The Pursuit of Happiness and the Cure for Pain

Everybody is always looking for happiness. Endlessly searching as if they are on a quest to finally find Bigfoot. We buy a new flatscreen, a new iPhone every year as if the “changes” are worth it or even really needed, more makeup to hide ourselves to the point of not even being us anymore, a bigger house for a small family who doesn’t need it, and on and on.

We continue buying stuff all the time, hopping from relationship to relationship to escape being alone for one second with ourselves, looking to the bottom of bottle after bottle to find the cure for the pain—-the deliriousness that we are supposed to have at every waking moment but don’t. We largely have the media and guerrilla marketing to thank for this feeling of missing out on something. We’re being sold that happiness is in the unhealthy ownership of another human being in the disguise of a relationship or the collection of another piece of garbage that was probably made in China at the hands of slave labor anyway. If all this was meant to make us happy, then why are we all not sipping piña coladas out of coconuts in Hawaii with not a single sign of stress to be found?

The pursuit of having more is not sustainable. It is no more sustainable nor healthy than fossil fuels, but that is for another article. Every person I have met who only pursued(s) material gain was not happy. They were/are all miserable.

Happiness is not some elusive cryptid that has yet to be discovered. Happiness can be found in this moment as you are reading these words. It all starts in appreciating what you have right now. Not what you will one day have, but what you have right in this moment. I know it’s an annoying concept, but it’s true nonetheless. We all feel happiest when we are grateful for everything we have and for everything we have learned. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be gratitude for a flower on the path of your stroll through nature, or that bird that swoops into your yard every morning to sing. Anything can be a blessing if you appreciate it enough.

The ailments of many people essentially begins with ingratitude for what they have. When we are feeling upset we are rejecting something—-we don’t accept something that has occurred. Alternatively, we feel happiest when we are feeling gratitude for something—we are accepting something. So, the next time you feel upset, instead of thinking about how much you hate your life and everything about it, try just taking a moment to reflect upon what gets you out of bed instead. Think of the things, lessons, and people whose presence have made your life more worthwhile, or further yet, find a way to appreciate the lesson a negative occurrence might be trying to teach you. Find a way to win either way. Don’t let loss be an option when you could be a winner no matter what happens. A valuable lesson can be found anywhere, and it won’t be easy, but a miserable state of existence does not have to be permanent. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You won’t be able to do anything when you’re on your deathbed.

One must also recognize that one is not a failure for not being deliriously happy at all times. That is nothing but an illusion. The only permanence is impermanence, and we humans were not meant to feel only happiness. We have a wide spectrum of emotions that we are meant to feel. If we were only meant to feel happiness then that would be the only emotion available to us. All of our emotions are there to be felt at one point or another. The key is balance, and one must be careful not to identify with these emotions because they are what we have not what we are. That’s why it is important to say “I feel…” Rather than “I am…”. Emotions are nothing more than reactions to the world around us. They become a problem when they take control such as in the case of depression, anxiety, anger issues, et cetera—all things that I have struggled with. Emotions are there for survival and learning. We cannot know light without darkness and vice versa. They are a tool of life rather than our identification. Your I.D. reads your name rather than your ruling emotions.

There will likely come a time when (if you live your life according to your spirit and authenticity) you will experience satisfaction with your life, and that is ultimately what everyone dreams of to some degree. What most don’t consider is the fact that once you reach that point of satisfaction that is ultimately when your life ends. That is when your contribution and life’s work has been completed. There is nothing more for you to give (besides charity and volunteer work at this point). At this stage many people will feel happiness or melancholy for not having anything else to do or feeling as if they have not done enough, but here again lies the problem of ingratitude for what they have already accomplished. Don’t rush yourself to the end. Take the time to savor life’s pleasures and even the sorrows one bite at a time rather than in one sitting because once it’s done, it is done. The day we are happy is the day our journeys have ended. Satisfaction is the last line of the last page contained within the story of your life. For one must recognize that happiness generally doesn’t exist in the world of the creator/artistry of anything, and if they have created anything while high on the drug of happiness, it is likely not beautiful enough to move a person. Inspiration comes form pain, not fortune, and that is precisely why pain is needed. Everything has a use, so please do not berate yourself for not being delusionally happy all the time. Simply create and appreciate.