The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness. Day 4.

Years of reading books and blogs on meditation, buddhism and most recently some incredible adventure/travel novels have helped me come to the realization that the concept of happiness is rooted deep in our psyche and exists in many forms for many different people. One thing that is very common is that most people search in a lot of different places hoping to find the sense of ‘fulfillment’ that comes with being happy. I decided to take this challenge on by observing this pattern today. I listened to people (some friends, some strangers) speak about waiting for ‘their lives to start’ once they find a partner/graduate/find their dream job/buy a house/win the lottery or have a child. I then closely observed someone do one of those things, celebrate and quickly repeat the process by placing the next ‘starting point’ for happiness on something else. A large part of my conditioning manifested in a continuous feeling of not being at home anywhere, and constantly being on the lookout for a place to arrive at. To be able to feel that I was finally home, would mean I could finally relax and start living. My conclusion was that (eventually) the core of happiness becomes (for some) an externally derived sense of wellbeing; of feeling happy because of something that happens.

Unfortunately this externally derived happiness is not the real goal in life and for many it is often very temporary. There is a quiet uneasiness that exists in this state, because we know deep down inside that the feeling is not going to last. Not that we don’t try to hold on to it,  often we try to capture it like a picture squeezing every last bit of gratification out of it and if we take the time and  look deeper, this kind of happiness is really just an internal scale shifting. Like a balancing act that ends in the realization that happiness and unhappiness are not all that different from each other. If you dig even deeper we find that what we are really looking for is a sense of feeling truly present and engaged in life as a whole.

If you can wrap you head around this cyclical process you will find that your mind opens itself to a peace that can exist beyond all levels of happiness and unhappiness. What happens next is that you can make room for both ends of the spectrum (and everything in between) to become mere ripples that you can experience without losing the foundation of deep inner peace. When you are rooted within, the movement of highs and lows will still happen but they will be gentle and never be far from ‘neutral’. The most beautiful part of this (that I have just come to) is that it is never too late. You can begin to condition yourself establishing a new deeper sense of peace and contentment with whatever happens in life. When good things happen we honor and enjoy them, but are aware at the same time that the sense of joy always arises from within and ultimately does not depend on whatever is happening outside.

Don’t think that this is a me giving a cold shoulder to experiencing the good things in life. See happiness for what it is and take a different perspective. Initially it would seem like you are forfeiting allowing anything in the world make you happy, but once you realize happiness for what it is you will start to see it in a different light. Peace arises from within and is independent of external circumstances. Up next… A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.

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  1. Thank you for this post..funny how a stranger can leave behind just the right words at the right time. This is just the clarity I was seeking.

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