The pursuit of happiness when defined as pleasure- is common to all animals and humans. However, you’ll notice that for almost all humans this experience is brief. You won’t feel happy each time you spend time with your loved one or eat a delicacy. In fact, your feeling of pleasure will fluctuate. And if your focus is happiness alone, as defined above, then you invite terrible misery when you don’t get it.
If the word happiness only means ‘pleasure’ to you, then you would only think of ways to stimulate the senses, which is not as abundantly available as we’d like to imagine. Then in a desperate attempt to be happy, you would figure out newer ways to squeeze out pleasure. As a result, you’ll likely get obsessed and get sucked in a quicksand of stress. The more you struggle, the more you try to control your life and the more agony you experience. You thus land far away from where you wanted to be initially.
And that’s when you realize happiness is a rare and desperately sought commodity. It’s like the proverbial carrot dangling in front of the donkey. It’s always out of reach, yet enticing enough to goad you on in life.
The overall effect of this pursuit of happiness is it takes a heavy toll on our sympathetic nervous system. Since there is not much time to relax and slow down, the parasympathetic system is imbalanced. As a result, burn out, breakdowns and depression is common. Happiness then becomes a mere dry pursuit of pleasure and as our body wears down faster, even this sensory experiences wane.
Type 2: Purpose
As opposed to momentary pleasures, there is yet another type of happiness based on our values and purpose. It may seem abstract on the surface, but if we spend some quiet, solitary moments with ourselves, we’d know what defines us individually. What’s my vision and who am I? The moment you remember your purpose – and you could write it as a phrase, or a poem or a sentence – that defines your being, which is essential ‘You,’ you are connected to your purpose.To be continued…