Sunday, April 2, 9967

The Pursuit of Happiness

In the normal ego-driven, corrupt state, life is an exercise in trying to make things turn out a certain way. We are always looking for great experiences, wanting more than we get, and feeling only as good as externals can make us feel. We are needy and frightened, so our sense of happiness is dependent upon particular external circumstances. This guarantees random and unexpected unhappiness because there are so many factors that compose our worldly situation (money, possessions, health, love, career, security, relationships, freedom, accomplishment) that it is inevitable that at least one of them will occasionally go awry.

The happiness” we feel when we acquire an object we desire (a possession, a relationship, money, an experience) is not caused by the object itself. If it were, then we would live happily ever after with it. But we dont, do we? Our happiness” is merely temporary. After a while, desire returns, causing us to once again feel a sense of lack, so we pursue something else. True happiness is inherent, but we mask it with desire and a sense of lack. We feel happy when we acquire something because desire and lack cease and we (temporarily) realize of our true self, which is naturally peaceful and happy. That is, happiness comes from our very being, not from any external object. This is why people who constantly pursue happiness are perpetually unhappy.

The only way to have lasting peace and happiness is to get over the ego. Then we will feel good from within, which will enable us to enjoy our experiences, no matter how mundane they might be. We will not be at the mercy of external circumstances. We will not need to have all our ducks in a row”.

The Constitution promises us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness often prevents happiness. When we simply work, love, play, and relax, we get a sense of well-being (happiness) as an unintentional by-product because we are immersed in the moment. But when we think, “I want to be happier,” and do things specifically to become happy, rather than simply experience things with no expectations, we no longer enjoy the moment because were always looking toward the future, so our sense of well-being diminishes.

A pursuit of anything is an admission of the lack of it. When we live with the mindset that we must go out and get happiness, as though its a commodity, we thus tell ourselves constantly that we aren’t happy. This artificially creates the feeling of unhappiness. We might have all the basics for a good life, but we refuse to be content with them. We have this idea that we are not happy enough, that we must always be pursuing more happiness. This keeps us from enjoying what we already have.

This is not to say that we should just accept everything as it is. We do what needs to be done in order to obtain whatever increases the quality of our lives. But overdoing this can make us too tired and irritable to enjoy anything, leave us no time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, or get us into phony relationships. Will that promotion be worth all the time and struggle you buy it with? Do you really want to associate with people who would not like you if you did not put on an act?

We can continue to live in the ego’s self-centered dream of constant want, worry, toil, frustration, anger, and regret. Or we can see that we are more than the personal drama of a temporary identity, that we are not mere action figures that must have things be a particular way and then suffer when they aren’t. We can stop dreading, judging, clinging, avoiding, and blaming. We can rest in who and where we are.