I’ve talked with somebody about our goals in life and we’ve inevitably arrived at happiness. “I have already been trying that! Been there, done that! But it didn’t work out!” This is what he told me.
Soon I’ve realised that people perceive happiness in the wrong way…
Happiness It’s Not About A New Gadget
Well, we have been conditioned in our culture to pursue our happiness and we realised that it doesn’t work. But what kind of happiness? A happiness in a promise of a new car, or a bigger house, or a better job. And we have thought that this is the pursuit of happiness.
You should make money working all day long in order to buy a lot and in your spare time, entertain yourself by watching TV, movies and surfing Internet. These are the rules in our culture. Working, buying and entertaining.
Work your ass off until you get old and die so you can buy stuff that you will lose in the end (probably they will break before you loose them) and then mindlessly entertain yourself. This is the ideology that we live under, whose result is discontentment. This is what they call consumer capitalism. Does this look like happiness?
I Want More, More, More…
In case you’re wondering why are you discontent all the time, think about that. We are all encouraged to be discontent, to always want to buy more, to always want another vacation and so on.
We are hypnotized by sensation, by desire, by craving. And the desire arises to gain a possession. Have you observed in yourself our addiction to shopping? We shop and shop and shop and buy things only to stuff it away and never use it. Why is that? It really makes no sense. It is because our mentality is hypnotized with consumerism.
That is why you can observe the hordes of people who flock to the stores and malls to buy and buy and buy and waste and waste and waste. People stuff their houses with possessions. They have to get storage spaces for their other possessions, which they do not use. They get one thing and have it for a little while, then they want a better one. So, the old one goes out into the garage and the new one comes. There is this step by step accumulation of material goods. Why? How does it help? Who finds happiness from material goods? Who finds serenity from possessions, when all possessions are subject to impermanence?
All possessions will be taken away, decay, and fall apart. To find happiness and security in external things is futile.
Pleasure ≠ Happiness
Happiness is not getting another spike in our pleasure graph. It’s not just another thing, another experience, another promotion at the job, another vacation. That’s not happiness. These are mere pleasures. And the nature of the pleasure is that it will end up.
…And it will leave you dissatisfied and wanting more, always wanting more….
Yep, you read that right. The secret of happiness is counter-intuitive to everything we’ve been told through our whole lives.
So, stop wanting more, my friend. Please understand, I’m not saying to stop having logical directions in your life. It’s more about looking at the bigger picture of your life.
What are we in such a hurry for? Each new gadget, each grade, promotion and job. Step by step all the way up to what? What happens when you get there?
What are you going to do when you get to where you are going? Well if you are anything like most people you are going to be so focused on the next thing that you will barely notice that you accomplished anything at all.
You will probably not rest or congratulate yourself on your hard work because you will be so focused on the next hill to climb or the next thing you want to buy.
We should say No to this kind of life. “No, I just don’t want to live my life meaninglessly consuming and entertaining”.
Be A Rebel! Be Happy!
Happiness is about a deep seated contentment, a deep seated satisfaction no matter what the vicissitudes of the outer world have to bring. You’re relaxed all day long. How could you not be in favor of that?!
I know that there is a seed of ignorance in each one of us that resists this kind of understanding of happiness. It’s a self destructive attitude that pushes us to justify in all kinds of ways. “Happiness is trivial goal. I’m a more serious person than that”. “I feel that there must be a more serious goal than happiness in life. Happiness is selfish.”
We should be rebels and debate any instinct in us that’s mitigating against realising as soon as possible the deep seated contentment.
But we should be rebels with a cause. And the cause is to be happy ourselves so that we can really help others to be happy.
It’s Up To You!
Deep seated happiness, deep seated contentment or pleasure seeking that secular life offers? It’s your choice!
I’m out. Thanks for reading.