A common feature to most human beings is the pursuit of happiness. A second common feature is their failure in the pursuit. Our modern culture created an almost infinite amount of “happiness-producer-objects”. Technology, comfort, money, fame, a career are publicized as producers of happiness. We usually see even our relationships as no more than another object to bring happiness. But we are not happy.
— “Well, it is because we don’t have enough technology, comfort, money, fame. They are hard to reach. They involve a lot of work” –we usually hear– — “Oh, don’t worry” –Mrs. New Age answers– “You are doing it wrong. You are unhappy because you are not spiritual! You can be happy; you can have everything you desire: money, love, comfort, relationships… everything, without even lifting a finger. You have to visualize, you have to use decrees, affirmations, and everything will fall on your lap, and you will be happy.”
Yes… I too believe that is a very strange definition of what to be “spiritual” is. But nevertheless, if you want to listen to Mrs. New Age’s piece of advice, go ahead, and… Good luck! The fact remains that happiness seems to be as elusive as always. There are, however, some truly spiritual traditions that point out our mistake in our search for happiness. In the book I Am That ( pg 468 ) which records dialogues between Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and his visitors, he says:
The right state and use of the body and the mind are intensely pleasant. It is the search for pleasure that is wrong. Do not try to make yourself happy, rather question your very search for happiness (…) Find out why you are unhappy. Because you are not happy you seek happiness in pleasure; pleasure brings pain and therefore you call it worldly; you then long for some other pleasure, without pain, which you call divine. In reality, pleasure is but a respite from pain.
So, What are we doing in our life? Are we looking for that “happiness” produced by external objects? Isn’t it obvious that if our happiness depends on something/someone external, we are bound to suffer, since everything is impermanent and mutable? To me, real happiness is without object. Real happiness is an inner state, independent of external situations.
What do you think? What is happiness? What is the way to reach it?