Seeing Real

Learning to balance – Heart Mind Body

Posted by Mike | April - 12 - 2012 | Comments Off on The Pursuit of Happiness

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Declaration of Independence

We have all heard these words from a really early age. Learning about our freedom is among the first things we learn in school. You have the right to pursue what makes you happy. It is part of living in a democracy. It doesn’t take long to find out that having the right to pursue doesn’t guarantee catching it.

The Declaration of Independence doesn’t define happiness, it just opens the door to finding it. Most of us are on a journey of writing our own personal definition. We try different paths, get disappointed, give up, and then, try again. Happiness can be very temporary and fleeting. We have a hunger for it but seldom get satisfied.

So it would seem having the right does not ensure being happy. One of the reasons might be that having the right has led us on a direct pursuit of happiness. Thinking we have a clear direction and the God-given right usually means I probably will step on a few people as I pursue. This can be counter-productive, because other people are usually part of our happiness.

Defining happiness and approach to acquiring seem to be recurring problems standing between us and our goal. For most of us happiness contains some combination of control, approval, and security. The obvious question arises as to how much of each would be enough. How much control would make me happy? Especially when there can be so much of our life that we can’t control. How much approval would make me happy? Given that fact that we often don’t approve of ourselves, our happiness would lay in the approval of others. Sounds hard to control. How much security would make me happy? Secure emotionally, physically, spiritually, sounds exhausting just listing them, let alone trying to get them. Maybe if we can just get some combination of the three?

Most of us have tried and failed at the direct approach to finding happiness. No need to spend much time reviewing past defeats. So in summing up the problem, we are looking for something we’re not sure of, in a way that usually doesn’t work. Sounds like a recipe for dissatisfaction.

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