Close your eyes…Wait! Read this paragraph first. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Try to imagine a moment when you were the most happy in your life. Relax and let your mind revisit those happy memories. Note your reactions. We you excited? Overwhelmed? Crying? Had lump in your throat? Laughing? Jumping around? Smiling? Grinning? Shrieking? Hugging? Now open your eyes and reflect if that’s how you would have imagined yourself happy?
In Pursuit of Happyness (2001), protagonist’s reaction to his long cherished desire and hard work coming true stood out to me in climax of the movie. Unlike what we might expect sitting and thinking about happiness, moment of true happiness didn’t include joy or jubilation, there was no laughter or smile, not even tears. I can relate to this from my own experience. In fact, moment of greatest happiness is a moment where no one can even notice you are happy. What there is is simple instantaneous calm and relief. It appears that laughter and tears are signs of smaller degree of happiness and the greatest happiness ever makes one so overwhelmed that nothing happens.
In my moment of greatest known happiness, I felt so happy that I couldn’t even swallow food or utter a word, literally. It’s been only one occasion in life so far. Of course, reaction to happiness depends on what is making you happy. If act is desired and worked hard for, then happiness brings peace of mind with it. If act is winning of lottery, for example, which is not strived for, reactions might be more expected shriek and jump.
After moment of relief subsides, there come tears, which may turn into sobbing. In the end, comes the smile. And that’s how happiness works.