21 Jun Tolstoy on happiness
On the last page of one of the greatest novels of all time, Anna Karenin, Levin, one of the main characters in this wonderful and epic drama, finally discovers what I think is one of the best definitions of happiness in all of literature.
Tolstoy frequently, throughout the story, refers to different notions of happiness but it seems, through one of his human and likable characters he finally settles on the following…
“…it is a secret for me alone, of vital importance for me, and not to be put into words. This new feeling has not changed me, has not made me happy and enlightened all of a sudden, as I dreamed it would…I shall still lose my temper with Ivan the coachman, I shall still embark on useless discussions and express my opinions inopportunely; there will still be the same wall between the sanctuary of my inmost soul and other people, even my wife; I shall probably go on scolding her in my anxiety and repenting of it afterwards; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying – but my life now, my whole life, independently of anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no longer meaningless as it was before, but has a positive meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.”
If that’s not happiness; if that’s not a great description of positive psychology in action, then I’m not sure what is!
This posting is from me to your happiness, in all its pain and all it’s glory; in all its suffering and in all its celebration.