What is Happiness? Where does it come from?
Theoretically speaking, if happiness comes from an object, then that object should always give us the same happiness. But in real life, we find that this is not true. What used to make us happy at one time, now gives us misery, whether it is a person or an object. Everyone must have experienced this. People who at one time adored each other, later hate each other and they cannot stand each other any more. Objects that are craved, and acquired with great difficulty, later produce misery. These occurrences show that happiness is not external and that it does not lie in objects. It makes perfect sense. How can there be lasting happiness in things that keep changing?
Then where is happiness? Where does it come from? Since it is not in any external objects, the natural and rational conclusion must be that Happiness exists within oneself.
Then the question arises, “If Happiness exists within, then why don’t we feel it all the time?”
When we are in deep sleep, we have no problems and we have no misery. People who are fast asleep hate to be awakened. They get angry at the person who roused them from their blissful sleep. But as soon they wake up, almost always, there is unhappiness or restlessness. The pure joy present in sleep has disappeared. So what was the difference between deep sleep and wakefulness? The Mind.
It is the Mind that rises up from deep sleep. Therefore, we must conclude that it is the Mind that obstructs the Happiness we felt when we were sleeping peacefully.
What is this Mind? The Wise Ones explain as follows. Based on our inherent tendencies, a phantom Ego in the form of “I-Thought” first arises, and instantaneously generates a multitude of thoughts. This is what is called the personality. The bundle of thoughts is called the Mind. When these thoughts are expressed through the senses and illuminated by the all-powerful, all-pervading Being, we see and feel what you call “the world”. And it is all these that obstruct our ever-existing and ever-present Real Happiness. The Mind creates our problems and also challenges us to solve them. If we follow it, we will be lost in a maze of disturbing thoughts. When these thoughts are removed, it will be found that there is no such thing called Mind, but only pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss.
Then what about the fleeting happiness we feel sometimes in spite of the Mind, such as when a desire is fulfilled or something we dislike is removed? Actually, when a desire is fulfilled or something we dislike is removed, our mind becomes still for a moment and sinks in its true nature of Happiness. And this is what we usually call happiness. So it quietness of the Mind alone that is real Happiness.
The thing is that in deep sleep, even though we are peaceful and blissful, we are not aware of it. Only after we wake up, we say that we slept very well. But in the mean while, the Mind has risen and has obstructed our real nature which is Pure Being and Happiness.
So then, what should we do to gain that Happiness in the waking state which we felt in deep sleep even though we were not aware of it? All we have to do is to remove the obstruction that veils our inherent Happiness. There is no need to create Happiness because it is already there. All our efforts are only to get rid of the disturbing thoughts that hide our Happiness. The farther we stray away from our Real Self and get entangled in disturbing and restless thoughts and the world, the more unhappy and miserable we are. When some of us realize this error, we make efforts with the guidance of Wise Ones, to realize our Real Nature and rediscover True Happiness that is eternal.
At this point, a very important question arises. What about living our lives? How do we live our lives and perform actions while perceiving the world? The answer is, “Fulfill your purpose for which you are here. Rather, allow your purpose to fulfill itself without your ego’s interference. You cannot renounce your actions even if you want to. Perform your duty, your actions. But do so without attachment. Know and understand that your happiness is ever-present and that it is the Mind which creates unhappiness. Ignore the Ego and live happily, performing the actions that are meant to happen by themselves.”
So, we should always remember that Happiness is Within, and that nothing external can give us that unalloyed, pure joy. Let objects change, let people come and go, but the pure I-Am feeling never changes. And that pure I-Am is also pure Happiness.