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  • Mariam Hakim

    Mariam Hakim asked in Social Sciences 29th Apr '13:

    Can happiness be an end goal that we should pursue or do we need to accept happiness as merely being a fleeting feeling that we will enjoy from time to time?

    Pranesh Sacher replied 29th May '13:

    pursuing happiness …

    Happiness is rooted in something real, if you are going into a real abyss with a determination to keep an awareness in the here and now, then you will be a different person emerging on the other side.

    Dear Mariam Hakim

    Thanks for your question.Srangely I received it in a moment when I was feeling really unhappy. I was looking at the finances of our Meditation Center ....

    Coming back to your question, which in some ways implies an assumption that we know what happiness is. I do not know what happiness is, but still I would like to respond to you.

    To me, in my life, unhappiness was a driving force to look deeper into my life, into things which were hidden deep inside in me, into some layers which needed attention and a persistent looking at so they could surface. To create the right climate for change, quality of staying present with the issue behind the unhappiness is needed at whatever cost. This may not be an easy thing to do, but certainly it gave me depth and maturity which I wouldn’t want to miss. Your question reminds me of an old saying which goes like this: Real things in life are bitter in the beginning and sweet on the end; fake things feel sweet in the beginning but have a bitter end.

    I would like to ask you: can you be just happy whenever you are happy? Nothing more is needed. Enjoying it fully, totally without holding anything back. Isn't it as simple as this?

    If you are unhappy, be totally unhappy -- use it as a device to discover unknown areas, encounter deeper layers in your being, spaces you never dared to look at. Live everything life is offering to you; dive into it to its full extent.

    Searching and making happiness a goal one should pursue is missing the whole game of being alive. It is taking you away from yourself from the real experience of whatever is going on in this moment. And you are trying the impossible! Where will you look for the happiness ? Under your bed? In your bathroom cupboard where you keep your toothbrush ? All looking outside of you will take you away from yourself and certainly you will end up with something fake, leaving you stale and empty on the end. Entertainment? A new movie? A guru? A new car? More cigarettes? Believing in god who will redeem you by holding your hand leading you to paradise? A new boyfriend? More sex? More make-up? Watching TV? Some esoteric teachings?

    How honest can you be with yourself? All this things you have tried already and they did not work, If we allow our unhappiness, with its layers of repressed past experiences, to be fully experienced and we stay present with it, we will go through a change. If you walk all the way through the change consciously, if you are going into a real abyss with a determination to keep an awareness in the here and now, then there will be also transformation and then you will be a different person emerging on the other side. Of course there will be some pain but you give meaning to your life. It will be a rebirth and about that you can be happy. This happiness is rooted in something real. All the awakened people, the ones who found their real potential, their Buddha nature, went through an incredible transformation. That's what Buddha meant with his words: giving birth to yourself. A Lotus flower is growing out of the mud and has opened, a Buddha is born through doing his homework by staying with whatever there is and surrendering to the whole.

    Your question saying: happiness as merely being a fleeting feeling that we will enjoy from time to time sounds to me like remaining on a superficial layer which does not lead you anywhere. It is like being a drifting log of wood in the river, sometimes thrown to this side of the river bank and sometimes thrown to the other side.

    Through living life, through taking the opportunity for transformation, you get to meet your real self, you meet the part in you which remains unchanging whatsoever is happening. By allowing yourself to dissolve in this meeting you become one with the eternal source of life -- this is what I would call being happy. It is not merely a fleeting feeling, it does not depend on any outer circumstances or sentiments.

    It is a question of choice: you can believe in yourself, in your potential to transform all the old past which is preventing you from living happily, or you can choose a substitute, a fake goal or a soap bubble like an illusion.

    We have only a 80 or 90 year lifespan and much of it we have already wasted by avoiding an encounter with our real selves but any moment there is an opportunity to drop the whole past and become alive.

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