Why do we spend so much effort searching for happiness in its’ external and impermanent forms when we already possess happiness in its’ most lasting and vital form? Many believe if we find the perfect job or the perfect mate or win the lottery, drive a luxury car, or indulge in sensual pleasures, etc., that “at last” we will “live happily ever after”.
Happiness has always resided within us from the day we came into this world. If we don’t experience it as often as we like, perhaps it is hiding beneath the surface of our unhappiness or discontent. It’s in our hearts and in our nature! Observe that first smile and that first laugh in a newly born infant. Are you ever reminded of the happiness we experienced as a child? Did it dissolve on its own? Where did it go? How did we lose those moments-that state of well-being? When and how did we transfer that state of physical & emotional well-being to a state where we are in need of physical attachments and desires? When did our negative thoughts, our inclination to worry, our feelings of anxiety begin to mask the happiness that prevailed throughout our childhood years?
Neuro-scientific research tells us that close to 80% of our daily thoughts (50,000 plus in any given day) are negative in nature. We fall into the trap of believing what we think. It is through awareness that we can choose to peel away the layers of those thoughts, perpetuated by our life experiences, our fears and our interactions with others, that will once again reveal our true self and the happiness that still lies within us. Meditation and Mindfulness is one tool available to us, we can choose, to discover how to stop treating all of our thoughts as facts, to move away that state of stress, anxiety, doubt and worry back to a state of happiness, a state of well-being and a life free from suffering, living at peace and living at ease.
Somehow, somewhere along the line, we began to crave and to think that we need to attach ourselves to physical or external objects to create the happiness we seek. These possessions or achievements only provide us with impermanent feelings we associate with happiness. They cannot bring us sustainable happiness. If we look outward to find lasting happiness, it will elude us. We need to recognize the proper direction is the path inward. As Aristotle put it, “Happiness depends upon ourselves”.