Cultivating Happiness As A State Of Mind
The reason why so many people struggle to find happiness
Happiness is a state of mind, our natural state of being. So why do so many people struggle to find it?
Humans have been asking this question for thousands of years. Philosophers and scholars have pondered over the question “how to find happiness” since ancient times, yet most of us haven’t found the answer yet. Even though we have everything we need to ‘be happy’, a sense of emptiness lingers in our psyche and we just don’t know what to do about it.
If you feel a sense of emptiness and unfulfilment and you don’t know where it comes from, you’re not alone. Keep on reading to understand more about this void that haunts humanity.
Why do we struggle to cultivate happiness?
–Seeing ourselves as separate from each other and all beings
In our modern society, humans evolved into individualistic selfish beings. Our ego plays an important role in our survival and evolution. But the ego keeps us in a primitive state and creates a reality of separation. Humans got stuck in the ‘survival of the fittest‘ stage as explained by Charles Darwin. The ego drives us to engage into selfish actions despite hurting others.
But how can you cultivate happiness as a state of mind when you perceive yourself as separate from all beings? Separate from God, the Universe, Source, your Creator… whichever you want to call it.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
If we had to see ourselves as interconnected, we would be careful not to create suffering for others through our actions and words. We would be more kind and compassionate toward each other. Giving, helping others, and acts of kindness fill your heart with warmth and joy, more than anything you can buy for yourself. If we had to live by these words, our world would look totally different.
–Buying our way to happiness
Driven by our ego, we focus on frivolous things and chase the wrong goals. It seems like almost everyone is trying to achieve things that don’t really matter to them.
If you keep chasing the wrong goals, you find yourself feeling empty even after you reached your goals and achieved whatever you wanted to achieve. Because that’s how the ego works, it never stops craving for more.
You might find yourself asking what more could you possibly want? Before you know it, you start craving for another beautiful dress… a bigger TV… a bigger house… a higher position… a nicer car… a rich loving husband… a beautiful nurturing wife… the next cosmetic surgery….
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Materialistic things bring about temporary satisfaction, which is different from cultivating happiness as a state of mind.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’ and this is evident in the world around us. The same goes for beauty, fame, power and so on.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that money won’t make your life more comfortable, or that it’s evil in itself. The problem arises when you try to find happiness in it.
Material happiness will dissolve as everything that is of this world will eventually dissolve. But even though we are aware of all of this, it seems like we are under the same spell, unaware of what’s really going around us and, most importantly, within us.
Unless you bring awareness to this, you will continue to be driven by the same impulses, which will keep leaving you feeling empty and unsatisfied, feeling trapped in the same vicious cycle.
Self Reflection Exercise:
Take a moment to reflect closely on your goals and desires.
- What are you really trying to get out of them? What is the desired outcome?
- Which kind of feeling are you trying to cultivate with this achievement?
- What kind of sacrifices are you putting yourself through to fulfil your egoic desires?
- Will it be worth it?
These questions can help you discover whether your goals are authentic. Are your goals coming from your heart or are they egoic desires which lead to a dead-end?
What is the meaning behind this statement?
When you think about how to find happiness you might think that it’s subjective and related to individual desires which vary across cultures.
But cultivating happiness as a state of mind is attained the same way universally. People across different cultures and religions all point out the same fundamental virtues of moral character like Jesus, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Buddha.
If we had to put aside the social constructs and labels which separate us, we realize that there is a certain oneness between all living beings.
True happiness comes from within. We are born with it like a hidden treasure inside of us, waiting to be found. Yet most of us keep making the same mistakes, seeking happiness from the outside world, a world where everything is constantly changing and dissolving.
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you”
Waking up to the ultimate reality you realize what Jesus meant by this quote. Because the Kingdom of God is within you. Many people are not aware of this yet.
The ego acts like a dark veil that hides the universal Truth.
The Buddha talks about this statement in different words, by referring to enlightenment. Buddhists practice meditation and the letting go of egoic desires to cultivate happiness as a state of mind which can lead to spiritual awakening.
Be brave, sit with yourself, be grateful for all your blessings.
Sit with the uncomfortable thoughts and work your way through them, be still. The moment you bring Consciousness into your life, the moment you become Present in everything you are doing, the moment you surrender your thoughts and desires, you allow yourself to be happy with what is.
When you stop looking for it, happiness will find you.
Originally published at https://grace-being.com on January 1, 2022.