Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul. – Democritus

The Search For Happiness

In our search for happiness – unfailing happiness –  we realize that it can only be found by looking within. Buddhists have recognized that we have to stop trying to change the world around us to bring happiness, but instead change our minds.

We may think that objects and material possessions will bring us more happiness – a better job, a new car, a new house or more money. But rarely does this work, as we soon discover that it does not make us any happier and we keep buying things in order to feel better about ourselves. 

Happiness from acquiring material objects, possessions, situations or persons is only there for a limited time. You may have some inner peace initially but it doesn’t last and then we want something else, and then something else. 

Anything outside of us, cannot bring us true happiness and peace; it’s only temporary and fleeting and at some point it will inevitably let us down. A true source of happiness would not cause us any suffering, pain or disappointment.

When one has received a terrible blow – such  as losing someone very close to you, we begin to understand better why the Buddha taught that living is suffering. In pleasant times, this truth goes unnoticed.  Only through heart-felt sorrow, disappointment and suffering will a person come to the spiritual path. If there was no suffering would you even bother?

Buddha wasn’t miserable when he said that life was suffering people suffer pain, loss, disappointment and there are many things I want but I cannot get. This is what he meant by it.

The wisdom of experience teaches us that all things change. A happiness that is based on outward things, materials and possessions is sought by many but none have found it.

The happiness from any situation, or a person may initially give you some inner peace and fulfillment but it is only there for a limited time. Eventually it leads to some kind of disappointment. This was Buddha’s discovery almost 2500 years ago and it is the same today. 

How do we start the search for happiness? Rather than look outside, we should start by directing our attention inwards – the kingdom of God is within you. You are the source of supreme bliss and happiness that you seek. Hidden within you is a treasure waiting to be discovered. This is your true nature.   

The search for happiness is ultimately the search for enlightenment. An end to suffering, depression, pain and loss we inevitably encounter simply as a result of being human.