Interesting that Bhutan and others are interested in measuring, promulgating and maintaining Happiness for its citizens. I have no doubt that Bhutan will get it right but it worries me that the western countries, trying to achieve the same goal, may try to give their citizens what they want only for their plans to fall not being able to match most peoples definitions of happiness that have, for most, to include their 21st century aspirations !
I believe that Happiness is maintained as and at a level of consciousness. Together with Health and Well-being it is our natural state of being. This level of consciousness, I believe is decided moreso by our attitude to life than from our Divine Right gone awry.
The problem being that we too often deny ourselves what is rightfully ours by our attitude to wanting more and more and trying to outdo our colleagues, peers and neighbours. It is our aspirations and lust for more that are awry.
So what is the answer to obtaining happiness ?
For me it is the daily routine of gratitude. Accepting what I have and being grateful for every last item, from the smallest thing and the greatest bounty that the Lord bestows upon me. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Perhaps we should change from 21st to 1st century hopes and desires.
Sai Baba has a different take on attitude and happiness:
Individual reconstruction is the most important need today. Multiply virtues, not buildings. Practise what you preach, that is the real pilgrimage. Cleanse your minds of envy and malice; this is the real bath in holy waters.
Of what avail is the Name of the Lord on the tongue, if the heart within is impure? Injustice and discontent are spreading everywhere, due to this one single fault in humans – saying one thing and doing the opposite.
You must set yourself right and correct your food, recreation and method of spending your leisure and your thoughts and habits. Remove the vices of lust and hatred, and put out the raging flames of anger and greed.
Then, the innate tranquillity and happiness (shantham and soukhyam) within you, will manifest unhindered.
You are the embodiment of peace; happiness is your very nature.
Divine Discourse, Mar 24, 1965.