The pursuit of happiness has been a major subject over the last years. Many books have been written about it and quite a few movies have been produced around happiness. It must be on many peoples mind to get such an attention. The amount of workshops that are offered just around the area I live, promising to learn a way to become happy, is extraordinary.
But what is happiness?
There are many different explanations out there and it is rather confusing. Just put into Google the question “What is happiness?” and you will understand what I mean.
Happiness seems to be different from culture to culture. For some cultures happiness relates mainly to their own life. Something that comes from inside themselves.
While others are happy when they see nice colours or flowers, things that come from the outside in.
Happiness doesn’t seem to depend too much on your circumstances or the situation you’re in. From everything I read and watched about it, it tends to depend on the way you see life and your position in it and is a question of perception. Taking this as a base then there can’t be a common definition of happiness.
Of course there are some scientific explanations out there, but they really only catch the general aspects of it.
The most common consensus I was able to find is that happiness is a state, particularly a state of mind and most seem to agree that happiness is a positive feeling.
This is were the problem with happiness comes in. If it is a state then it cannot exist at all times, but is something that fluctuates. In a way we seem to fall in and out of happiness. I guess it works like a wave along a time-line, when we’re up we’re happy and when we’re down we’re sad. between the two states we have what I call the OK line. This is the area where we neither feel happy nor sad, just okay. This line isn’t fixed, but it moves, always keeping the average (the centre) of the two states.
As we are putting effort into our pursuit of happiness, we sometimes hit a new peek. At that stage we are highly excited and super happy. For some this happens when they fall in love or having a baby. For most of us these things don’t happen every day and we quickly sink back towards the okay line on our way down. Nobody wants to go down, so we are desperately trying to stay up, always looking for more. For some it goes that far that the pursuit of happiness becomes the mission, completely missing the point of happiness. In a way, they are never happy but always looking for happiness. Reminds me on drug-edicts. That’s how they must feel, I guess.
I have been practising meditation for a few years now and for me meditation is based on observation. Observing yourself, your emotions, your body and mind without judgement. This is often described as mindfulness, being aware of the NOW. Meditation has changed my view about happiness. Since I stopped looking into the future and started to see what is happening around me almost everything has changed.
It takes a bit of practice to re-wire yourself out of this drag-race, but it is completely worth it. The OK line has become a variable I can play with. I am in charge and I can move it up or down anyway I like. I came to see that happiness is something I can create in me or through outside sources.
I now believe that happiness is not something you need to hunt down. It is always there in you and in everything around you. You just need to start looking. You are the source of happiness. You don’t need to pursuit yourself.
My advice to anyone in pursuit of happiness is to start with yourself. Instead of looking to gain something, look at what you already have in you. Discover how amazing you are without comparing or judgment.
You are all the happiness you will ever need or want!