We have got it all wrong. We misunderstand what happiness is about. We think it's about having great abs or accumulating a lot of money in the bank or getting a new toy or gadget or car or property etc. But those sense gratifications are temporary and speak nothing of the happiness we are truly capable of. And because we think happiness comes from the external material world and the resources of the material world have a limit, we think we have to compete. We are deluded in thinking it's either you or me and I choose me.
We have got it all wrong. This grave misunderstanding of what happiness is makes us falsely believe that we do not want others to be happy. Then we harm others by eating animals or gossiping about acquaintances or engaging in office politics or judging the actions of others. And we steal from others, not just things that belong to them but also their time, their freedom, their trust, their dignity. And we tell lies or omit the truth or bury the truth or sugarcoat the truth until it is no longer recognizable. Then we sexually misuse others by objectifying them, we use their sexuality for our gain and our ego and even our appetite for dairy products. Then we want more and more and more of what does not belong to us because greed is fear unaddressed and that greed is bottomless.
We have got it all wrong. Happiness is not an object, not a goal, not a destination, not an expensive pair of shoes, not showing off to make others envious. It is not dependent on the ebb and flow of this temporary life. It is not dependent on the attention or approval or admiration or recognition of another. It does not stand still because of a crutch, however elaborate or reliable that crutch may appear to be.
We have got it all wrong. Happiness does not make a fuss. True happiness is quiet. It does not have to draw attention to itself. It is content to be what it is, and only those who seek true happiness could recognize it. True happiness is connecting to the source of who we are. When we buy a pair of shoes we like or a lover pays us a flattering compliment or we achieve a milestone in our asana practice, those are external conditions that point to our own capacity to feel joy. Those emotions belong to us, not to the object. Those emotions are temporary until it becomes the natural state of who we are, until we choose to take the journey of happiness inwards instead of outwards.
We have got it all wrong. But we can make it right. When the light turns on and illuminates where our happiness comes from, when we become genuinely or even desperately invested in that kind of happiness, interesting things begin to happen. We lose our motivation to hurt others. With the slow and steady growth of true happiness, we become acquainted with compassion for others. To those who are harmed and hurt, we feel. To those who harm and hurt others, we forgive. Because in a state of happiness, it becomes clear to us that there are no others. Whom we label as the saint and the sinner, the good and the bad, the oppressor and the oppressed, they are all of us. All those potentials exist within us. We are no better or no worse than others. We are the same soul walking different paths in this complex labyrinth of human life. We are all in union. In true happiness, there are no others.