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Happiness

Happiness is somewhat difficult to define. It’s state of well being and contentment according to at least one dictionary. When comparing happiness with pleasure the main differences are that happiness is more long term and less extreme, while pleasure is more short term.

You can have pleasure by seeking out all sorts of sensory experiences, but pleasure is not a guarantee for happiness. You can still be deeply unhappy, because of all the gaps between the moments of pleasure. You can be stuck in a circle forever if you think that pleasure will bring happiness by default. It simply impossible to have pleasure all the time, pleasure exists because there is also non-pleasure, without it, it would have no meaning.

At some point in my life I came across the following quote:

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness” (Zhuang-Zi)

This person was amongst the earliest interpreters of philosophical Daoism, which is not to be confused with the religion known as Daoism. Daoism is full of seemingly opposite paradoxes, but in this case it’s fairly obvious what it’s about. Striving for happiness means setting a goal, goals come with expectations and with expectations comes disappointment when those expectations are not met. You can never have everything you want, the key is to be happy with what the moment brings. Enjoy the sunshine, but also enjoy the rain.

There are real sources of pain and suffering that can’t be avoided, but a lot of our suffering is simply due to making the choice not to be happy. Think about, there are plenty of people who are happy without being extremely rich, it’s all relative to your expectations.

Simply enjoying the moment is not always easy, but it’s the only way I see if you want to be truly happy. That is not to say that you don’t try to steer your life, it means not to worry about the outcome of your choices once the choices have been made, as well as not lingering on the mistakes made in the past.

I expect to make more posts on this in the future, in the meantime you are welcome to comment.

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