The Spiritual version of happiness
I'm a great believer in human misery...
It shows (laughter).
Well, that's not the whole of what Lord Buddha taught. Time and time again, he pointed to suffering, and pointed to a way out. Sitting in a prison saying "Well, its dark, miserable, lots of rats, no food, but hey that's the way it goes" is to me living a coward's life. There is a way out of this prison.
Are you then saying that all worldly forms of happiness are to be shunned like the plague? that seems a very joyless sort of life!
Not at all. it is just appreciating worldly happiness from a deeper inner level. in this, the Gunas come into play. There are many sattvic forms of happiness that keep life joyful - happiness that is full of light, such as good and wise companionship, giving to others, doing tasks meticulously and skillfully, playing music, loving someone with respect and honour. Lovely ways where goodness, kindness and tolerance come into play. And there are many wonderful, unlikely combinations that produce happiness. Some people have a calling to, say, serving the elderly; or cooking wonderful feasts, or simply dancing for the fun of it. The skillful mastery of a task can be a real source of joy. I always love the seemingly odd combination of some of the strictest monastic orders in Europe producing with great skill strong beers and licquers for the general public. At first sight this might seem ridiculous, but there is a joy in that, too.
The things to avoid are the behaviours that you know lead to either your own pain and suffering, or the sufferings of others. Killing others, killing animals, waging war in the name of some cocketyed version of religion all spring to mind. Cheating, lying, deceiving... it's a long list.