View Full Version : The quest for happiness as an obstacle to happiness


sarek
11-19-13, 03:21 AM
Correct me if I am wrong but, judging by the amount of marketing going on, it appears to me that lots of people these days have made it their personal quest to "be happy" Funnily enough even my own mother sees it as her dearest wish that "I be happy"

I have been thinking about that for a long time. I have gradually come to the conclusion that the quest for happiness is a mirage and a delusion. I do not think we are on this world to be happy.

Allow me to explain why such a quest for happiness is inherently futile.

Everything in the universe is balanced. Left/right, hot/cold, happy/unhapppy.
As mr. Newton kindly explained to us within his own realm of physics, every force gives rise to an equal counterforce.

As we're not in the science section here, I am not going to try and prove that this applies to every phenomenon in the All, BTW. Even if it were logically possible to prove it, to give an answer tends to kill the question.

So for every ounce of happiness that we are chasing, we will find equal sized obstacles in our path. Enduring happiness is an unstable state. Its like a sinus wave with only the top part drawn.

The resolution lies in the introduction of a third force, a reconciling force that can forge the opposites into a meaningful direction. One that is neither happiness nor unhappiness.

For myself, I have found that reconciling force quite simply in the striving to "be" This is not easy to explain, but it was simple once I figured it out as the answer.

To be is more than to merely exist. To be is an active acceptance of what is.
To be is to recognise feelings and thoughts for what they are.
To be is to live in the indivisible moment as much as possible. In that tiniest possible moment opposites vanish and only existence remains.

I think if that state is possible to achieve, its a whole lot better than to be merely 'happy'

This isn't achieved overnight. It is very hard work, every new day. Its a neverending journey upon which I have only recently started. But the vistas before me are promising.

dvdnvwls
11-19-13, 03:49 AM
Sarek - thanks. I agree with your conclusion, and I like your main point. I don't think the analogy with mechanical action is a good one, because Newton's law isn't about chasing and obstacles, but about actions and reactions, and I think the analogy gives a different picture than what you're saying in the rest of your writing. I'm thinking about what might be a better analogy, but haven't immediately come up with one.

In any case, I agree that the quest for happiness-by-itself is a mirage or delusion.

sarek
11-19-13, 04:06 AM
Momentary happiness, when obtained, is the active force. Its like throwing up a stone into the air. Doing so gives rise to its counterforce, in the case of the analogy being gravity.

Whenever you push one way, you will find an counterforce pushing back. The only way out is to find a resolution between them, a third force.

Fuzzy12
11-19-13, 05:18 AM
I think, the problem with looking for happiness is that happiness is not an object but a thought (or maybe just the right balance of neurotransmitters). Maybe you can chase happiness in the sense that you can learn to control your emotions or to induce feelings of being happy but I think, if your happiness depends on external circumstances then you should probably prepare yourself for a lifetime of misery. Um..as I am... :doh:

I never really understood the notion of happiness and unhappiness being dished out in equal measures (if that's what you are saying). I had some friends in college who believed that and used to tell me not to laugh so much because if I did, I was bound to cry later. It might be possible that if you get used to feeling good you become less tolerant to feeling bad, but I doubt it actually.

To be is more than to merely exist. To be is an active acceptance of what is.
To be is to recognise feelings and thoughts for what they are.
To be is to live in the indivisible moment as much as possible. In that tiniest possible moment opposites vanish and only existence remains.

I think if that state is possible to achieve, its a whole lot better than to be merely 'happy'

I agree with this. I call it hypomania. ;)

But that's just me and even for me it's just one part of hypomania. Rather than happiness, I'd call it peace and I would like to believe that it is possible to achieve. I don't know if it's something that can be achieved, in the sense that you have to work for it. Whenever I've felt this way it was when I let go of everything and detached myself. Not exactly detached, but more when I stopped judging or maybe I just stopped desiring and accepted everything the way it was. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe you can call it detaching with love.

sarek
11-19-13, 08:20 AM
I agree with this. I call it hypomania. ;)

But that's just me and even for me it's just one part of hypomania. Rather than happiness, I'd call it peace and I would like to believe that it is possible to achieve. I don't know if it's something that can be achieved, in the sense that you have to work for it. Whenever I've felt this way it was when I let go of everything and detached myself. Not exactly detached, but more when I stopped judging or maybe I just stopped desiring and accepted everything the way it was. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe you can call it detaching with love.

Its not always easy in life because it is far too easy to be carried away on the rollercoaster of everyday living. Its so easy to get dragged back into the everydayness of life and forget all about the notion that you might instead be detached.

Getting used to the state of detachment, and being able to hold on to it requires conscious effort.

I do agree that under duress or in special circumstances it can happen automatically, but we have no control over that. The aim is to deliberately gain that control.

At this point its perhaps good to refer to my other thread here (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153680) which describes the various methods I use to achieve awareness and detachment. However, for a great many people using mindfulness techniques instead might work equally well.

As for feelings, in their essence they are just feelings. They are things that happen in the brain. They are chemical and electrical reactions. Feelings have acquired such a huge role because we have in fact even become attached to our feelings and thus given them an objective reality.

If a person is in a state of continuous identification with self, those feelings become inseparable from the self and are inescapable. We then become their willing slaves, answering their every whim.

meadd823
11-24-13, 05:44 AM
Wouldn't the quest for happiness be a sign that one is not happy to begin with I mean does one actually search for some thing they already have :scratch:


If one can not find happiness by seeking within self then one will not find it by looking outward. . . . just saying

someothertime
11-24-13, 05:54 AM
Great timing! Something I wanted to share ( ain't mine but sure is good :) )

Dr Russ Harris

Self Esteem

"Self esteem is a bunch of thoughts about what sort of person you are. It is not a fact. It is an opinion.

Isn't it important to have a high opinion of yourself?

Not necissarily, it's a judgement, not a fact. It's words. i.e. Julia Roberts = Film Acress ( fact ) vs Julia Roberts = Very talented film actress ( judgement )

.......


To have a high self esteem you have to tell yourself a judgement about yourself. Then you must continually re-inforce ( live up to ) that judgement.

( There is no such thing as self esteem only self acceptance )


Don't try to prove yourself. Just act based on your values and that is the truth not the story.

davinci10
11-24-13, 09:13 AM
True happiness comes from love the work/job that you do. and that is the best form of meditation, cuz you can never drift away doing the job you love.

peripatetic
11-24-13, 09:45 AM
i think it's going to depend on how one defines "happiness"
it's not always equated with elation or seen as something lacking balance
it's also not always gauged as an event but more as a product of a life lived and being lived

though i'm not in agreement with him on a lot of things...aristotle's concept of "happiness" is one such example. it is to be pursued...and the means to do so require taking balanced action...to seek the mean...and whether achieved or not cannot be determined until life's conclusion.

i think whether the quest for happiness is an obstacle to happiness itself would be highly dependent upon how these things are defined.

BellaVita
11-24-13, 09:47 AM
What provides the most happiness for me is giving to others.

Just what I've noticed. My bf is the same.

ginniebean
11-24-13, 11:12 AM
Great timing! Something I wanted to share ( ain't mine but sure is good :) )

Dr Russ Harris

Damn, that's an awesome quote. Needs to go into the "found in forum" thread. I love it.

meadd823
11-27-13, 05:05 AM
i think whether the quest for happiness is an obstacle to happiness itself would be highly dependent upon how these things are defined.


Hmm good point . . .

Fuzzy12
11-27-13, 05:17 AM
What provides the most happiness for me is giving to others.

Just what I've noticed. My bf is the same.

I've noticed that about you too!! :grouphug:

TygerSan
11-27-13, 07:56 AM
Sarek, it seems like what you object to is the notion of happiness as a commodity, as something to be strived for.

Makes me think of the Buddhist notion that desire begets suffering, that the path to enlightenment essentially means finding a way to let go of desire. That, to me, means getting rid of the desire to be happy, because as soon as one desires something, there is an automatic discrepancy in state between where you are and where you want to be.

someothertime
11-27-13, 08:52 AM
The soul is a conduit for transient emotion.

From OSHO( highlighting the contradiction);

All you need is just to be watchful, and nothing will effect you. This unaffectedness will keep your purity, and this purity has certainly the freshness of life, the joy of existence.-all the treasure you have been endowed with.


And so... is he saying not to be effected yet basque in joy? I believe in the context of the chapter he's talking about desires... and joy from expression is ok.... but joy from attainment is not.