The Pursuit of Happiness

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence

It is in the constitution, we all know. The American forefathers in their wisdom did not allow us the “Right to Happiness”, but the right to pursue it. How each one of us defines it or attempts to achieve it is a personal journey shaped individually by experience, culture and character. Yet, our humanity binds us in shared responses to experiences. Cultures and societies around the globe have reached similar wisdoms as to the paths to joy.

A wholehearted life can be nourished and enriched by internal and external forces. Life would be bereft without friendship and love, nature, pets, music and art. But first, what about us? What is our belief system and how does it shape experience and our response to it?

Here are some pearls of wisdom from around the world that I enjoy.

In our own hands: Internal wells of Joy

  1. “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstances but by our disposition.” Martha Washington
  2. “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. The Dalai Lama
  3. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony” Mahatma Gandhi
  4. “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” Arthur Rubinstein, Polish-American classical pianist

A little Help from My Friends: External wells of joy

  1. “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you” Frank Loyd Wright
  2. “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.” Anne Frank
  3. “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
    R. Buckminster Fuller
  4. “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” Abraham Lincoln
  5. “Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.”
     Baltasar Gracian (1647)
  6. “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains un-awakened.” 
    Anatole France
  7. “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats” Albert Schwitzer