We spend a lot of time searching for things.
And we spend a lot of time searching for the same things, over and over.
Let’s take happiness for example. I did an elephant journal search on “happiness.” There were pages and pages—hundreds of ways to find happiness.
No wonder it’s elusive. There are so many ways to find it, it’s confusing, if not downright overwhelming.
Here’s a couple of definitions for happiness:
1: a state of well-being or contentment
2: a pleasurable or satisfying experience
I like definitions, because sometimes I’m not sure what a word means, or I may have my own interpretation. It’s good to clarify things.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say happiness is our nature. It’s not a matter of finding something, it’s a matter of stopping, letting everything go and relaxing in the awareness or consciousness that illuminates who we are—our sentient life force.
It’s like meditation, but instead of focusing on the breath or a mantra, I turn my attention inward to who’s doing the looking—to awareness itself.
I’m not doing anything but being conscious awareness, focused on who’s watching the thoughts; focused on the seer, not the seen. If I get lost in a thought, so what, that’s what the mind does. I simply go back to being the seer.
It’s not noticing the space between thoughts. It’s being the space between thoughts.
It’s realizing I am that space and seeing that everything comes and goes in that space.
It’s the source of all things.
If you have trouble with this exercise because your mind is too busy, then put it to good work: explore awareness and discover its qualities. It’s a revealing and worthwhile exercise.
Eventually, you’ll get to a place where you can rest and rejuvenate in empty silent awareness, whose inherent nature is happy.
It’s home and it’s always here.
Everything changes in life. There are no constants except who you are—our fundamental nature never changes.
Thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, but the energy that gives life to thoughts and feelings never comes and never goes. Even when you’re sleeping, awareness is there or you wouldn’t remember your dreams.
I find searching for anything is like walking into a maze—we can get lost in it. Plus, there’s an inherent angst in searching. It implies something is missing, that I’m lacking something.
How can I find happiness when I’m searching for something that’s as fleeting as a lightening bug? It’s like chasing the carrot on the stick.
It’s ironic that we spend our lives looking for pleasure, satisfaction and completion by travelling the world, being mindful or finding the ideal mate. We explore how to be happy, how to be healthy and how to improve our relationships, yet we don’t explore who we are at the deepest level to discover our true nature.
Happiness is living from the inside-out, not from the outside-in.
Author: Tom Marino
Image: Craig Sunter/Flickr
Editors: Renée Picard; Yoli Ramazzina