Greek eudaimonia, from eudaimon having a good indwelling spirit. *
Socrates believed that human beings desire the state of Eudaimonia more than anything else. However, his understanding of Eudaimonia was developing a sense of personal growth, such as courage, self-control, and wisdom allowing an individuals’ psychological well-being to flourish. *
My definition of eudemonia: Not a life without struggle, but a life with all the essentials, which also allows for the finer parts of life, balance, purpose, impact, love, in a sense the opposite of holistic poverty. Not over abundance, not under abundance, life in balance.
It started with a promise from me to me. My maternal grandfather though outwardly successful, was quite miserable on a daily basis, it taught me at a young age money, academics, career success and just having a family wouldn’t create a happy life. I also wasn’t happy growing up in a family that didn’t share my values and celebrate my individuality as much as they held their own dreams of what they wanted that I could become, so I made “that promise.” The promise to do better when I became an adult.
As an adult, there is so much going on, when I started working I wasn’t done with school, so life felt like it doubled in complexity, with bills/taxes/health care adults have to deal with that kids don’t have to deal with directly if feels like the complexity of life tripled and it has never begun to feel natural to me even though I’ve been an adult for almost 20 years already.
I’ve been drawn to the Indian chakra system not as a literal guide to follow, because I feel like it isn’t totally applicable or helpful in a literal rigid sense. But as a way to break up life into chunks to even begin to think about it, in that way I do like it a lot.
Two years ago I made this chart to describe a balance of all the areas of life in the way they interact with one another. For example love, love can be romantic bliss, but also toxic codependence, but also natural duty to children, but also true love with children and friends, or self love and acceptance, it can be so many things and flow so many ways, it can be a $10 birthday card, a sandwich, a hug or not yelling about spilt milk just as much as it could be inheritance, a huge wedding, an anniversary dinner, sexuality or a couples vacation. I really think the small acts of love outweigh the grand formal ones, but maybe that’s just in my life… I read a good book “Happy Money” that says money is love too, or can be, if you give it with that intent and let it flow without fear and resentment.
So love is the first axis of life (the colorful one), we clean up after our loved ones, we protect them, we pay for them/or them us, that is all duty, doesn’t seem to be spoken of much, but a lot of the day is consumed by the duties we do out of love. At the other end is the love we think of as love, which takes us away from our family and to a special place in our soul. In the middle is a place where there is some joy in living from following your heart, but also some stability to be able to survive in reality and the well being from having both those aspects allows you to find where your unique talents and the needs of the world intersect and then you can serve others in an engaging way not just in a grueling way or ignoring the rest of the world because you don’t need them…
So I’ll define the chakras in my understanding, which is quite far from conventional, the first three are survival mode = 1. A. Fighting to Exist. 2. B. Coping with Stress 3. C. Fitting into Society. D. Discovering Inner Peace/Love. If you fail to do A you no longer exist independently or interdependently and you die or become very dependent or codependent on others and that corrupts a lot of other parts of your soul, like it makes you incapable of loving yourself sometimes, instead you want the approval of others because that is linked to your feeling of safety, because it’s through others you can survive. If you fail to do B you can look very much alright on the outside for a long while, but you are not alright, you partially or completely loose the feeling of being alright, it damages your mental clarity of who you are, who you can be, how to set goals, how to make changes, it steals your sense that anything matters anyways. If you fail to do C you may be in prison or if not in prison possibly isolated creatively or financially or in some sense cut off of resources that are usually normal, but also cut off from finding people who would be enjoyable company, who would inspire and uplift you. If you fail to do D you will have lived your life without exiting survival mode, living without living, life without joy, an image of food with no flavor, a note with no song.
I’ve struggled with all these parts of life in the past, but I’m lucky that I found a lot of ideas that helped me escape the mental cages I was making for myself. A lot of the happiness I had or didn’t have was rooted in beliefs about the world, which weren’t true, sometimes difficult, negative things are true and have to be grieved, but often we make more suffering than there already was in our lives by the way we choose to replay bad times more than neccisary, or the way we don’t revisit the good times enough. It’s actually natural for people to remember bad things x9 more than good things, so just to be balanced we would have to focus on positive things x9 more than natural, not to be a cheerful, goofy, idiot, but just to be balanced, that’s how dark we are by nature on average.
I know I’m that dark.
So the second axis of life is mind or mindsight (the dark and light one), we range from sanity (being able to recognize truth around us in our environment, such as the stove is hot and will burn me) to imagination (being able to dream of what isn’t there yet, but could be). I’m a pretty creative person, but I notice there is a limit to ideas people can have, where beyond a certain number, no matter how good the ideas are, they aren’t getting done. Because we all have limits, limits in money, time, energy, are real, and to accept our limits, to know them is to accept and know ourselves and begin to love ourselves the way we really are. Down that road you can have a happy love life even as a party of one because the most constantly available love is self-love (even more available than religious love logistically, because there is a time before you understand that idea when self-love was always possible).
Without imagination, we would live in the world the same way each day, or as close as we could. We wouldn’t be able to be a better person over time before we improve it takes some sanity to see our flaws honestly and heal from that pain, but it also takes some imagination to dream of something that isn’t yet in existence, then make it so.
So the chakras of mindsight are E. Knowing Truth and F. Embracing Change. It’s tempting to ignore truth as a coping mechanism, a lot of positive belief cults are popular right now, but if imagining a goal brought it about goal books would have a lot more pages… because it’s a lot more like the seven-step engineering process. *
1. Define. 2. Research. 3. Imagine. 4. Plan. 5. Prototype. 6. Test. 7. Improve the prototype based on noticing what worked and what didn’t. Life is a lot more like that seven-step process than a two-step imagine what you want and emotionally wish for it to happen hoax, but that positive creative state, has a place within a more complicated reality, it’s just that it isn’t the whole story. Chakra G is where the needs of the world and your talents intersect you change the world for the better, you do your life purpose or at least flow activities and growth.
What is love? For me separating love into “connection” and “care” helps. Connection means knowing someone else’s hopes and dreams, fears, and preferences, keeping a current understanding of another human being instead of just substituting outdated information to save time… care is doing all the little things that keep people alive, brushing hair, feeding, bathing ext. Of course care has a double meaning that something feels relevant, but it would be impossible for a parent to care about each idea/drawing/preference/fancy a child has, though they can care about many, you simply can’t keep up with every single event in each child’s mental life because you have your own thoughts/ideas/responsibilities and possibly other children, so creating an environment where you always care, is kind of a hoax I think and an environment where you care sometimes or a lot is probably more attainable. I believe it isn’t an either-or, but a gradient, meaning too much in, either way, is worse than a mix.
What is encouragement? Often family says what you want isn’t possible, because it isn’t possible for them, or they may want you to fail and stay with them forever, or they may want you not to get hurt trying. But I find when I surround myself with people who don’t tell me A. Don’t try because you will/may fail. B. That’s a good idea or that’s cool. It drives me to be able to tolerate the pain of failure in a happier way and get more ideas about how to succeed. I hope you have encouragement within your family, but if you don’t seek it or at least accept it elsewhere, because it helps more than you would think.
In Summary Chakras 1-3: Survival Mode
1. Fighting to Exist. 2. Coping with Stress 3. Fitting into Society.
Ex. During a tornado I’m seeking shelter, after the tornado I’m reading a book at the red cross camp, after the camp I’m finding an affordable place to live…
Chakras 4-6: Self Work Chakra 7: Being a Healthy Part of Humanity as a Non-Toxic Whole
4. Discovering Inner Peace/Love. E. Knowing Truth and F. Embracing Change. G. Leading a Good Life – Giving Back
Ex. I’m in my apartment mentally decompressing to find inner peace, I’m realizing the truth that my house/pretend family are gone, weeks and months go by and I learn to live in a new way, eventually I start teaching community classes again.
As a final note I would say I believe eudemonia is the same as Lōkahi the Hawaiian value and that traditional Hawaiian ethics are very close to stoic ethics.
📚 Random Old Post Rewrite: This post was just redone and is a lot different than it was two years ago, but I decided not to keep both, but rather to keep updating old posts into new posts of the same topic, I feel like anything “worth saving” was saved, but I also like the idea of a living written think tank, better than a log of whatever I’ve written. As a blogger I am mostly a writer, but I like to play with the limits of what is the difference between a blog and a written journal, one of course is readers, another is getting good ideas from commenting readers, another is being able to have photos/videos making me learn more about photography/videography over time, another is the chance to really “update” ideas (which I can use a random number generator to randomly select by number).