During the pandemic, a lot of the things that brought us joy and happiness in life fell away. We weren’t able to go to parties anymore, or travel the world, nor meet up with friends. We were restricted to our own homes, small confinement’s, and had to find happiness in other places. We were forced to find new ways of being happy, without outside stimulus.
This has proven to be hard because finding happiness isn’t something we can do. We can do things we love, like meeting up with friends, playing games, or dancing, but for that, we don’t need to seek happiness. We just do these things and in return, they make us happy for a short time.
But during the pandemic, we didn’t have these things. So we had to be happy on our own, and a lot of people started to look for happiness inside them. Sadly, I think, a lot of this searching for happiness has lead to a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Resulting in less enjoyment of life, maybe even depression, deep sadness, or anxiety.
As the world is slowly opening again, I wanted to help you. How? Through helping you understand the one thing that will always result in happiness. Soon we will be able to go out again and do the things that bring us happiness, but I want to give you an ongoing practice that will help you to detach from these things. To not rely on them for happiness anymore.
That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy these things. No please go out, enjoy life. I am doing so too, go out meet friends, have fun. That’s part of life too. Yet through understanding this one thing I am about to help you understand, you will deepen your relationship with life, and therefore with our natural state of joy.
The Question is, Why Do We Want to Be Happy All The Time?
To deepen our relationship with life, I love to ask myself the ‘why’ question. I think that asking ourselves why we feel things or think about things in a particular way clarifies a lot. That clarity then provides us with new insights and a deeper relationship with life. This is what we are after in this article.
Happiness is one of those feelings we enjoy the most. There is love, excitement, compassion, joy, but all of these seem to be a bit undervalued these days. Happiness in life seems to be one of the biggest topics, but why? Why do we want to be happy as much as possible in life? Are all the rest of the human experiences less valuable than happiness?
Happiness is one of those feelings that is quite easy to experience and yet feels great. It’s why we want to experience it more. We could go and scroll on social media and dopamine will do its thing to make you feel happy. That experience quickly fades, and then you want more of it.
It’s why we want to find more happiness in life. It’s sort of an addiction, to find what makes us happy, and do that. Disregarding all the other experiences that are beautiful in life as well. But doesn’t this search for more happiness show a deep sense of greed and desire? The desire to experience more happiness? The greed to be happier? I know happiness is a great thing to experience in life, but our desire, and desperate need to find happiness, and be happier in life is doing more harm than you love.
You could compare your need to be happy in life with a kid that always wants to have more toys or candy. These are things that make the kid feel good and happy. This means it craves more of it, but we know better as adults, and we know that the desire for more of these things is harmful. So is our need to find happiness, to experience more happiness in life. It’s harmful because it denies the value and beauty of all the other human experiences outside happiness.
This form of happiness that comes from outside things, of desire, isn’t sustainable. Not just that, but it quickly fades away only hours after the experience. This form of happiness is attached to things, people, activities outside ourselves. These things fade, and when we cling to them, our happiness fades as well. So, do I suggest that you shouldn’t go out and enjoy these things?
Why It’s So Hard To Experience Lasting Happiness
Not at all. I am not saying that we shouldn’t enjoy these things, we should, but only because they arise naturally. Now, what do I mean by that? It means that we do not cling to happiness from specific things, we just live life and experience happiness whenever it arises.
This is the one thing that can make our lives happier. I explained how we desire to experience more and more happiness, but we shouldn’t want to desire happiness, we should be at peace, be content. Just think back to being a child, or any particularly great moment in your life. Chances are you felt content, safe, peaceful. You didn’t need to go after anything, you didn’t need to achieve, change, or grow. You could just enjoy life. Like on a Holiday.
I think we forget that there is more to life than just happiness itself, there are more experiences, and finding peace with all of these experiences in return will result in a sense of enjoyment and happiness in life.
You could just relax at the beach, read a book, listen to the birds, hear the sea ebbing and flowing, you could play in the water, feel the sun. All of this is nothing more than life. You didn’t need to do anything. You could just be. Live. Experience. That contentment, that peacefulness inside, that we have all experienced throughout our lives at some point will lead to happiness. I think we forget that there is more to life than just happiness itself, there are more experiences, and finding peace with all of these experiences in return will result in a sense of enjoyment and happiness in life.
That’s the one thing we can do. To be at peace. At peace with experiences like love, and sadness, excitement and boredom, compassion and resentment, all these are part of life, some not as enjoyable as others. Some more harmful than others if we express them out into the world. Yet that’s the whole point. We believe that we should experience a life full of happiness in pleasurable and fun moments. This means that when we are sad, we can’t feel content with life. Or that when we are angry, we feel the need to get rid of it, which results in an outburst of anger that does more harm than good.
This means we are always striving, looking, changing, comparing, in order to feel more happiness in life. Instead of just experiencing what it is that we are going through right now. Whether that be happiness, or sadness, stress, anxiety, and all the rest of it. We are constantly trying to achieve a state of happiness, and just like an athlete needs to work tremendously hard to achieve a gold medal, we need to work tremendously hard if we want to achieve happiness. Doesn’t that sound tiring? Exhausting?
>We can’t work tremendously hard to experience more happiness. Cause that hard work, will result in tension, stress, pressure, comparison, all taking away from a joyful life.
It’s exactly why it has been so hard to experience happiness during the past months because this time happiness didn’t come from outside things, it had to come from within. Yet we were still applying that same achievement mindset to experiencing this inner joy. When it comes to experiencing happiness, contentment, joy in life, it can’t be achieved. It doesn’t work the same way we achieve big goals outside ourselves. We can’t work tremendously hard to experience more happiness. Cause that hard work, will result in tension, stress, pressure, comparison, all taking away from a joyful life.
That experience of joy and happiness in life can only come about from one thing, that is peace, and contentment with life.
The One Thing We Can Do
You see, our search for happiness is leading us nowhere. It’s making us more miserable because we cannot be happy right now. We need to do, be, or achieve something in order to experience happiness. That’s absurd. It means that a baby, a kid cannot be just happy. It isn’t allowed to be happy unless it has a valid reason to be so.
The same goes for us, we are searching for happiness which means nothing more than that we are searching for a valid reason to be happy. Let’s stop that nonsense and start being happy for no other reading than to be alive. Just be alive, and at peace with whatever life is. No this is not something to do or to achieve. If you make this a goal, to be alive, or be at peace it yet again becomes something to do.
What we should want is to simply experience the sensation of reading, of what’s going on within you right now. There’s a quote I came across the other day by Alan Watts. This captures the entire essence of what living a good life is all about.
The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. ~ Alan Watts
We are so obsessed with gaining, comparing, achieving, finding a purpose in life, finding a reason to be happy, that we forget, overlook the very simplicity of life. That all we need is to be alive. Which isn’t a need. It’s not a desire to be alive. You can’t desire to be alive, because you already are alive. Without doing anything for that. Your heart is beating, your lungs breathing. Nothing you need to do about that.
Awareness leads to peace in life, and peace leads to enjoyment of life.
To be alive is nothing more than observance, awareness, of everything life is. Everything you are. The good and the bad, and actually if you can observe there is no difference between good and bad. There are just experiences. All equal. All part of life. Awareness leads to peace in life, and peace leads to enjoyment of life. Because if you are at peace nothing can bother you, and you see that our natural state of being is in happiness, we don’t need to do anything to experience that, other than to be alive, which we cannot, not do. It’s something to be.
How Can You Be More Aware, More Alive?
So searching for happiness is a great waste of energy. Seeing happiness as something to achieve wastes a whole lot of this wonderful experience of life. The one thing we can do, but not as a goal, or something to achieve, is being at peace. Experience everything fully, make no exceptions. Experience anger as it is, the sensation of it. As well as joy, and love. Experience it as it is. Without attachment, holding onto it, without a desire, achievement, or comparison.
Do not say ‘I do not want to experience anger, or sadness’, with that you are also excluding their counterparts, like excitement, and contentment. One goes with the other
Now don’t make exceptions on what you do want to experience or not. Do not say ‘I do not want to experience anger, or sadness’, with that you are also excluding their counterparts, like excitement, and contentment. One goes with the other. A full experience of anger leads to a full experience of peace and love. A full experience of sadness leads to a full experience of happiness. If you don’t experience sadness, you’ll not fully experience happiness. There will simply be no room for happiness to come in. That room will still be occupied by sadness. These experiences are one, inseparable.
So what are you experiencing now? Is it an annoyance because you don’t agree with me? Or is it excitement because you feel like you had a breakthrough? Or is it confusion because you don’t yet understand it fully. All of it is fine. Experience it, fully. That’s the one thing we can do that leads to a happier, more enjoyable life. A life without a fight, or resistance. One that flows freely. In that, we will find freedom. Let’s live a life without the need to achieve a state of happiness, let’s relax, be, live.
Because today you live. That’s all that matters. Make the most of it.
If you want to experience more clarity on this topic and transform your life, by starting on a journey of self-discovery. By feeling at peace with whatever life is for you right now. To learn how you can tap into your inner wisdom, and understand your life’s problems. So that you can feel more alive.
Then I want to invite you to listen to the Just Now Podcast. The Just Now podcast is a place for you to just be for a moment. To feel, experience, and understand what it means to be alive. The episodes all give extra clarity on topics discussed in the articles I write, through short mindful guided meditations and reflective questions. Serving as a daily check-in to yourself.
I hope to speak to you there, for now, remember today you live! Make the most of it.