We all want happiness, that’s a given. Perhaps it’s why we are on the constant search for it. Whether it’s food, sex, drugs, travel, money, peace, or love, we are wired to feed the pleasure centers in our brain.
I used to always think about happiness as a feeling I was chasing. I chased it by seeking refuge in lovers, dining in lavish restaurants, taking part in cult like money making ventures, and purchasing items that I didn’t need.
All these things brought me short term happiness. Wasn’t my happiness level fulfilled then? I think so. It was important to feel the happiness that these short term and materialistic pleasures offered. If I didn’t seek these things out, I would always wonder and I hate the feeling of wondering.
Aside from the happiness that is derived from pleasure, there are many feelings that act as deterrents in our pursuit to be happy. We can all attest to exhibiting feelings of fear, worry, anger, sadness, remorse, uncertainty, and loneliness. These feelings are normal and don’t subside all together.
The intent of this article isn’t to show you how to find happiness, but rather to realize on your own that it’s not happiness you are seeking, but everything you have avoided to seek it.
Happiness in sadness
We have all felt sadness in some capacity. We are told to wipe our tears and be optimistic. We are told to look at the brighter side of situations and temporarily forget about what happened to us. I say, “to the hell with that!” Sadness is one of the greatest emotions we can feel as people. We should understand that sadness is happiness in a fucked up way. It’s only because of sadness that we can appreciate happiness. Own your sadness, be one with it, invite it, live with it, and love it to death. The world would be a weird place without tears. It would simply suck if I couldn’t hug my sisters, mother, and father when they are sad. We should count ourselves lucky to have moments like this. The next time you are feeling sad, don’t escape it. Instead, understand it, see it for what it is, and enjoy it because like everything in life, it won’t last forever.
Happiness in anger
Have you ever said something to someone out of anger? Sure you have. Sometimes anger can get the best of us. We may say things we don’t mean, but many times the damage is already done. Don’t be so hard on yourself about things that have made you angry in the past. Own your anger! If you are conscious of your anger then it will only make you a better person. You might be asking, “How the hell is this possible?” Let me tell you.
When we say things we don’t mean, we have time to recount our mistakes. These mistakes are necessary so you can understand yourself better and go about situations differently next time. Sometimes saying things out of anger are necessary so you can understand how it makes another feel, but more importantly how it makes you feel.
We are efficient machines, but we are only human, and far from perfect. Let’s embrace all our defects because once we do, then we can start to build awareness on how to become better.
Happiness in confusion
Do you find yourself wondering if what you are doing right now is to your full potential? Do you find yourself hitting a brick wall time and time again, only to climb that wall and find more bricks? I do! I am more confused about life now than I ever have been. When I was young, I could picture my life in a consecutive manner. I would have a great job, wife, children, a few dogs, children, a nice house, and weekends would be spent at Home Depot debating over granite or limestone countertops. I have nothing against this type of life and would consider myself lucky to have this, but as my life is right now, I just can’t imagine it. I don’t know if what I am doing currently is the right thing or if I should have chosen the former that I mentioned. Fortunately, I’m okay with not knowing.
If you think about all of creation intrinsically, deeply, coherently, and without all our day to day minutia (work, bills, politics, stock market, etc.), you start to realize that everything is nothing more than one big ball of confusion. No one knows what the hell they are doing. Even those that may seem like they have their shit figured out really don’t and that’s okay.
Embrace your confusion, fight for what makes you feel alive, and enjoy the process because no matter what happens, you will still be confused. Life is an endless puzzle, and just when you think you’ve got it, some esoteric force hands you another piece. There is much beauty in uncertainty. The only thing I know is how much I don’t know. Keep your heart open, focused, and determined with whatever life gives you.
““It is better to have your head in the clouds and know where you are, than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think you are in paradise.’” – Henry David Thoreau
Happiness in death
I think about death all the time. I don’t think about it in a morbid way, but I clearly understand the impermanence of life. Through many books, seminars, and hours of self reflection, I see life as nothing more than something that changes all the time. Whether it’s our feelings, the weather, our friends, or our hobbies; they will all change. Death is a part of the change and it is life’s change agent, as Steve Jobs would say.
When you consistently acknowledge death as something that will eventually take course, you start to build happiness super consciously. How would you look at the sun if you knew it would never rise again?
With death we can happily bring about appreciation. The people we hold dear and love are special because we know that like us, they are mortal. In the movie Troy, Achilles says, that the Gods are jealous of us. Every smile, every laugh, and whisper is more precious because it’s not forever. Death is a reminder that happiness can be cultivated on the basis of impermanence. You will never know when your last day will be, or the ones you love, so spend every waking minute making every moment count.
Happiness in love
I used to think that love was limited to our family and friends. After becoming more introspective about existence, a transcendental type of love has been the pillar of my teachings. It is the basis for everything I know and have become thus far. When you can love your enemies, conflicting beliefs with others, pain, and suffering without question, then I reckon love and happiness are dancing together.
Every argument, every heart break, every bruise, and every insurmountable problem in life is love. You have to love your problems with the same openness and respect that you give to the actual resolve of the problems. The duality of life is clear as crystal, but you must learn to embrace all opposing forces as one in the same.
You must love all your problems because when you overcome them (and you will overcome them) your soul gets to taste bliss.
Closing thoughts – What am I seeking?
Have you ever thought about what you are? Take a few moments and think about it. Are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you what society has told you?
I think you are much more than what meets the eye. Life is limited if you reserve it for only what is attributed to you. That which you think you are is merely a concept or idea. What you are doesn’t have the needed imagination to imagine or the knowledge available to understand. It’s confusing in a very good way.
I am not this body, I am not a brother, son, friend, lover, or stranger. I am not Anand. Sure, I am these things in the context of identity, but I am something much more.
I am in the audience of what my life on earth is. The problems, the drama, the love making, the eating, the arguments, the relationships, all are a part of it. It’s not all that serious and it can be fun if you allow it.
I am clearly beginning to see that I am not my thoughts anymore. I am simply the awareness behind them and I am on a journey that’s destination is yet to be determined.
I don’t know what all this is and I am finding happiness in all that I don’t know. I find myself falling in love with life over and over again.
I hope my perspectives give you something to think about. I hope you understand that everything you live for is meaningful, precious, and beautiful. I hope you understand that life isn’t all that serious and being confused is okay. I hope that through all your adversity you can smile and say to yourself, “ I am happy.”