I Don’t Know What ‘Happiness’ Feels Like
Julia Rose
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Happiness is both real and accessible, but it doesn’t arise without practice and knowledge. It isn’t the same as having merely positive emotions, since we are more than our emotions. When we have an emotion, we may observe our emotions, and it is that observer who remains happy even as our bodies struggle with temporary negative feelings. It’s like how you can stub your toe and feel pain, but you know it’s just temporary and external to who you are, so it doesn’t ruin your day. Happiness is like that. Good and bad thoughts/emotions/sensations pass through us constantly, but if you have the wisdom to see how these things are external to us then we don’t need to feel genuinely threatened by them.

Happiness is also an internal state that cannot be described unless you have also experienced it, like any other kind of qualia. If you haven’t seen the color red than I can’t possibly explain the experience of seeing the color red, and the same goes with happiness. I life a life of happiness, but I couldn’t directly communicate to you the reality of that happiness, though I could communicate in part the path that got me there.

It’s easy to think that because you don’t yet know something that you’ll never know it. People have a habit of thinking they’re done changing at every stage of their life. The brain is plastic for our entire life, however, and change is always happening. Before someone knows happiness they might live a long life of not knowing it, but that doesn’t make happiness impossible to come to know. I hope eventually you discover it as I have.