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"What can I tell you about happiness that you don’t already know at the very core of your being?  You may have ‘forgotten’ perhaps, as I have.  But let’s remember, together.  Let's return to the original Self we long for - that Self that is forever at peace, forever joyous, limitless, powerful, abundant and free!  And as we do, let's become Conscious Creators, Bold Adventurers, creatively exploring infinite possibilities as we flow in this enchanting journey we casually call Life!"

Billy Connolly on happiness and contentment

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In a television documentary about music and spirituality around the world, the comedian of many talents, Billy Connolly, was asked about happiness. In his response, he briefly referred to a painful childhood which included sexual abuse by his father and abandonment by his mother.

From a boilermaker in Glasgow to world celebrity, Billy Connolly has had his share of ecstasy and agony. And despite (or understandably because of) his success at making people laugh, his sanguine comments about happiness are worth a thought. Rather than ‘happiness’, Billy said, he found it easier and more meaningful to think in terms of ‘contentment‘.

For Billy, and perhaps for many of us, happiness is a somewhat momentary or fleeting high-energy experience. Contentment, on the other hand, suggests something a bit more enduring and less volatile.   For me, happiness spans a bandwidth of experiences which include feelings of contentment, fun, delight, raucous laughter and quiet presence.

I wonder what you think about this distinction? Here are some questions to prompt some reflection:

  • Would you describe yourself as ‘happy’ or ‘contented’?  Or do you feel you are neither and have never been either?
  • Could you be happy without being content?  Could you be content without being happy?
  • Could you be happy without smiling?
  • Does experiencing disappointment or failure make you less happy?
  • Do you believe that your happiness is the result of things that you do or acquire?

Just some questions that I have found useful to ask myself and others.  Enjoy!


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2 comments to Billy Connolly on happiness and contentment

  • * Would you describe yourself as ‘happy’ or ‘contented’? Or do you feel you are neither and have never been either?

    Somehow I value contentment much more than happiness.
    Contentment seems to equip with the greater resilience and fortitude – to greet life’s eventualities with appropriate reactions and measured choices.

    * Could you be happy without being content? Could you be content without being happy?

    Quite possibly both – but we shall never know anyone else’s experience of either – nor can we explore the unknown potential, outside of our present expectations – without a sincere and almost reverential curiosity.

    * Could you be happy without smiling?

    Definitely not – the cheek muscles of the Laughing Buddha are not like that through cosmetic surgery.
    I think we have “smiley muscles” in the heart as well.

    * Does experiencing disappointment or failure make you less happy?

    When happiness is connected to expectations – yes – if it is associated with acceptance – less so – if at all.
    If it is associated with alchohol – you’ll find your sorrows spluttering on the riverbank in the morning.

    * Do you believe that your happiness is the result of things that you do or acquire?

    Hmmm! Putting conditions on happiness is rather unambitious.

    XXX

  • Tim! What a pleasure, as always, to see you here and read your well-considered and beautifully crafted comments. Thank you for providing our readers with further points for reflection. I especially find your last statement profoundly useful:

    “Putting conditions on happiness is rather unambitious”.

    Not often is so much said in so little :-)

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