Why You Cannot Stay Happy
What is the purpose of life?
If asked this question, you’ll probably hear much philosophical jargon and a few ‘I don’t know’s’. One answer that you get a lot is ‘to be happy’.
But what does it mean to be happy and is the search for happiness a serious quest?
What is Happiness?
Positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky described happiness as – “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”.
By this definition alone, you can see that happiness as an experience must be fleeting – it is there one moment and gone the next. One of the fundamental eastern spiritual doctrines is that anything fleeting is illusory by its nature – Buddhists call this Samsara.
If happiness has an illusory nature, being a product of perception and therefore fleeting, is it something to aspire to? Or is there something deeper?
The Correlation Between Happiness and Peace
Notice how the happier we perceive ourselves to be, the more at peace we will be. Or is it the other way around? Or is one of them reliant on the other? Is it possible that the feeling of happiness is a by-product of being at peace? Let me try and explain.
As an example – if we make a large chunk of money, we will become happier. Does that happiness stem from the inner peace we get by knowing that we no longer have to worry about our financial concerns?
Another example – when our children achieve something, it makes us feel happy. Is that happiness coming from the inner peace we get by knowing they are succeeding?
What if the happiness we think we aspire to, is an unconscious seeking for inner peace? A foundation of peace that is unwavering with any external event. I believe that inner peace is the breeding ground of happiness.
We should not be seeking happiness; we should be seeking inner peace.