My First Experience of Peace
Love Happiness: At Age 4

We go to St George's Park, Port Elizabeth

My first recollection of peace love happiness was when I was about 4 years old, in St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. My mother had taken me to a summer-house in a section of the park that was somewhat off to the side of the main path - towards the back of St George's Swimming Pool, for those know know the area.

My means of transport to this place was my ‘push-chair’ (nowadays called a ‘stroller’, I think) in which my mother had pushed me uphill a good few blocks from our home, across a busy road, and along the winding gravel pathways in the park.

It was a sunny day, with no wind. (Yes, I still remember quite clearly, even though it was over 60 years ago!) For a while I remember having this almost heavenly feeling inside my body: a warm, peaceful contentment that I would now describe as pure joy.

It came upon me – or perhaps I should rather say, it arose from inside me – for no apparent reason. Nothing triggered it. It didn’t rush into me; I was just aware of it. And it felt good - peacefully good.


Time to go back home

When my mom indicated that it was time to go home, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to linger there a while longer, in that summer place, amongst the shrubs and creepers. I just wanted to imbibe this subtle feeling of pure peace love happiness.

Then we left to go home again. After a while, the feeling inside me subsided.


But where did the peace love happiness go?

I guess it was probably about a couple of weeks after that beautiful experience, as a 3 or 4 year-old boy, that we returned to that same tranquil spot in the park. As we approached the summer-house I eagerly looked forward to experiencing again that peace that passes all understanding.

But, alas, as my mom and I arrived at the same place, all felt quite ‘flat’ inside my heart. I looked around at the shrubs, the creepers, the birds; but there was nothing inside me that sang that same song of peace-love-happiness I had experienced the last time we were there.

"How could this be?", I sadly thought. How could this place make me so happy inside on one occasion, but on the next visit it did not? The contrast in my experience was quite amazing - so noticeable that to this day I remember that disappointment. For in truth, the eager anticipation inside me that day gave way to a sad feeling of disappointment.

Actually, those were the feelings I experienced as a child at the time, and which I still remember. It is only now that I am an adult that I can articulate the experience into 'big people' verbal language.


Authentic happiness within

In my adult life I later came to realize that the home of peace love happiness is actually inside us, and external things can either add to our own inner happiness, or ‘spoil’ it if we let them. But they cannot truly bring lasting happiness.

Clearly, as a 4 year-old child, I had experienced what I now understand - that true happiness comes from within.



From Peace Love Happiness Experienced At Age 4
To: Love And Happiness - My Heart-bursting Experience
To: My bliss experience at a meditation weekend
To: About Gavin Hoole

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