How often have you thought about what would make you happy?

We all have our lists. If such-and-such happens, then I’ll be happy. And it doesn’t matter what such-and-such is. For some of us, it’s a number in the bank account. For others, it’s related to the health of our body or someone else’s body. For someone else it might be a job title or societal position. And for another person, it might be the removal of some negative element in their life.

It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you currently have, every single person has their own “what would make me happy” list. Everyone.

But the challenge with our premise is that any happiness we gain by the achievement of one or more list items never lasts. It’s a very thin, tenuous thread of happiness – likely to break at any moment.

We’ve all experienced times where we got something we wanted. For a moment it felt wonderful. But it didn’t take long until we either worried about losing it or it faded into the background, replaced by another list item that is now more important.

I appreciate this line from A Course in Miracles that helps clarify the fleeting nature of what we call joy: “Any seeming happiness that does not last is fear.” And if we look honestly at everything we define as happiness, we’ll see that none of those will last.

In other words, we are clinging to (and striving for) a false version of happiness, which is actually fear. Fear disguised as happiness.

The underlying fear is the letting go of the false sense of self. Who would I be without [all the things we think make me “me”]? And so we continually seek for what won’t last in the magical belief it will bring us joy.

But there’s another way of seeing – through the eyes of spirit. Spirit tells us that true happiness is the opposite of fear. True happiness is the recognition we are not these bodies – nor is anyone else. True happiness sees beyond the myriad forms to the oneness that unites everyone and everything. And true happiness is eternal.

In each moment we choose whether to see through the filter of the ego – which will always bring us the promise of happiness cloaked as fear, or through the lens of spirit – which always leads to peace.