The Pursuit of Happiness
There are about seven billion of us on this planet. Each of us views life through our personal filters and no single person sees the world in the same way.
The world that you see is actually completely of your own making. It seems very real because it’s the only world that you know, but in fact, it is just a representation of your many, many thoughts and feelings about your many, many experiences. Your world is like a solar system, in which you are the sun. The other planets (people, experiences, events) revolve around you. You see everything from your own unique place as the sun, the center of the universe. Every experience you see changes your perception. This creates your life.
I have asked umpteen individuals the question “What do you want from life?” and they respond “I just want to be happy”. They live searching for this thing called ‘happiness’. Do they ever find it? Does it exist? Do they ever get to a point where they are happy? What is happiness? What is it they are searching for?
When we were born, our minds were free from judgment about good, bad, happy or sad. We were blank slates that reacted to our immediate needs such as hunger or a need to sleep. As we developed, our minds became more aware of our surroundings. We interpreted our experiences in the form of likes and dislikes. When we interpreted something as pleasant, we told ourselves, “I want more of that” and when we found an experience unpleasant, we said, “I don’t want that,” and we did our best to push it away. This is how we developed the idea of happiness.
Everyone’s version of happiness is different based on their visions, experiences, ambitions, goals etc. So if we have understood happiness to be external, we will always seek it from the external world. People can find temporary happiness from other things or people, but this is only short lived. For example: buying new things, like bags, cars, clothes, seeking approval from others. These are behaviours that perhaps subconsciously you have found to fill your happiness, but is temporary.
A wise friend once told me “happiness comes from within” – I didn’t understand it then. But now, I live and breathe happiness coming from within me and I am passionate about educating others.
We all want happiness and are constantly pursuing that goal in our own way. However, the majority of us labor under a serious misconception that happiness comes from external events. We’re working so hard, just waiting for the world to give us happiness.
Happiness is a state of internal fulfillment. Happiness is not the result of external events. We labor under the misconception that external events are within our control. We tell ourselves that when we achieve what we want or acquire what we desire, happiness will be ours. We attach meaning to events in a desperate attempt to address the longing of our hearts to understand our own internal selves. And we build internal worlds that are imbued with meaning in an attempt to navigate an unpredictable external world.
We spend countless hours building our career, growing a family, and pursuing new experiences. These are all worthy endeavors if they are important to you. However, we must also make the time to cultivate our internal conditions. Just as we must strengthen our bodies to be healthy, we must understand and love our inner selves to be happy.
Happiness is a skill that can be learned and cultivated. Happiness is entirely within your reach.