Ask anyone what they want most out of life. What do they reply? Initially maybe ‘lots of money’, ‘a nice house’, ‘a wonderful relationship’. But what if they go deeper: why lots of money, why a nice house, why a wonderful relationship? Because they think it will make them happy.
Happiness is what we truly want. When we feel un-happy, dis-comfortable, we want it to go away; that’s why we seek. But rather confusingly, as we embark on our search, we unexpectedly find ourselves encouraged to welcome ‘un-happiness’, to get curious about ‘misery’, even to grant it an open invitation to stay for as long as it likes! What is going on we might wonder?
If we actually explore our ‘bad’ mood, what do we find? Maybe a feeling of ‘impatience’, of ‘frustration’, of ‘irritation’, of building heat and tension; an acceleration of the heart beat, a tightness of breath; thoughts about how badly we’re being treated, stories of other times we’ve been treated this way, the urge to fly off into a rage; or maybe there’s a heaviness, a rawness, a sickly feeling in the stomach, and thoughts about how we want it all to magically disappear.
But how is it that we’re able to report all of this? Because what we truly are is there throughout, experiencing these ‘unwanted’ thoughts and feelings like objects, arising and dissolving. And in their dissolution, we are all that is left. And what name do we give to that which remains? Happiness.
But are these thoughts and feelings even objects at all? If we feel again into the energy of ‘rawness’ or ‘rage’, beyond the labelling of it, we never find a definite boundary or container there; we cannot even locate a thought let alone discover if it has a separating edge.
The source of our confusion is revealed: happiness is not a good mood, not a state which comes and goes, but what we already always are, the very essence of being, within and out of which everything comes and goes.