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Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Search for Inner Meaning

Many people approaching their mid-life and beyond begin to search for the inner meaning to their lives.  This search for inner meaning can be a time of confusion and doubt and it can also be an enriching time of personal growth and greater satisfaction with life.  Much depends on how you approach this time, your attitude, and what's going on for you at the time.  When clients come to see me about this development in their lives, I usually encourage them to see it as "a process rather than an event," a concept borrowed from the 12 Step programs, as their process unfolds. 


A Search for Inner Meaning
What is Happiness?
During this personal search for inner meaning, a question that often comes up is:  What is happiness?  Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.  But people often find that what they thought would make them happy:  more money, a bigger house, a more expensive car, and other expensive acquisitions, brings them a surge of gratification that is short lived.  Once that surge is gone, another surge requires another, possibly bigger and better purchase, to create the next experience of excitement. And on and on it goes, requiring more and greater quick fixes to excitement.

What is Happiness?
But is this really happiness?

Book:  The Secrets of Happiness - Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life
I've been very curious about the history and different cultural views about happiness and inner meaning.

While I was reading The Geography of Bliss - One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner, I came across a reference to the book, The Secrets of Happiness - Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life by Professor Richard Schoch.

Professor Schoch is a professor of History at the University of London, and director of their Graduate School in Humanities and Social Sciences.

In his book, he explores three thousand years of history about people from various times, from the ancient Greeks to modern times, and how happiness and the good life were defined during those periods.

This includes philosophical and spiritual beliefs of the Utilitarians, the Epicureans, Hinduism, Buddhism, the Stoics, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, an how their beliefs relates to their definitions of happiness.

A Search for Inner Meaning
I've been enjoying reaching Professor Schoch's thought-provoking book, which is written in an accessible way (available as an e-book).

I was surprised to discover how, people's perception of happiness have changed dramatically over time.  I won't write any spoilers here, but I recommend that, if this is a topic that interests you, you read Professor Schoch's book.

I think you'll be in for a treat and might even question how you define happiness and inner meaning for yourself.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.  

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.



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