What is happiness, and why do we constantly run after it?
What does it mean to be happy?
What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?
It is a hot summer day, and you feel thirsty. A friend offers you a refreshing cold glass of lemonade. How do you feel when you see the glass? How do you feel when to drink it?
Will you describe your feeling as happiness or as pleasure? I believe you will say it is a feeling of pleasure. There is a connection between these two kinds of feelings, and sometime one evokes the other, but they are not the same thing.
Pleasure is perceived through the five senses, while happiness is not dependent of the five senses.
Pleasure is a good feeling that comes from eating good food, watching a good movie, feeling the warm caressing rays of the sun on a winter day, or having fin at a party. Pleasure has to do with enjoyment involving the five senses and is dependent on circumstances, objects and people.
When you are happy, minor unpleasant events usually do not disturb you, but when you are unhappy, you feel as if everything is against you. You might compensate for this, by eating chocolate and sweets, because this gives you pleasure.
You may smoke a cigarette, because it gives you pleasure, but this does not make you happier, especially, if you acknowledge the fact that smoking is not good for your health.
There are people, who fear that if they experience happiness, it will be soon taken away from them. They regard it as a temporary state, and are afraid to experience it, lest they lose it. They want to avoid the pain that might follow when it goes away. They believe that happiness is always followed by unhappiness.
Others might go to the extreme of not seeking it at all, because they feel unworthy of it, and prefer to avoid it. There are also people, who always look behind their back, wondering, wherefrom will come the blow.
The physical world is always in a state of flux. At each moment, a new thing is being created, sustained, changed, transformed and then destroyed. This is the normal state of affairs, and no one can change it.
No situation remains as it is. These are the laws of nature.
This means that if we attach ourselves to a certain situation, we are bound to experience unhappiness sooner or later.
When circumstances change, and the changes are not to our liking, we experience unhappiness. On the other hand, if we exercise detachment, nothing can influence our moods. Then, external events have nothing to do with our inner joy and peace of mind.
From the moment of birth, there is yearning for happiness, and endless race towards it. It is considered as one of the greatest positive attributes. If we analyze our actions, we see that all of them are in some way or another, happiness oriented. Everyone wants to feel good and happy. When circumstances and events are to our liking, we are happy, and when they are not, we feel miserable.
Happiness Is Within Us
When do we experience this desired state of happiness?
This state emerges when a problem has been solved, a burden has been lifted, or a fear has disappeared.
We also experience it when or a desire or ambition has been fulfilled, or when we acquire or receive something we wanted very much. It comes when we are assured of the love of someone dear to us, when we win a sum of money in the lottery, or when we get good grades at school.
What happens at these times? The tension that has been accumulating while we were pursuing, waiting, expecting or desiring is released. There is no more any need to run after the coveted object or evade a fear, and there is no tension, worry or burden. At this moment happiness appears from within, and there is also inner peace.
At these times, we have no need to think, worry or desire a certain object, event or circumstances, because we got or accomplished it. There is a kind of a mental relaxation, which makes happiness manifest.
This is as if the mind, which was filled with desire, worry or fear is now empty of them. There is freedom, a feeling of ease, inner peace and joy.
Watch your mind next time you experience happiness and see what is happening. You will discover that your mind becomes quiet, and its constant chatter stops for a while. In this situation, happiness emerges into your awareness.