Complete Happiness . . .
… is how Merriam-Webster defines BLISS.
Messages bombard us daily saying that we deserve to be happy, that we’ve earned a right to know bliss 24/7, and, if we ain’t feelin’ it, something’s wrong, or so we’re told. Even the language of bliss or happiness overflows with words such as awesome, great, wonderful, mind-blowing!
Slogans convince us to buy things that will make us happy. Happiness comes in face creams, perfumes, foods, pills, spritzers, beverages, music, sex, cars… an endless list of blissful possibilities.
Bliss-point is a major factor in many, if not most products, and is common in the food industry. Bliss-point is specifically designed “to capture that perfect amount of sweetness that would send us over the moon, with [the company’s] products flying off the shelf.”* A bag of chips has a bliss-point calculated so that you “empty it without thinking”.** In sum, we eat to feel bliss. We buy to feel bliss. We seek bliss-holidays and parties. We want to be completely happy. For info on bliss-point, check out the links at the end of this blog— eye-opening!
Stats Don’t Match
YET, today’s stats state that we are depressed, suicidal—definitely not completely happy. We ain’t feelin’ bliss! Recent headlines tell an unhappy story:
- 11% of Canadians aged 15-24 met criteria for depression
- Across the country, suicide among teen girls and young women is on the rise
- Suicide Rates On The Rise Among Quebec Farmers As Pressures Mount
- YOUTH SUICIDE RATES RISING AMONG CANADIAN GIRLS
- The number of girls committing suicide in Canada has risen in the past 30 years
- More than one in four Canadians are at “high risk” of mental health issues
Our bliss is missing! Complete happiness is obviously ebbing more than it’s flowing. Bliss-point in products is clearly not enough to supply us with the happiness we think we deserve.
Are we missing the how-to manual for knowing bliss? Do we miss the happiness that comes our way because we look so long at the door that closed on happiness that we do not see the one that has been newly opened for us? (Helen Keller)
Sages write that happiness or bliss is but a wave that slips away and returns again, all in its own time. Life is a flow of living and dying, of searching and finding. Accordingly, happiness is not a constant.
Some say happiness is found within. Others say it is a direct result of our actions. To quote Mahatma Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony.” Scientist, teacher, and author, Ashley Montagu, says that “the moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
Wisdom literature which generally frowns on narcissism, applauds the giving to others as the way to know happiness. An ancient Chinese proverb suggests:
If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.Chinese Proverb
The third chapter in the wisdom book, Ecclesiastes, is often referenced when it comes to our quest to understand the rhythm of life and its impact on our happiness. It says that we are to enJOY our work which is our lot in life. We should enJOY our daily efforts because we’re only ever guessing about what the future may hold. The ancient text goes on to say that there will be a time of weeping and a time of laughter.
It Just Is
By accepting life’s natural course of gain and loss, happiness and sadness, that life is a stream of opposites, and that the winds of change blow strong, we can relax, take things in stride, and thereby conceivably find true happiness in daily existence. This acceptance of life’s modus operandi, we’re told, opens the door to compassion and forgiveness, to understanding and serenity—and perhaps also to bliss.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
There is no good in them, but for one to rejoice, and to do good in life.
Also that everyone should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all labour, it is the gift of God.
There is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?
Bliss-Point info —
*How The Food Industry Helps Engineer Our Cravings: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/16/459981099/how-the-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings
**What if we told you that a bag of chips is designed for exactly that purpose – for you to empty it without thinking?https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/processed-foods-bliss-points.htm
The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html
- Outsmart the food companies to become a healthier, savvier eater:http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/21/health/bliss-point-food/index.htm