Life

Finding Happiness: From Flow to Food – Surprising Insights from Psychology and a Personal Story

Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi undertook an academic inquiry titled “Exploring the Essence of Happiness” through rigorous research and experimentation. He equipped numerous individuals with pagers and forms, directing them to document their daily experiences and moods prompted by random pager alerts. Upon meticulous analysis of this extensive dataset, Mihaly authored the seminal work “Flow,” employing scientific methodologies to elucidate the enigma of happiness.

In his literary work “Three Revelations on Happiness,” Indian author Sadhguru recounts a captivating anecdote. Inquisitive about the ultimate source of joy, a monarch once interrogated his courtiers. While the ministers extolled the virtue of serving their king, Bibal provided a novel perspective: the bliss derived from attending to nature’s call. Incensed by Bibal’s response, the king demanded immediate validation, under threat of dire consequence. Bibal, requesting a fortnight’s respite, assured the monarch of substantiation. During a royal hunt, when the king was besieged by gastric distress, Bibal orchestrated the provision of a makeshift lavatory. Confronted with this revelation, the king acknowledged the profound contentment in attending to bodily needs. Through this parable, Sadhguru imparts the wisdom of embracing intrinsic simplicity, asserting that true felicity lies in transcending mundane constraints and nurturing self-awareness.

Renowned Harvard psychologist Taylor Ben-Shahar, with aspirations of clinching the Israeli squash championship, epitomizes dedication and sacrifice. Despite his penchant for burgers, Taylor resolved to regulate his diet to realize his sporting ambition. Upon achieving his coveted title at the age of sixteen, he indulged in the promised reward of four burgers, only to confront an unexpected void within. Gazing upon his hard-won trophy, Taylor’s tears flowed, emblematic of a realization that victory alone did not yield the anticipated joy.

As I conclude these reflections, a culinary inspiration dawns upon me: an excursion to the local market to procure prime beef, destined to be transformed into succulent steaks for my offspring’s delight. Recalling a previous culinary endeavor, I vividly recall the uncertainty accompanying the presentation of two variants of steak—raw and meticulously marinated. Soliciting feedback from my discerning children, I awaited their verdict with bated breath. Their discernment, favoring the tender embrace of maternal marinade over commercial preparation, imparted a profound insight into the essence of happiness—the warmth of a mother’s touch, transcending gastronomic delights.

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