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I cannot seem to be happy. 

And I never believe those who claim to be happy. 

Thinking they simply cannot be.

Because how can they be happy if I cannot? To my mind, happiness is like a cruel stepmother. When it does visit me, I suffer more harm than good. It covers me like a beautiful downpour and then it ends – leaving me sadder than ever.

So, what exactly is happiness that these so-called happy people talk about? 

• Is it removing the past, remaining in the present, and imagining the future? 

• Is it the freshness of the moment?

The other day I saw a picture of flying monks on the Himalayas & their faces had a radiant glow. It was emanating from within. Occasionally, I have come across street children, beaming from ear to ear, their faces so brightly joyful they could have graced the cover of any magazine.

Why did these pictures have such an impact on me? 

For one, I intuitively felt that the happiness that was being displayed was distinct from the “happiness” I constantly hear people talk about.

It struck me like a bolt of lightning but it stayed in my soul forever.

Can Happiness Be Forever?

In my quest to understand what true happiness is – there are many definitions floating around – I decided to go through a few books on the topic. 

On this journey, I discovered a startling truth. I thought happiness was something else. When it is actually something completely different. 

Like a young child discovering a hidden wrapped-up treasure and sitting down to open it quietly to see what’s inside, I found the treasure of understanding what happiness is definitely not. 

Only when I discover what happiness is not, can I start searching for and experiencing true happiness.

Makes sense?  Then, let’s get cracking.

Happiness And Pleasure Are Not The Same Things.

Pleasure is influenced by time, object and place. It is as fleeting as a bird flying past your window. For instance, you adore your special McDonald’s Burger as it can lift your mood from ordinary to a state of purported happiness. But if you eat it every day, you will quickly become tired of it. Make no mistake. Initially while relishing the burger, you were experiencing pleasure. Not happiness.

Happiness Is When You Achieve A State Of Well-Being. 

Well-being is not a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a profound sense of tranquillity and fulfillment. It is a magnificent state that pervades and underlines all emotional states, including all the joys and sorrows. Nobody understands the whims of nature like a fisherman. One day the sea is calm. The next may be stormy. However, the fisherman will also tell you that the depth of the sea is always the same, despite weather variations. Unlike pleasure which is fleeting, happiness is a permanent state of well-being.

But again, does real happiness matter? 

I occasionally think that real happiness can be imposing. I enjoy the intensity and energy of my current life. Happiness will simply get in the way. In fact, there are instances I even enjoy suffering because I experience “Happiness” (what I believe to be ‘happiness”) when it ceases for a while.

On second and third thought, no one wakes up in the morning thinking he or she wants to suffer all day. 

We all have a deep yearning for true happiness. 

According to Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, “Even the one who hangs himself is looking for cessation of suffering.”

Happiness Determines The Quality Of Our Life.

It is like this. Some say the earth is round. Others may say the earth is flat. But the wise one may choose not to debate. More than the earth is flat or round, he understands this.

You Should Be Happy To Live A Life Worth Living. 

To learn more on how to move forward in our pursuit of happiness, see part 2 of this blog.

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