The search for happiness becomes often sought question these days. Even though we may slowly drift away from material things as a source of happiness and direct the search inwards, we still tend to think of searching as an active process, where we involve our energy and efforts and have an aim to find something. What if the process of searching actually take us away from being happy here and now? How about we tell ourselves: today is the day to start shining, and just be happy instead of searching for it?
There are some myths about happiness that once understood make the “search” easier:
- Happiness is the natural state for humans. Yet, in a single day we experience a wide range of emotions that are continuously changing.
- Happiness means feeling good. Relying on external pleasure and contentment means there is no lasting happiness. Learning to live in the moment and acceptance can reveal ways to feel happy from within.
- If you are not happy there is something wrong with you. You might need some medication to fix it. This kind of fix is only temporary. Introspection and finding ways to reach inner peace can make a lasting change.
From Eastern philosophy I’ve learnt of a wise approach, Morita philosophy, according to which humans are influenced by two opposing desires: a desire to live fully and a desire to maintain security and comfort. It has a lot of common sense and helps to look at the search for happiness in a new light.
The goal of Morita is the acceptance of life as it is. It is often that the source of dissatisfaction is the difference between life as we imagine it and life as it is. We work on getting closer to our ideal. Once we achieve something, we set a new goal. The result of such efforts is a constant dissatisfaction with the present moment, fuelled by the belief that once we fix what is wrong, we will be satisfied.
Acceptance of life as it is comes with endurance and the awareness that uncomfortable thoughts and feelings are naturally a part of life. The essence of the approach is resilience and the life long engagement that comes with it. Embracing the highs and lows of life leads to developing a neutral attitude and mindset, as well as a sense of empowerment.
“Each of us should look for a way to cope with traumatic events in a positive way, learn from negative experiences, take the best from them and convince ourselves that exactly these experiences make each person unique, precious.” (Genji Shimizu)
Photo credits: Sharon McCutcheon@unsplash.com