It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness
What is Real Happiness in Life
If you are unhappy about life or wish you could be happier perhaps you have wondered how exactly can I find this happiness? What is real happiness in life? I’m not talking about the temporary happiness you get when you won something or when your watching a good movie. i’m talking about real happiness – overall happiness in your life.
Happiness vs Excitement
Often times when we go about life and describe things which make us happy we would think of things that stimulate us. Such as a big cake! Or maybe an amusement park ride or perhaps an awesome movie or TV show we’ve seen. These are all forms of excitement. Although you would think that eating a big cake isn’t all too exciting compared to an amusement park ride but it is a form of mild excitement because it stimulates us.
So often when we talk about happiness what we really mean is those things make us excited, not happy. Whats the difference? When you’re excited aren’t you happy? I’ll get to this question a little later but lets answer the first question.
There are many definitions of happiness and the whole concept of “how to be happy” has been debated by philosophers for centuries. I am going to define happiness here as that feeling of complete serenity. You are not very bothered by anything, your confident, you believe in yourself, in complete control of your emotions and you have a very low amount of negative thinking.
This is a good definition of happiness because in a perfect world if we had all those characteristics I think we would describe our lives as ‘happy’. Notice these qualities compared to what excitement is. Excitement is an emotion that depends on external stimulus while happiness is an emotion that depends on your internal self.
I can already hear you say:
“But when I eat cake, or go on an awesome ride I am happy! I feel on top of the world! Maybe its temporary, that’s true but if I strive to have more of those things in my life would I not be more happy?”
The Trap of Chasing Excitement
This is the huge trap of happiness. By chasing the emotion of excitement to gain happiness what you’re actually doing is you’re running around in a circle. Its like you’re trying to get somewhere and you’re just following a path but what you don’t realize is the path your following loops back around. So what you’re actually doing is you’re running in a circle.
Maybe everytime you complete a lap, which is maybe only a 1/4 of a mile you feel amazing but for the other 3/4 of the mile its kind of mundane, kind of boring – or maybe you even hate it. All you’re doing is you’re looking forward to complete that lap and that drives you because you think you’re going someplace.
This is the trap – you’re not going anywhere. What you’re actually chasing here is the feeling after the stimulation. That amazing rollar coster ride you went on, that amazing sex you had last night. If you actually think about it you feel the best at the end of it – the climax. Then its over. Then you’re mind will go, what’s next? Then it will run another lap in the track just to get the stimulus back and this is an endless cycle that were on. Instead of running around and chasing this stimulus get off the track and work towards working on yourself.
Is It Possible to be Happy All the Time?
Absolutely it is possible! This track that I described – I hope you realize, is just a metaphor. Its a metaphor that eastern philosophers would describe as the egoic mind. The egoic mind seeks the stimulus, it wants you to run round and round. With this mindset, no it is impossible to be happy all the time because there will always be a time where you are not simulated.
This is actually a huge myth when people say that you can’t always be happy. Life is all about the ups and downs. This myth was created because almost everybody is running around the track just seeking the next stimulation. This is absolutely deceptive. It’s deceptive because we are already happy all the time. Happiness is our default state.
This is a hard concept to wrap your brain around unless you have practiced meditation. The main goal of meditation is to practice quieting that voice in your head as well as all the other external sounds and stimuli in your environment. What this does is it allows you to connect with your true self. The self behind the voice in your head. If you did this successfully you will feel happy. This is what real happiness in life is! You already are happy!
Unfortunately our inner happiness being is completely drowned out by our world, our problems and particularly our phones. Why does our brain do this? Simple, all our brain cares about is survival. It will override our default state of happiness for survival. That cake you ate? Your brain says this has a lot of energy, eat more you will be happy. That stimulating rollar coaster? Your brain says there’s a bear chasing after you, time to pump you with adrenaline!
Your brain means well but its also extremely immature for this day in age. A lot of our current biology is not fit for our modern society, so realize that all this stimulation has nothing to do with happiness. Look deep within yourself and you will find that you are already happy.
Have a great day!
This is what the Dalai Lama says about happiness. He takes a bit of a more spiritual perspective on happiness but it is interesting nonetheless. If you are interested, you can check out the video below.