What Constitutes the Good Life? – Looking a bit deeper

Dear Integral Meditators,

In order to experience the ‘good life’ I really believe that we need to go beyond our superficial ideas of positive and negative, pleasure and pain. In the article below I explain why.

Final reminder if you are in Singapore of the Mindful Resilience Workshop on this Sunday, 21st September in the morning. Anyone attending the live workshop will also gain access to the Mindful Resistance online course launching next week, which is a really good deal I think.

Beneath the article is details of I-awakes monthly offer, in this case on their Neurocharger 3.0 track. Its good stuff!

Yours in the spirit of the good life,


What Constitutes the Good Life? – Looking a bit deeper

What constitutes the good life? You might think that the good life might be described by the prevalence of the following types of emotions and experiences; happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable*.
The not-so-good-life would then be constituted of a corresponding list of opposite qualities like unhappy, discontented, in pain, depressed.

BUT. It is possible to be superficially happy, lazily contented, addicted to sensation and short term kicks (bliss) and enjoyment as distraction from what is truly important.

Similarly it can be unhappy in a way that leads to positive change, discontent because it is appropriate to be so, learn valuable lessons and victories from pain and reach a deeper level of self-knowledge when we confront depression and emptiness.

What would then happen if we replaced our list of qualities that constitute the good life to the following; enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, and meaningful?*

We can be enriched by our feelings of both happiness and unhappiness.
We can be excited by the prospect of resting in contentment and also shaking our world up with our discontent.
We can be rewarded by our resilience to pain as well as our periodic touching of deep bliss.
We can be challenged by loneliness and depression and derive new levels of enjoyment from that which we find meaningful.

If we are willing to consistently push ourselves beyond the superficial boundaries of ‘chasing positive and avoiding negative’ as well as ‘looking for short term pleasure and avoiding pain’ we may find that undreamed of capacities for the good life start to emerge from each day of our existence.

So then, what are the leading edges of your enrichment, excitement, reward, challenge, and meaning in life today? It doesn’t have to be ‘positive’.

*Two lists taken from “ The Carl Rogers Reader”, Haughton edition,  page 419, section entitled ‘The Greater Richness of Life”

© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com 

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