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The Illusion of Happiness
It seems like the most important search of man is to find happiness; happiness that he can experience again and again, as often as he wants and where ever he wants. The entire movement of man seems to be about finding his way to happiness.
So what is this happiness? Is it possible to scientifically understand and measure it? Is it worthwhile to pursue it? Let us understand a little more about it.
From our daily experiences we can clearly say that happiness is simply a state of our mind. Our mind has the ability to dream and desire for certain things, and when what is desired happens we experience elation from within, which we express in the form of happiness.
So in essence, happiness is simply our minds way of approving itself. It has nothing to do with the external reality of the world. For example, let us say you are playing a game of throwing the darts. Every time you fail, there is a subtle feeling of sadness, and once in a while when you succeed, you feel a certain emotion that you call happiness.
It is as if your failure and the resulting sadness is what is creating the necessary condition for your happiness. Just imagine how long you would be happy if you were able to hit the dart on target every time; you would of course soon lose interest in the game.
Happiness may simply be the game we play. The more challenging the game and the more difficult it is to accomplish it, the happier we feel when we succeed.
In fact, happiness and sadness are simply two extreme poles of a single emotion, and both feed off each other. It is our sadness that gives meaning to our happiness and it is our happiness that defines our sadness.
So can we really choose just one part of the emotion that we like and leave the other? Unfortunately no. The hard fact about the nature of our mind and life is that the forces of happiness and sadness are always balanced.
It just doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, how successful or unsuccessful you are, how rich or poor you are, your levels of happiness and sadness are always balanced. It is a mathematical fact that if you subtract all your happiness from your sadness the net result will be a zero.
This is the greatest illusion of happiness. We keep moving ahead in life thinking that we are trying to become more happy; but end up only changing the game we play; the result of which we already know.
There are poor people who are happy, and there are rich people who are sad. There are successful people who are unhappy, and failures who are happy. There are people with physical disabilities who are happy and there are athletes and models who are unhappy. It seems like happiness is completely independent of our lifestyles. There are no happy and unhappy people in the world, there are only people who are happy and unhappy.
Somehow, happiness doesn’t seem like the right yardstick to measure our lives. There has to be something more to life than just being happy or unhappy.