More than eighty-thousand books on happiness are available for purchase on Amazon. A happiness search on Google results in nearly seven billion articles. Billion!
Clearly a lot of people are searching for and reading about happiness. In fact, the packaging and selling of happiness is an industry estimated to be worth about $10 billion. That’s a lot of money and attention in the pursuit of happiness.
There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.
There is no amount of money you can make or spend that will lead to happiness.
There is no book you can read that will bring happiness.
There is no pill, food, drink, or psychedelic substance you can consume that will result in happiness.
No life coach nor motivational mantra chanting will induce happiness.
In fact, there are no worldly excursions or experiences we can undergo that can precipitate happiness.
The mistake we make is believing happiness is something that can be pursued and acquired. But happiness is an aspect of being, not an independent state one enters.
Happiness is. Period.
Unhappiness is the result of lost awareness not lack of possession. And the more we try to pursue it, the more ephemeral and fleeting it becomes.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is purported to have said:
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Similarly, A Course in Miracles teaches us that such searching is doomed to fail. “Seek but do not find remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues [happiness] can do otherwise.” (M-13.5)
So if happiness cannot be attained, what recourse have we to peace?
A different decision. Another way.
Happiness is a choice, not a consequence.
We’ve lost awareness of happiness because we’ve chosen the ego mind, a dysfunctional belief system that leads to all our pain and fear. Thankfully we can make a different choice, one that returns perception to pure joy.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore the challenges surrounding the acquisition of happiness and practices we can learn to experience the tickling bliss of alighting butterflies. I look forward to seeing you then.