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by Errol and Marjorie Gibbs, authors of Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index
We often think of life as a path or a journey, and largely it is, but in a broader sense, we travel along multiple paths to multiple destinations in the material world. We have discovered that at some point along life’s journey, the ultimate path and destination become real, and everything else becomes an illusion. The challenge is to recognize the path that leads to the greatest fulfillment of life and happiness.
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After traveling separately and together for several decades (metaphorically speaking) along multiple paths, we have discovered five illuminating pathways that we share with you. We delineate these five key pathways as Spiritual Happiness, Moral Happiness, Social Happiness, Intellectual Happiness, and Physical Happiness.
Each of the five pathways underpins the human journey. They confer on us all of the spiritual and material gifts that we desire to experience a life of fulfillment. The benefits become real when we subscribe to a belief in the existence of a higher Spiritual Intelligence.
Spiritual Happiness – or joy – transcends all other forms of happiness. This path is a noble way that brings both happiness and joy to others and ourselves because it is the realization of the whole purpose of human existence.
Spirituality sustains us when everything else fails. Spiritual Happiness is the Optimum state of happiness. It rises above all other imperatives of happiness.
Spirituality compels us to choose light instead of darkness, love instead of hate, tolerance instead of intolerance, faith instead of fear, hope instead of despair, peace instead of war, and happiness instead of unhappiness. We can maintain both spiritual and material happiness when we consciously and consistently seek to purify ourselves of the tendencies to act on selfish impulses. We must guard against inaction that can amount to shirking responsibility to bring happiness to the lives of others.
Moral Happiness – This is the pathway taken to understand, embrace, and practice moral laws. The principal foci of the moral foundation are the transcendental and transformational benefits to moral leadership in the world. Moral happiness comes from knowing that our behavior and character are in conformity to higher moral authority.
It informs our understanding of our spiritual and natural relationships with God and neighbor. These two mutually inclusive relationships help us to maintain a perfect spiritual and natural balance between “moral” and “civic” duty, which often conflict in other areas of our lives.
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, and morality. It essentially states, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” When we make a conscious effort to prioritize morality in our decision making, and set concrete goals to live our lives in an ethically upright manner, and provide an example of such to others, we’re ever growing closer to moral happiness.
Social Happiness – This is the pathway taken to build close social relationships with fellow beings. Relationship bonds define all human interactions in a myriad of ways. Social Happiness is not merely with family and friends, or with our immediate neighbors, but with those in the diverse international community, religiously, morally, socially, culturally, scientifically, and environmentally.
Intellectually and intuitively, we understand that there are many distinct types of relationships, each with a unique bond and directive. The nature of these interdependent relationships makes us happy or unhappy. Strong relationship bonds enable us to build and weather the challenges that we may face in the myriad of relationships that we experience daily. The quality of these social connections is a function of our social well-being and happiness, and how we strive to mitigate and manage each situation relative to each bond.
By making time for family and friends as part of our overall wellness practice, we are feeding our own social happiness. Making sure we are tending our relationships with our parents, siblings, romantic partners, friends, coworkers and neighbors increases our social happiness. Like a garden, water each relationship in turn.
Intellectual Happiness is the pathway that informs the human intellect. It is being in an environment that stimulates and inspires people to reach greater heights, much beyond our rational reasoning. Many may view happiness generically, but intellectual happiness comes from the capacity to make critical life-saving and life-enhancing decisions.
Our human intelligence guides our decision-making concerning the nature and purpose of every human action and endeavor, especially happiness. It enables us to understand things beyond our natural comprehension.
The imperative to keep learning about our world, our vocation, history, art – these things don’t end when we receive a degree, nor are they exclusive to the traditional education establishment. Take a class, attend a lecture, read books on topics that will expand your knowledge, visit museums and historic sites in your region and beyond. All of these activities will expand your intellectual happiness – and combining them with tending our social relationships makes it all the more enjoyable.
Physical Happiness – This is the pathway that exists in the physical realm, which comes from a sense of physical well-being, but understanding all of the complexities of our physical well-being is critical to living healthy and happy lives. For instance, we cannot experience physical health and happiness to the exclusion of spiritual and mental health and a clean environment.
From the medical scientist to the layperson, all will agree that the human body is complex but marvelously made. We are also, as living beings, an integral biological component of the living and breathing universe. Even the living trees exchange matter with people.Physical happiness is achievable when we have good physical health, which is a function of diet and nutrition, sleep, exercise, and general wholesome (stress-free) living. The correlation between the environment and human health and happiness is debated and documented in scientific literature, and it is a major concern to governments around the globe.
About the authors:
Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, self-inspired researchers, and writers. Religious, scientific, educational, philosophical, and humanitarian pursuits highlight their work. Multigenerational family life, nurturing child development, community, business, and corporate experience underpin their quest to inspire happiness in others through their seminal work on the Optimum Happiness Index (OHI). Global travel afforded the writers a panoramic view of the human landscape to observe how people in various parts of the world experience happiness and unhappiness, co-existing in a cultural mix of wealth and poverty.
Marjorie G. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), a Business Accounting and Assistant Diploma (BAA), and certificates in Conflict Management and Environment Technology. Marjorie practices in the field of Accounting Management, where she meets and interacts with people from diverse nations and lifestyles. These meetings help to enrich her happiness journey even when she is not reading or traveling.
Errol A. Gibbs has a polytechnic engineering background, primarily in the energy industry. Errol relinquished his career in Project Management and Business Consulting to pursue a higher understanding of human development from religious, humanitarian, and philosophical perspectives and to write and speak on issues that impede human growth and peaceful coexistence. Errol has presented at conferences hosted by diverse organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP).
Connect with Errol and Marjorie Gibbs at www.gibbshappinessindex.com.