Body - Mind - Heart - Spirit

Hi everyone,

Hope all is well. I am posting after almost a year now. I started school this year and it has been an interesting experience trying to find balance between work and school. Anyways, it's good to be back here and I thought I'd share a thought I have had for a while.

Here it goes - if the goal is to be happy and if happiness is the effect, then it makes sense to do and possess everything (school, job, family, wealth and so on and so forth) that will hopefully lead to happiness within oneself. However, there are possible problems with this statement. First, one may find an ideal job but there is no guarantee that it will remain ideal forever. The job might evolve over a time and so could one's definition of an ideal job. This will easily lead to dissatisfaction. Second, one could lose an ideal job. This will lead to constant fear of uncertainty. Third, an ideal job may not lend itself to an ideal performance at the job. If one is attached (to the results), then unfavorable results will only lead to frustration and anguish.

Of course, I am not trying to paint a gloomy picture as it may be possible to let it go, find another job and move on. But there is an important point I want to highlight. What if happiness is not just an effect? What if one does not need a reason to be happy about? What if happiness could be a cause? What if it is possible to be happy because one can and is prepared to be? Then may be it is possible for one to create happiness (cause) just as much, if not more, by doing and possessing everything else that will lead to happiness (effect).

Hope to hear everyone's comments and thoughts.


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It's definitely a neverending cycle, if you are happy, you are going to more effective at doing things that make you happy and more good things will come to you. I do think that people need to conciously decide to find happiness before they ever can. In Buddhism the idea is that happiness is completely within and can not come from any other place. I think it depends on your definition of happiness though. Some people think that happiness is having everything they've ever wanted, others think it is being free from attachments and just being alive. Speaking for myself, the happier I become, the more great things happen to me and make me happier. It needed to start within though to ever start that cycle.
You bring up a good point that this discussion depends on one's definition of happiness. If one defines it in terms of owning something, one runs the risk of trying hard to own it. In another words, trying hard to be happy. If one defines it in terms of inner peace, then there is no need to try so hard. At the same time, there is no compulsion to own many things. This seems like an easy choice to make. Yet, against the towering influence of materialism, this choice may not be so obvious.
It's obvious to us, here on a network for those looking for some kind of spiritual pearls of wisdom, but to the rest of the US (I can't speak for other countries) it is not obvious at all. People spend their whole lives trying to get a hummer, or trying to make millions off some company. The young people are so indoctrinated to buy buy buy, it's all they know. The whole idea of living a simple life is lost on them. To most around here, material wealth completely equates to personal happiness.

In truth, happiness is the natural state of the mind, we just set ourselves up by saying; 'if I do/have/find/meet/learn/get THAT, then I will be happy'. We program ourselves where none is needed.
Shailendra and Josephine:

Great thread of discussion on a very deep and timely topic. Everybody is looking for the magic called "happiness," yet a very few know the true source of it. "Happiness is within" has almost become a cliche. Yet, sages, seers, poets, philosophers of ages have reached the same conclusion. They also agree that happiness is the basic nature of our being - Sat - Chit - Ananda, i.e., our essential nature is Truth (Sat), Consciousness (Chit), and Bliss (Ananda). No doubt, as Shailendra has discovered, happiness is indeed the cause, and not just the effect.

I would like to share with you all the following back-cover write-up by Swami Chinmayananda in his booklet "The Pursuit of Happiness." He very eloquently reiterates the age-old dictum that happiness is indeed within:

The Pursuit of Happiness

"The authors of the US Declaration of Independence declared that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain rights, including 'the pursuit of happiness.' However, they gave no hints as to where this elusive happiness might be found. Over 3,000 years earlier in the serene atmosphere of the Himalayas ranges the Vedic sages drew the same conclusion, then proceeded to investigate into the nature of happiness. They wanted to know where happiness was located and how to find it. In their careful observations, they noted three facts:

1. Man's search for happiness is a universal tendency.

2. Everyone is searching for a lasting happiness in a world of change.

3. A permanent happiness must be independent of a changing environment.

Arriving at these conclusions, the sages turned their inquiry inward to discover a substratum of permanence on which the changing phenomena rose and fell. In the short essays in The Pursuit of Happiness, Swami Chinmayananda lucidly communicates the conclusions drawn by these subjective scientists who realized their own divine nature, then proposed a way of life so that others might follow them on the inner journey to the true source of happiness."

Source: The Pursuit of Happiness by Swami Chinmayananda


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