"Happiness, is not a feeling or an experience, it is an ethical state of being. It means judging that you have made the right choices and done the right things, and enjoyed a measure of luck along the way.
Where and when you are born, how the play of daily contingency affects you, do not determine your happiness, but they do constrain it. And so it often seems as though the choices of everyday life, cosmically small though they are, matter far more than events in distant capitals and war zones.
But here is the key point. You must live your entire life with honour and commitment. You must try to build something larger than yourself: a community of citizens, a community of reason, a just and peaceful world. You may be defeated, because violence, arrogance and unreason are powerful forces in history. But that does not diminish your responsibility." -Aristotle
This is one definition of happiness; perhaps there is another?
Today I am feeling happy (sorry, Aristotle!): happy as I row across the lake in the early morning sun; happy as the hawks fly overhead in large circles; happy as I chop up the avocados for guacamole for lunch.
It's that time of year here in SE Asia when the weather is perfect: the monsoon rains haven't yet arrived, and the dry season hasn't become unbearably hot (yet!).
Last night as we sat in Chinatown out on the rooftop at the Golden Duck Restaurant, I looked up at the sky and yes, even in this capital city, I was able to see a few stars. And my friends were with me. And the night was cool enough to be wearing a light wrap. And I was happy.
Later, too tired for karaoke, I drove home, pulled into the driveway of my house, and walked through the dark garden. Orchids glowed bright against the dark bushes.
And all is well with the world. And that's a good feeling.
This sort of happiness- the kind that comes from being in the moment, and loving where you are- probably has little to do with Aristotle's type of happiness.
Though I can appreciate his sort of "ethical happiness", I simply love those few times during the week where I just have to smile at how big and beautiful this world is. What lovely creatures walk this earth, and how honored I am to have been able to meet and learn to know a few of them.