On seeing Buddha, [Dona] went to him and said, “Master, are you a deva [a god]?”
“No, brahman, I am not a deva.”
“… a yakkha [a kind of protector god, or sometimes a trickster spirit]?”
“… a human being?”
“No, brahman, I am not a human being.”
“Then what sort of being are you?”
“Remember me, brahman, as ‘awakened.’” 
In human history we have never been richer, had more, created more nor inspired greater technological advances—yet, we have also never been so unhappy.
The 2013 World Happiness Report shows people in developed regions such as Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are less happy than they were in 2005—despite increased economic wealth. 
The Happy Planet Index of 2014 shows that countries such as Indonesia are happier than any other developed nation.  Indeed, the top 10 nations on the happiness index are all developing nations, and it is all too obvious from these studies that wealth and riches bring neither happiness nor fulfillment.
There needs to be a change in how we perceive life and what we want from it.
If following our current path of ongoing economic development in a bid to achieve personal and national happiness is not working, then what would work? What path can we follow? And how do we find it?
Throughout human history, there have been teachers of consciousness who have led many to a higher level of happiness than most of us will ever experience, because most of what we seek is transitory. It does not last.
Success in business is temporary and disappears when we die. A triumph on the sporting field lasts just a moment—the focus turning quickly to the next game or the next season. A relationship can be wonderful one moment and disastrous the next. Children grow and leave. A beautiful sunset fades. A blooming flower dies.
Finding a higher level of consciousness requires us to step away from what we think we know, and allow ourselves to experience what is not available in the normal world of consciousness.
If we open our eyes, we will find the majority of the world is asleep—their consciousness runs on autopilot.
Some people rise, have a shower, eat breakfast, dress and fall out the door—into the car or onto the bus—and go through the day with no thought of what they are doing or why. They are unaware and asleep. This is the sad reality.
If we wish to seek true happiness, there is only one place—one part of the universe—which is constant. That is the consciousness inside us.
This may seem strange to some, but if we are ready, the idea of rediscovering our consciousness will strike a note that holds true for us. We will know we want to awaken. If we do not, we are still under the influence of the one thing that creates the unhappiness that we experience around us every day.
We do not know this thing that influences us, because it casts a mirror that makes it appear as if the external world is at fault. If only our job would be less demanding, if our children obeyed us, if that beloved person would return our love—if only problems would stop, if money would start to flow—then we would be happy.
It appears certain to us that the root of our unhappiness is caused by factors outside of ourselves.
This is the delusion.
The true cause of our unhappiness and our suffering is within the part of our self that makes the choices that place us in these situations to begin with. This part of our self does not want to awaken or know the joy that every moment of life can bring. Learning to discover, understand and know this part of ourselves is the first step to awakening.
This part of us is the ego.
So to begin, we must recognize our ego, because to be free and live the life we were born to—to become enlightened—we must know this part of our self. Our journey demands this.
Many of us do not even know it exists and have never really experienced freedom from it. Describing our consciousness is like describing a beautiful desert island with sparkling turquoise waters and plentiful fish to a nomadic desert dweller. It may sound wonderful, but they have no concept of what it is really like. Awakening can be the key to unlocking that awareness in ourselves.
Living without the ego is pure joy. No matter what happens, our life can be one that holds no stress, fear or anxiety. This is not controlled by will, it simply does not arise. It is freedom from suffering.
Life becomes a dance—a dance of knowing ourselves fully, of receiving what we deserve and a mystical journey that now calms the mind and heart. Living from our true nature, we will love like we never have before. Life holds no fear any more because we know the truth. Life is seen for what it really is—an experience of no suffering. How can it be possible to suffer when nothing unreal can threaten us?
The old way of living is dying. Abuse inspired by the ego of ourselves, our political system—of the very planet that gives us life—is making us unhappy. Yet, we are becoming aware that unhappiness grows.
There is also awareness that what we are doing is not working in our daily lives. Many of us are seeking more. We are seeking to awaken. We are all on a journey in life. That journey can be along a road that takes us to the forest or it can be climbing a mountain and standing on top to see the view.
To awaken is to see clearly and come home to the divine in you. This is your ultimate journey. When you take this journey is up to you. That you will is certain.
The 3,000-year-old Tao Te Ching expresses it beautifully:
“When a superior man heard of Tao,
He cultivates himself diligently.
When an average man heard of Tao,
He is doubtful, vague and would give up halfway.
When an inferior man heard of Tao,
He laughs and thinks of it as foolish.”
You are constantly called to this purpose by the Divine. That you are loved beyond measure and that you are always safe and cared for. The more you seek to know yourself and the truth of who you are and conversely the influence of the one thing that causes your suffering—the ego—the more you will awaken.
The Tao says,
“One who knows other people is wise.
One who knows himself is enlightened.”