In pursuit of happiness


Let’s face it, more than anything else in this World, we all just want to be happy right. Yet we struggle most of our lives seeking a proper vehicle to provide us with that happiness. Money, success, relationships, marriage, children, possessions, are all common factors that we believe will lead us to that blissful state. And each time we gain one of these factors we ultimately find we are still dissatisfied and desirous. But still we are usually thinking that if we just possessed one more of these desires, then our life would be fulfilled.

One of my favorite expressions that always makes me chuckle, is when someone speaks of sharing their life with someone. Think about what that really means. If I am in financial trouble, will you share that with me? If my arm is broken, will you share that physical pain with me? If I am happy about something, will you automatically be happy too? What does this sharing actually mean to each of us?
I see it as truly a perception and delusion that another being will take your suffering from you and offer you happiness. And what an unattainable responsibility to lay on another person!
I cannot make you happy or sad, we each do this to ourselves. Each of us are completely responsible for our own state of mind and how we interact with the World. Whether it is loving and kind, with acceptance and understanding; or with fear, anger, resentment and desire. Like Bhante Sujatha says, “empty empty, happy happy”.

Many years ago, Bhante Samita taught me a very important lesson. He said that no one can hurt your feelings, you can only hurt yourself. Which for some of you, I understand, may seem to be untrue. I’m sure you can easily think of people and instances where you felt someone really hurt you deeply, hurt your feelings. Perhaps the memory of that even stirs powerful emotions in you now, even though it happened many years ago.
But this is simply your mind, attaching, and with desire. Desire to control, fix, change what was said or done. Yet clearly we can see that this is not possible. And with closer examination, you might be able to see that it was your desire and ego that created this hurt to begin with. “They” did not do something to you, “You” did something to you! Your happiness was destroyed by your own ego and lack of understanding.
Which is why I constantly remind myself of the truth, “This is not mine, I am not this; this is not my self”. These are the Three Marks of Existence, and are inescapable. Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta.

I suggest, for each of you, to find the determination to look inward for your happiness. It does not now, nor ever has existed externally. There is no other being or object that can provide you with the peace and joy that you wish to experience. It has been right there at the tip of your nose your entire life. Now just breathe it in!

May you be well, happy and peaceful.