To me, summer in Vermont is like a calm peaceful ocean on a cloudless sunny day. Perfectly nice day for most people, but a disappointing and somewhat sad day for the surfers who are waiting for waves. There is nothing you can do if there are no waves to ride.
There is this belief that calm contentment brings happiness. That theme is repeated by many different religions. The core of this idea seems to be that Self already has everything it needs to be happy in the present moment. Uneasiness, or discontentment comes from the self consciousness or ego being detached from Self and start thinking about the past or future (for example, should have been, could have been thoughts). This creates swirls of self-conversation that disturbs the naturally calm and quiet state of mind. If we could get back to our original Self for a few minutes, we will be in touch with our inner happiness again, so they say.
|I, on the other hand, believe that some level of excitement always accompanies my happiness. Whether I’m having the best riding day at Stratton or watching our 2 year old grandson reading a book for the first time, the excitement seems to underscore the feeling of happiness. I even think that the elevated heart rate and happiness necessarily go together. I don’t have to get my heart rate going to induce the state of happiness but happiness in a sedated state does not appeal to me. The notion of calm contentment bringing happiness seems contradictory.|
|As it turned out, there are two distinct types of happiness – one associated with peacefulness and one associated with being excited.|
Professor Cassie Mogliner of the University of Pennsylvania, who carried out the research on how the meaning of happiness changes over the course of one’s lifetime, found that, for young people, 60 percent of happiness is about excitement. In contrast, older people associate 80 percent of happiness with contentment. The difference appears to come from the varying degrees of emphasis placed upon the future compared to the present.
This opens up a theoretical possibility that if you consciously put a larger emphasis on the future, create the reasons to get excited about it, you then feel younger and the excitement brings happiness. So, how do you create a reason to get excited about the future? If you have a fairly predictable future, embedded in the routines, within a known environment, it would be difficult to expect anything new happening. So, begin a new journey, open yourself to new experiences and a bit of adventure, you will then have something to look forward to and be excited about what tomorrow will bring. Isn’t that why you travel?
Another way to create a reason to get excited about the future is to embark on new learning. Not just learning in the sense of reading and gaining conceptual understanding of things, but ideally it involves both mental and physical learning. The physical aspect of learning will slow down the process of getting bored and carry you through the repetition, only after which comes the next level of mastery. Learning is fun as long as you are getting better. Aspiration and anticipation of improvement in the manageable time frame will bring your attention to the future and you will be excited about the progress of learning.
Now which type of happiness do you pursue? Calm contentment or being excited about the future yet to unfold? You know which one I’m after.
Come to Ormsby Hill and create the reason to get excited about the future…
In pursuit of the best future…
|The Inn at Ormsby Hill
1842 Main Street
Manchester Center, VT 05255