Defining Happiness

If I told you that I could provide you with everything you’ve ever wanted, how do you think your life would be once I delivered on that promise? Down to the smallest detail, what you seek and covet would be yours, no matter how valuable or rare or even humanly possible…you’d have it all. Initially you’d probably be in heaven…enjoying and soaking up all the riches and beauty and comfort that one can hope and wish for. After a while, however, I’d put my money on you growing bored with what you have. Regardless of how out-of-reach the things you’d been granted may have seemed before you acquired them, regardless of how complete you thought you’d be with everything you could ever desire, you’d grow bored.

Why?

When we are given things, when they come too easily, on some level we feel that there’s a catch somewhere…an ulterior motive, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, too good to be true. Hand-outs, in theory, are great, but when they actually materialize, they can end up feeling inauthentic, tainted…like charity or pity to some, laced with a simple sense of unease to others.

The fact of the matter is this: we feel happiness when barreling through obstacles and adversity in the pursuit of happiness. Overcoming the hurdles that we find ourselves facing in the pursuit itself brings about the goal. Our quest for happiness brings about happiness. As we attempt to find truth and insight into who we are and why we’re here, we feel like we are accomplishing something real, something relevant…we end up feeling responsible for our own happiness and that in itself produces happiness.

If I gave you the perfect yoga practice, would you still do it? If nothing challenged you, if you never felt like you were accomplishing anything, no matter how important you may or may not have considered it to be, would you still feel the way you currently do about your practice? About your job? About your marriage? About your health? About your relationships?

It’s not about the end result. The end result may come beautifully packaged and endlessly dazzling, but the glass and sheen eventually fade. The struggles, the challenges, and the moments of accomplishment are what it’s about. That’s what makes us happy.

With this concept now slowly sinking in, what does it change for you and your world view?

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