I read recently that ‘How to be happy’ is typed into google more times than ‘How to be rich’
But what do we even mean by happiness?
When we look back over our lives, we can find memories of feeling happy and we pursue a course which involves trying to feel that feeling again and trying to avoid those situations that made us unhappy.
But the very nature of feelings is that they cannot be bottled; like clouds they come and go unbidden.
The emotion of happiness is inherently fleeting and is always shadowed by the thought of its inevitable passing. Not to mention the role nostalgia plays, and comparison; conjuring up old happiness and by comparing, souring one’s current experience. So, our ideas/ideals of happiness are shallow and immature.
It is happiness as a state of being that needs serious investigation.
So, what do wise beings say about happiness?
Historian Arthur M Schlesinger observes that our society is marked by ‘inexstinguishable discontent’. Krishnamurti makes the distinction between pleasure and happiness.
‘Can you seek happiness?
If you do, then probably you will find an imitation of it in all sorts of distractions and indulgences.
That is pleasure. What is the relationship between pleasure and happiness? Pleasure which we pursue is mistakenly called happiness.
We must be very clear as to whether pleasure is happiness. Pleasure is gratification, satisfaction, indulgence, entertainment, stimulation.
Most of us think pleasure is happiness, and the greatest pleasure we consider to be the greatest happiness’
So here is the essential confusion which needs to be penetrated. We are trying to assuage our discontent by pursuing pleasure which has nothing to do with happiness. Happiness can’t be pursued. It has to be investigated and revealed.
‘ To find out the true meaning of happiness, we must explore the river of self knowledge’
The Buddha ‘s solution to ‘I want happiness’ is to get rid of the ‘I’, get rid of ‘want’.
Then, only happiness will remain.
In this meditation of self-reflection there is a method to discard all my ideas about happiness, the old stories of my pursuit of it, my yearnings for it, my disappointments, etc., and ultimately the ‘self’ that is seeking ‘personal’ happiness.
Gradually as one lets go of all the notions and history of the personal, a whole new perspective emerges.
The method is a kind of combination of Krishnamurti’s ‘river of self knowledge’ and the Bhudda’s equation, this investigation reveals that happiness is where I am not.
Restored to wholeness, our focus is on the whole, naturally and naturally happiness simply exists.
‘The mind that brings happiness is the mind that wishes for others to live better lives’.
I hope you will put it to the test. It is a simple but powerful method that delivers true happiness.
Only True happiness endures.
Helen, NSW Australia