Is The Pursuit Of Happiness Worth It?

Published on: January 22, 2011

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“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” – Christopher Gardner

Defining Happiness

Are you happy with your current life? The title for this blog was prompted early this morning upon waking. Ideas come to me in the strangest situations and this morning was no different. Upon getting out of bed on Saturday at a reasonable hour, I checked my emails and decided I would embark on a ride. Cycling allows me to clear my head-space – it’s become a form of moving meditation.

Upon returning from my ride, feeling inspired and refreshed, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of how lucky and fortunate I am. I often count my blessings and give thanks for all that appears in my life – whether it’s good or bad. I attempt to draw a lesson from every event. This can be tough at times and I often sit on it for a while, allowing the lesson to make itself known to me.

While I was eating breakfast, I thought about how fortunate I am to be healthy, enjoy cycling and exercising, live in one of the best cities in the world and perform a job I am incredibly passionate about. You only need to look around your community to realise how unhappy and ungrateful many people can be. They are stuck in jobs they hate, relationships which they loathe and some may have too much or too little money to ever be content. That’s ok though, since we’re all here to do the best we can, in the best way we know how.

I’ve been reading a modern day Buddhist novel recently, with a page devoted each day to a life lesson. The idea is to read the passage – which is one page in length and contemplate the message; being inspired to live it as well. Suffering occurs when we don’t get what we want or when we get what we want and don’t like what has shown up.

Believe it or not, having too much money can cause suffering, since it belies the need for more. It may bring other anxieties to the surface, such as having enough and being able to hold onto it. It begs the question which I asked at the beginning of the blog; Are you happy with your current life? What makes you happy? Why are you unhappy if so? What would it take for you to be happy NOW?

You see, most of what I write about is nothing new. It’s new age, contemporary Buddhist mantra, preached via a blog. As I scan these blogs, following a number of you, I come across an assortment of varying opinions, thoughts and ideas. There are those coming to terms with their current situation whatever that may be. Some merely exist and write about their interests. Others are inspirational with their message.

They may not view themselves as inspirational. They conduct themselves as though life has no special meaning and are comfortable chipping away until they reach their destination or achieve their purpose. Where do you sit along this continuum? Are you constantly complaining that life owes you something? Or do you feel you owe life something?

I find it interesting given all the billions of people on this planet, there is so many varying views of reality. Who is right? How can one person get up in the morning and see the beauty and magic in everything he/she encounters? It’s not enough to suggest they’re suffering Pollyanna syndrome either. You can’t be happy all the time – trust me, I’ve met those types of people and if I may say so, they’re incredibly annoying!

Ask the Right Questions

Happiness comes from what you have NOW. Read that again and again until it holds meaning in your life. You can’t be happy when you have ‘x’ or when you become ‘y’ since that is the root cause of all human suffering. Dan Millman who wrote The Peaceful Warrior says it best; The time is now, the place is here. Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.” The last part of the quote is the essential element for living in the NOW and being happy NOW. For the future will never come EXACTLY as you plan or hope for.

Who would have ever thought I’d be talking about personal development and health ten years ago? I certainly didn’t. Am I happy and fulfilled? Abso-friggin-loutely! If such a word should exist in the English language then that is it. I am happy since asked the right questions along my journey; “What do you want me to do or become?” “What is my purpose?” “How may I serve and contribute to this world?” I’m not suggesting I hold the key to unlocking your happiness.

I may be able to prompt you along to search for the right questions, ultimately revealling the answers. You must find your truth. I can tell you this much; the only place it dwells, is within. It lies within all your so called tragedies of believing you’re too fat or too skinny, not good enough or whatever you’ve told yourself you are or are not. Your truth, as the song suggests, will set you free. Yet in order to be free from suffering, you must find it first.

So my message is simply the following. Don’t try and become happy. Your natural state is happiness. Don’t look for happiness in others, for you’ll be disappointed. Don’t accumulate things believing they will make you happy. That is false thinking which will dishearten you. Don’t search for meaning in your life. Give meaning to your life.

Start asking those questions which bring your closer to your pot of gold. Keep asking them everyday whether they’re expressed as thoughts or emotions – ask! Act on the answers life delivers you. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, keep asking the RIGHT question until you arrive at a place where you’re satisfied and happy – for this is your truth and the reason you were meant to be here on earth.

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