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The Eternal Search For Happiness, In All The Wrong Places

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 5 13

The Big Question

 As many of us sit around contemplating our naval and the big question "What is the meaning of this life"? Could it be that we are missing the sublimely obvious?

Tranquility

 You don't have to be a genius to know that most people have a primary goal in life, which is, finding happiness. Even if they don't actually realize that it is the underlying reason we often work ourselves into the ground to earn a buck and find ourselves in an often constant mode of "If only I had" ....... more money, a house, a college degree, more time, the right car etc. The list can often be never-ending. Why?

Where Do you look For Happiness?

Maybe you find pleasure and happiness shopping  for clothing or try to channel happiness through gaining  love from a partner. Maybe cigarettes, alcohol, sex and drugs or even crazily chasing money to fill as many of your wants and cravings as you can. The common trait with all these forms of 'finding' happiness is that they all rely on external factors to keep the happiness train running. There is a problem with  chasing and grasping at happiness in this way.

When You Rely On Other People, Objects and Things to Provide Joy and Happiness.

Happiness found using these learned behaviours doesn't last. It is fleeting, sometimes within seconds, minutes or hours and sometimes weeks, days or months but the feeling fades and it's not long before you start adding to your mental list again, looking for the next thing to bring you the excitement these external factors have momentarily given to you. We form attachments to these things and it becomes not only that we want them to make ourselves feel good but suddenly that we NEED them to keep the happiness in our system. It's almost like hooking ourselves up to an intravenous drip, pushing as much external happiness into our blood as we can and when the levels drop in our system, we head back to the external sources once again to re top our happiness levels back up. 

Getting What You Want.

Another interesting point to look at is that often the  immediate act of getting what you want, is not nearly as enjoyable as the build up to obtaining it... in fact even often reminiscing about past things bring us more happiness than the real time event that actually happened

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. ~A.A. Milne

 

Where Do you Find Yourself?

Lifes Panorama

So it would seem that chasing happiness as if it is something we need to physically make happen, is a limiting way to go. Are there really other things we can do that don't involve money and attachment to people and objects? Can contemplating your naval actually really hold some of the answers?

Personal Development

Many people busily go about their lives, the inner mind constantly chattering inside, and it's not till they push themselves to a breaking point that they realize that things have to change. It's the cycle of making mistakes and hopefully learning from them, experiencing suffering so that we can move through to better things.

There’s two things people do with the shit of life. The first person puts it in their bag, in their pockets, up their shirt, down their trousers. They carry it around with them! ‘Why me? It’s unfair, it’s terrible, it’s not nice!’ That’s called ‘carrying the shit.’ Now you find if you carry shit around you lose a lot of friends…But there’s the other thing you can do with the cow shit of life….You dig it into your garden! So instead of just complaining about it, you make use of it…It takes a long time sometimes when you’re in the middle of this. You can’t just get rid of it in an instant. It takes weeks, sometimes years. You keep digging in a little bit every day and something always happens. That moment occurs when you look out of your front door and that whole pile of shit is gone. It’s vanished. It hasn’t gone nowhere. Something’s happened in the back garden… beautiful flowers that are so fragrant, people walking down the street can smell them and they like to visit your amazing garden. And your fruit trees - the apples in there are so delicious and sweet. So much so that you give them to all your friends…Your garden which you grow from the shit of your life is not just for you. It’s for everybody who comes close to you.

Ajahn Brahm
Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life's Difficulties
Amazon Price: $15.95 $7.86 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 27, 2013)
This is the first book by the above quoted monk, Ajahn Brahm. It is jam packed full of short stories containing real pearls of wisdom. I can't recommend this highly enough. In Australia the exact same book is titled "Opening The Door Of Your Heart".

Find Some Peace

It seems that everyone holds the key to their own personal development and it's within this that answers are found. People caught  up in attachments and conditional happiness tend to be less spiritually awakened and can easily "bah ha" things such as Spirituality, Meditation, Relaxation, Yoga and Tai Chi  (just to name a few) but these are the kind of things that ease forward our personal development in a gentle less forceful way. Meditation is an amazing place to start. For many people learning the art of meditation is quite difficult, especially at the beginning. To make sure that you don't get put off by finding relaxing your mind too difficult, many places now days offer free guided meditation classes to get you going in the right direction.

Brand New Black/red Zabuton Zafu Set, Yoga, Meditation Seat Cushions, Kneeling, Sitting, Supporting Exercise Pratice Zabuton & Zafu Cushions.
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Meditate like a master, or at least be comfortable as you let go of all your stress. Not the most expensive of meditation chairs or cushions, but looks and is reviewed as the most comfortable and best value for money.

Gaining Independence

Not feeling dependent on external sources and participating in more peaceful activities  can awaken a new more positive energy within us. It can enable us to become non dependent on others and other things for pleasure, and as we begin to learn to tap into a much deeper happiness and joy that is completely free and always there we can learn to quieten our analysing minds and see life in a whole different light.

A Meditator's Handbook

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook
Amazon Price: $16.95 $8.21 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 27, 2013)
Ajahn Brahm teaches meditation and gives Dhamma talks every Friday night if you are lucky enough to live in Perth Western Australia. For those who aren't that lucky you can still access his teachings with his books like this one on Meditation.
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Comments

Feb 22, 2013 10:59am
JadeDragon
Very interesting and helpful quote about carrying around our problems.
Feb 22, 2013 4:51pm
chopsooy
Hi Jade Dragon,
Firstly a big thank you for being my first ever IB comment on my first ever IB article :-)
Secondly I love that quote very much. If you're interested Ajahn Brahmavamso (Ajahn Brahm for short) is the head monk at the Bodhinyana Monestry in Western Australia( my home state). He was born and raised in London, studied to be a monk in Thailand and for the last couple of decades has been involved in building and now heading the Dhammaloka buddhist centre and Bodhinyana monestry in W.Australia. He is a leading world speaker on Buddhism (particulary popular in Asian countries) because of his wit and ability to talk about buddhism in an easy digestable manner. Glad you enjoyed and got something from the article.
Feb 22, 2013 8:01pm
Goodguy
Well written article. Happiness is a state of mind. It is inside oneself that one can find happiness, not outside. Just my two cents worth of thought.
Feb 22, 2013 8:47pm
chopsooy
I totally agree. Thanks for your comment!
Feb 22, 2013 10:19pm
eileen
It always amazes me how people have to have the biggest house, the best biggest TV etc etc. They are all materialistic things. Just things we really do not want or really need. Small does just the same job and saves you big headaches with over draughts etc.

Happiness is what you want it to be. A little house will make you just as happy. Health and happiness is all you really need. These days everyone is just so set on GREED. Everything appears to revolve around it. Great article. I am happy sitting in a caravan near the ocean with million dollar views that can change each day without any hassles.
Feb 22, 2013 10:49pm
chopsooy
Eileen...I totally agree. Health, happiness and simplicity in life. I always get the most enjoyment from the simplest things. Thank you so much for your comment.
Feb 23, 2013 11:47am
moronkee
Happiness is a temporary feeling.I say people should seek for joy that comes from our Heavenly father.
Thanks for sharing.
Feb 23, 2013 6:06pm
chopsooy
Mmmm yes there is a quote that goes something like "happiness is the emotion we feel between two lots of suffering". Everything is temporary, the only thing for certain is that nothing is for certain ;-)
If people enhance their spirituality be it by meditation, spirituality of some kind, religion of some kind....whatever works for them I think it helps to find an inner peace and happiness. Then the fleeting moments of happiness, start to even up with and slowly overtake the moments of suffering.
Feb 23, 2013 6:07pm
chopsooy
Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment.
Feb 24, 2013 9:30am
aguy
Happiness definitely doesn't come from material things.
Feb 24, 2013 6:14pm
chopsooy
I agree. Although it can feel kind of nice and exciting when you get a new smart phone or such ;-) But yeah, material things don't bring prolonged true happiness. Thanks for dropping in and reading my article.
Apr 5, 2013 1:24pm
LavenderRose
It was amazing to me just how quiet it was when I started getting rid of all of those little analyzing creatures living in my head. We really do carry around too much junk. Great read!
Apr 5, 2013 7:05pm
chopsooy
Yes, one of the hardest things to do is stop the internal chatter in our minds. Even if we find peace from external factors often internal talk disrupts finding pure empty peace. It's hard to let go of all the junk isn't it. Thanks for commenting LavenderRose!
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Bibliography

  1. Richard Paterson "The Definition of Happiness? Pleasure, Joy or Authentic Happiness." www.find-happiness.com. 22/02/2013 <Web >

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