Trying to be happy is something like trying to sleep. The more you try to sleep, the more you remain awake. In the same way, the more you try to be happy, the more unhappy you become.
The Futility of Seeking Happiness
Most people think that happiness is a faraway object — an object that they have to go out, search, find, catch, and hold on to so tightly that it won’t escape from their hands. To them, happiness is there, in the outside world, and they try to seek it in all sorts of ways. By acquiring material wealth. By filling their houses with possessions. By having as much sex as they can. By asserting their authority over others. By making a name of themselves. And so on and so forth. The more they seek happiness, however, the more it seems that happiness runs away from them. Just like the horizon recedes as we chase it, happiness seems to move away from us when we make an effort to approach it.
But why is that so? Why is it that people who constantly try to become happy rarely seem to experience happiness? The answer lies in the fact that happiness cannot be found in external sources, but only discovered within ourselves. That’s why no matter how much money, sex, or power you have, you won’t be happy. Happiness doesn’t lie in accomplishments, and so happiness can never be found in the future– it is a state of being that can only be experienced in this very moment. Seek it and it’s lost. Stop seeking it, and it’s found. In fact, it’s not correct to even say that it’s found — it has always been there, part of our nature, but by seeking it somewhere else, outside of ourselves, we’ve lost touch with it.
Taking a Deep Look Within
Feeling that we are not good enough as we are, we are trying to find a way to cover up our inner void by seeking happiness in the outside world. But regardless of how much effort we put, we still feel an inner emptiness and hunger. Money can fill our pockets but not our soul. Sex can bring us short-lasting physical gratification but not inner fulfillment. Power can make us appear strong in the eyes of others but can’t hide our inner weakness from our own eyes. When we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, nothing in the world can make us feel good about ourselves. External objects can temporarily boost our ego, but soon enough we are faced with our inner void again.
Take a deep look within and remind yourself of the moments when you felt truly, sincerely happy. I am talking about those moments when your heart was pulsating with joy, when you felt at peace with yourself and the world, when you felt that life has been turned into a beautiful celebration. I bet they were moments when you let go your efforts to control your life and surrendered to the here and now. Moments of love, creativity, play, meditation. Moments when you felt complete just the way you are. Moments when you forgot about trying to be happy.
Seek Happiness So You’ll Stop Seeking It
Seeking happiness, one cannot find it, and purposefully not seeking it means giving up on it. So what can one do?
The answer lies in seeking it, even if that seems futile. And not just seeking, but seeking with the totality of your being. Seeking it until nothing else is in your mind. Sounds crazy, huh? Let me explain.
The more you seek happiness, the more you will come closer to realizing that it’s nowhere to be found. The more you seek happiness, the more you see the pointlessness of seeking it. The more effort your put into seeking happiness, the more fed up seeking it you will be. In other words, the purpose of seeking happiness is to eventually stop seeking it!
So I am not the person to suggest you to sit down, do nothing, and passively wait for happiness to appear in your life. No, happiness doesn’t work that way. At the same time, I can’t hide from you the truth that happiness can’t be sought or found. But seeking does help, because it will at some point make you understand the whole stupidity of it. When that realization descends on you, you will get exactly what I mean. And once you get it, you will be able to fully let go of all efforts and embrace life as it is, and in that moment, in that state of being, you’ll experience happiness in its purest form. Then, you’ll feel nothing is lacking, and everything will become clear.