An old joke goes “Americans are the most spoilt nation on Earth, theirs is the only nation where happiness is guaranteed under the constitution.” A constitutional lawyer then interjects that the constitution only guarantees “the pursuit of happiness” and not actual happiness.
No government in the world can guarantee happiness, just the addition of the words – ‘pursuit of’ means everything and nothing.
So they are guaranteed the pursuit and that is the dilemma; is happiness a journey or a destination? Most people who find what we call happiness discover that it was within them all along, and yet they wasted money, time and effort to find it.
We chase it and grasp it for merely a moment, then like a butterfly it flitters away.
This world could be a perfect place tomorrow if we all decided to be happy. We know that can never happen because it would require too much denial.
Too many of us are defined by our pain, too many people hold on to past transgressions. In order to grasp happiness with both hands we have to let go of our pain. We often want to hold onto happiness with one hand and our pain with the other.
Some of us think happiness is the absence of sadness, but this isn’t so. They are not opposites and can live side by side in the same heart but one has to outweigh the other.
Therefore it is matter of focus, on what the eye sees but the heart doesn’t acknowledge. It involves knowing what is righteous not what is right, it involves seeing what is important.
So if happiness is a state of mind; how can we achieve it? It involves so many things.
It involves trading short-term pain for long term gain, it involves foregoing current happiness for future happiness.
Our lifespan has extended biologically but narrowed psychologically. Hence the saying “life is too short to think about that stuff, live for the moment.”
Our life is now just a moment, a pursuit of pleasure and not happiness.
Pleasure has taken the place of happiness and they are seen as the same thing. Pleasure is seen as a moment of happiness and happiness is seen as extended pleasure. Surely happiness is more than that?
Happiness is of itself, pleasure can trigger it but surely it was already there to begin with. On a biological level, happiness is a chemical endorphin released by your brain. On a spiritual level it is the achievement of peace and salvation.
This digital world lives at a digital speed. How can you tell a person living at the speed of light to slooooooooow down and think of the big picture?
That is why we cannot comprehend issues like climate change. We are too caught up in the moment to see life as something bigger than ourselves, bigger than pleasure, and longer than the moment.
Happiness is letting go. Letting go of your worries, letting go of your doubts, letting go of anger, letting go of pain and just being yourself. What you are then left with is happiness.