When I ask you “What do you want?” What pops into your mind?
You may have thought of a loving relationship, a big house, a fancy car, a better job, a child, millions of dollars, etc.
But none of those things are what you REALLY want.
What you really want is to feel good all the time.
This is the fundamental desire that has been programmed into every human.
This is why we move away from pain and towards pleasure.
But is it possible to feel good all the time?
The answer will depend on what “feeling good” means to us?
For most of us feeling good means having things go our way.
If that’s what feeling good means to you then you won’t be able to feel good all the time.
Subconsciously we all know that things won’t ALWAYS go our way.
We know we’ll have to deal with pain and loss eventually.
And because of this most of us are living with underlying existential angst.
We ignore this internal state and focus on the external world.
We get captivated by worldly desires and think that if we get this or if we get that then we will finally be happy.
Or at least we will feel happy for the moment.
And by the way what is happiness?
When we ask someone are you happy? What we mean is do you generally feel good?
But a person’s reply will often have to do with how things have been going as of late.
If lately, things have been going my way then I am happy, if they haven’t then I’m not so happy.
For most people happiness is momentary pleasure which is usually dependent on external causes.
When we hear the statement “happiness is not something we derive externally” something about it rings a bell. (dingggg)
This resonates because true happiness is already within you and you subconsciously know it. And this happiness is nothing like your idea of momentary pleasure or having things go your way.
True happiness is our deepest most natural state, what yogis refer to as unreasonable joy. It’s feeling good for no reason whatsoever.
True happiness like true love is unconditional.
The reason why we are unable to experience this state is because we are caught up in ignorance or delusion.
This entanglement is a natural part of life but we can release the knot.
This is what the meditative, contemplative, spiritual path is all about.
It is illuminating the ignorance of our minds and waking up to the truth.
It is our choice whether we take this path or not.
It may seem more appealing to live in the momentary pleasure paradigm, where life is all about getting the most pleasure out of the external world.
But this is a dead-end road.
When we apply the law of diminishing returns we realize that the more moments of pleasure we experience the less pleasurable subsequent moments become.
The first piece of chocolate cake is amazing, the second is good, the third is nauseating.
When your child first brings home an A you feel great but if they do it on a consistent basis it becomes a norm. Then when they bring home a B all of a sudden you don’t feel so good.
This principle can be applied to any “external happiness” or having things go “your way”.
Even if you could have things always go your way would that make you happy?
Probably not. Eventually, you would get bored with life and would want some things to not go your way.
You can never get what you truly want from the external world.
You know this to be true but you don’t want to believe it.
You want to believe that whatever you are searching for is out there, outside of you.
The paradox is that our pursuit of pleasure is what keeps causing us pain.
So what is the solution?
Realize that everything outside of you is ultimately a distraction.
I’m not saying to avoid going to work or changing your baby’s diaper.
Jesus said it “live in the world but not of it”.
Sit with that general state of existential angst.
That feeling that you are somehow not ok and need something to make you better.
Examine why you feel this way? What is underlying this feeling?
Watch where your mind goes in moments of silence.
Where are you getting caught up?
What are you attaching to and what are you resisting?
Examine your pain and your fear.
Look closer and deeper.
You can transform this feeling of not being ok into total peace and contentment.
You can get to a place where you don’t need things to go your way.
A place where life’s way becomes your way.
Which means that everything is always perfect.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain or unpleasant emotions.
But you are ok no matter what happens. Regardless of what pain may arise or what loss may occur.
You realize life can be no other way than it is.
You accept, you surrender and you embrace.
And through this process, you step into a state of unreasonable joy or true happiness.
You realize what you always wanted was always there.