Happiness & Expectations:
Let’s just say hypothetically, you wake up in the morning, and there’s a cup of coffee on the table waiting for you, prepared by someone else for you. You drink the coffee and realize that it’s cooler than normal. You like your coffee hot, but this time it’s just warm. There is a response to this experience: You are a little agitated, a little angry, and you express it. You say, “This coffee isn’t hot. I like my coffee to be hot!” The next day you are waiting for your coffee, subconsciously expecting that it might taste just like the previous cup. This time when you taste the coffee, it’s exactly how you like it – it’s at a perfect temperature. Now, there is your moment of happiness.
In this whole episode, where is the experience of happiness? Is it in the coffee, your mouth, or the cup? Where exactly is this experience of happiness? Happiness is a very simple phenomenon. In this example, happiness is neither in the coffee, nor is it in the taste; happiness is simply hidden in your own expectations. In fact, happiness is nothing but another face of expectation. The first time you drank the cup of coffee there was an expectation that it would be hot. When it turned out to be cold, the response was unhappiness. What caused unhappiness? It was not the coffee, but your expectation of how the coffee should be.
Throughout the day, this plays along in your experiences. Subconsciously, you have picked up expectations of how things should be, based on your previous experiences. You have expectations about people, their behavior, your own emotions, and the overall society. These expectations have become a part of your daily living. When things happen that support your expectations, you are happy. If not, you are unhappy. In this sense, there is no such thing as happiness in existence; it is 100% a mental phenomenon. Happiness is a very simple, moment-to-moment response to expectations, and it cannot be the highest goal of a human being.