, they provide feedback, they make control possible.
They provide concentration and involvement by making the activity as distinct as possible from the mundane chores of everyday existence.
“For example,” Csikszentmihalyi describes, “In each sport participants dress up in eye-catching uniforms and enter special enclaves that set them apart temporarily from ordinary mortals. For the duration of the event, players and spectators cease to act in terms of common sense and concentrate on peculiar reality of the game.”
Such flow activities provide intensely enjoyable experiences. Because of the way they are constructed, they help participants and spectators achieve an ordered state of mind that is highly enjoyable.
Games offer ample opportunities to go beyond the boundaries of ordinary experiences. For example, in competitive sports – athletics, rugby, tennis – the participants are required to stretch their skills to meet the challenge provided by the skills of the opponents.
Any activity that transforms the way we perceive reality is enjoyable. Vertigo is the name given to activities that alter consciousness by scrambling ordinary perception. Small children love to turn around in circles until they are dizzy, girls have fun doing the merry-go-round, the whirling dervishes of Turkey go into states of ecstasy, a young biker experiences thrill doing the wheelie, sky diving is great fun for some, and others find bungy jumping super exciting.
Games of chance – dice, cards, bingo – are enjoyable because they give the illusion of controlling the inscrutable future.
Dancers wearing the masks of their Gods feel a sense of powerful identification with the forces that rule the universe. Activities in which alternative realities are created – dance, theatre, performing arts – turn out to be deeply engrossing for the participants as well as the spectators.
Csikszentmihalyi found that every flow activity, whether it involved competition, chance, or any other dimension of experience, had this in common: It provided a sense of discovery, a creative feeling of transporting the person into a new reality.
It pushed the person to higher levels of performance and led to previously undreamed-of states of consciousness. In this growth of the self lies the key to flow activities.
PEARLS OF WISDOM
Happiness is not something that happens. It is not the result of good fortune or random chance. It is not something that money can buy or power command. It does not depend on outside events, but rather on how we interpret them. Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any one of us can come to being happy.
The best moments in our lives are not passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an autotelic experience?
An optimal experience is essentially an end in itself. Even if initially undertaken for other reasons, the activity that consumes us becomes intrinsically rewarding. Some surgeons speak of their work, “It is so enjoyable that I would do it even if I didn’t have to.”
“Autotelic” is made up from two Greek words, auto meaning self, and telos meaning goal. It refers to a self-contained activity that is done not with the expectation of some future benefit. But simply because doing itself is the reward. For example, teaching children to turn them into good citizens is not autotelic, but teaching them because one enjoys interacting with children is.
Csikszentmihalyi feels, “The autotelic experience, or flow, lifts the course of life to a different level. Alienation gives way to involvement, enjoyment replaces boredom, helplessness turns into a feeling of control, and psychic energy works to reinforce the sense of self, instead of being lost in the service of external goals.
“When the experience is intrinsically rewarding, life is justified in the present, instead of being held hostage to a hypothetical future gain.”
What is Vital Engagement?
Vital engagement is a relationship to the world that is characterized both by experiences of flow (enjoyed absorption) and by meaning (subjective significance). It is the end state of the deepening process of flow.
A writer is ‘swept away’ by a project, a scientist is ‘mesmerized by the stars’. The relationship has subjective meaning: work is a ‘calling’. There is a strong felt connection between self and object. We call this vital engagement.
FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
“Successful painters, dancers, poets, novelists, physicists, biologists, and psychologists seem to have crafted lives for themselves around a consuming passion. These are admirable lives, desirable lives, the sort that many young people dream of having when they look to these people as role models.”
A Brief Description of the Book:
LEARN PRACTICES TO FIND MEANING, PEACE AND WELL-BEING
You can change your life if you have the right understanding and adopt proven practices for creating happiness. This is a comprehensive guide on the art of living and the science of being, based on years of study and practical sessions. It includes a step-by-step guide to twelve sets of exercises and a treasure trove of timeless wisdom.
The book is a unique confluence of positive psychology, laughter yoga, yoga, meditation, and spirituality. It is the right place for beginners to take the first steps and for the advanced learners to add more skills to their repertoire. You will experience cheerful health, authentic happiness, and everlasting peace once you adopt these practices.
(This book is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.)
© Jagat Singh Bisht
A Pathway to Authentic Happiness, Well-Being & A Fulfilling Life! We teach skills to lead a healthy, happy and meaningful life.
Please feel free to call/WhatsApp us at +917389938255 or email [email protected] if you wish to attend our program or would like to arrange one at your end.
≈ Editor – Shri Hemant Bawankar/Editor (English) – Captain Pravin Raghuvanshi, NM ≈
Extremely useful tips for a healthy & happy living.
My heartiest thanks & best wishes for the noble work.
Thank you very much, Puri Sahab.
Be happy and stay blessed.