Skip to main content

What is Happiness?

By December 2, 2014April 22nd, 2020Articles, Read

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, un-comfortable, we want it to go away, that’s why we seek. But rather confusingly, as we embark on our seeking, 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, rather than suppressing it or acting it out, what do we find? Maybe a feeling of impatience, frustration, irritation, of rising heat and tension, an acceleration of the heart beat, a tightness of the breath; maybe thoughts about how badly we’re being treated, with stories of other times we’ve been treated this way, and the urge to fly off into a rage; or maybe 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’, ‘uncomfortable’ 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?


The source of our confusion is revealed: happiness is not a good mood we need to cultivate or attain, not a state which comes and goes, but the very essence of being, within and out of which everything comes and goes.