Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

You’re a happy person, aren’t you?

This question the bus driver asked me after I had exchanged a few sentences with him. We had the bus to ourselves so no one got jealous from our hearty conversation.

Yes, I am a happy person.

I wish I were too. Can’t you give me a few tips, the driver asked.

Sure. First tip. Pull up the corners of your mouth. But not by pretending you are happy. Really from the heart. That action will, if you do it sincerely, generate the feeling of happiness. And once you feel it, it will be even easier to continue doing so. (Don’t wait to act until you feel happy. First act; the feelings will follow.)

Make sure you do it for no particular reason, without any cause. When our happiness doesn’t depend on anything exterior, only on our decision, nothing can take our happiness away. We decide.

Next tip. Being in a bad mood is mostly an addiction or a bad habit. Just like smoking cigarettes. Just say no. Choose life. Start now.

People who say that they don’t want to be happy normally mean that they first want to cry about something painful. There is nothing wrong with crying. As all babies know and most grownups have forgotten: crying enough cleans away hurts and leaves one happy. (Really crying, with tears; not just grumping.) But when you can’t cry, be happy. Refuse to be in a bad mood. (Happy people also have an easier time crying.)

Next tip. Try to make other people happy. You can’t try that without becoming happy yourself.

Give. The more you give the more you become a happy camper/giver. We may also sometimes ask others to make us happy but most of the time, to give is the most superior expression of being us. Give a smile. Lend a listening ear. Make a little blessing or wish for someone.

Maybe some people will sometimes think that you are crazy if you are so happy. Just look them in the eyes and friendly wink. Wink to connect with their happy self that is waiting to be released from serious captivity. Smile at them. (Don’t be happy in a private bubble. Invite them in.) Invite them to a free hug, dance or song. (Across the gender gap, we may make two people of the same sex hug.)

I won’t blame people who feel sad or numb from hardship and oppression. Things do need to shape up in the world. Just don’t think for a second that a hard life makes happiness impossible. Not true. Many people in truly miserable lives know that they can’t afford the “luxury” of being sad. Happiness may be a lifesaver, a necessity.

Being happy has enormous side effects. It is impossible to be happy and, at the same time, be arrogant, stingy, angry, tense, jealous, revengeful, worried, dissatisfied, hateful, down, etc. There are times to cry, to say no, to look somber. But one can always be happy in one’s heart and mind. Besides, it is best to say no as if you hand someone the moon.

Judaism teaches that being constantly happy is a major vocation for every Jew. Living happily costs less energy and feels better. Do yourself a favor and be happy. It will lift everyone’s spirit.

Then I had to get off the bus. The driver was much gladdened by my tips. Many blessings rolled off his tong. How about you? Does this inspire you?

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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