We all seek happiness, the bank robber, as well as the preacher. The Pursuit of Happiness is fundamental. So why aren’t we happy? We have happy moments, but as we become older, the happy moments become fewer and farther between, and then constantly trying to keep ourselves happy becomes a burden in itself. Why is this? It is because the happiness of our youth is now seen for what it truly was; only brief respites in this journey called life.
Happiness is the carrot that hangs just in front of our noses, but whenever we take a step toward it, the carrot moves as well, because the carrot can never be attained. To admit this, and to further admit that life, itself, is conflict, flies in the face of all that we have been preached to by our leaders. But could admitting that life is conflict be the beginning of true happiness? When we stop looking for unending happiness within our experience of life, where we have not been able to find it, then we will necessarily have to look elsewhere.
What we have been doing for untold years isn’t working. New relationships, different clothes, new jobs, cars, houses, towns — holding on, letting go, waiting . . . for something, yet our happiness is as fleeting and ephemeral as the morning mist. We have convinced ourselves repeatedly that whatever it is that we are waiting for is just over that next mountain, but when we scramble up our mountains and excitedly look over the top for our deliverance, all we see is the next mountain. For what are we searching?
So why not at least consider something new? What do we have to lose? Why not consider that the problem lies not in what is out there that will make us happy, but with what is inside that creates the worry and fear that always ruins our happy moments? But what could this monstrous thing be that causes our precious happiness to slip away time after time? The answer to this is what will make us truly happy, and the answer can only be found inside of our “selves. "
Copyright © E. Raymond Rock 2007. All rights reserved
E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center (http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com ). His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers (http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com ).