Happiness can’t be found in the Future


In the United States, it is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In our lives, we chase after happiness. If I just had (fill in the blank), I would/could be happy.

In India, you instead hear that you are satchitananda — “Sat” means “is-ness” or beingness, “chit” means awareness or consciousness, and “ananda” means bliss. Our true nature is happiness. I have come to realize the truth of this.

Some might ask, “Why don’t I feel it?” Because we have picked up some bad habits, beliefs, and push happiness into the future. We create our own misery and deny happiness now.

I sometimes watch children…and they are often naturally happy. There is joy in seeing a butterfly. Hours of fun are found within a large empty box. Work is a foreign concept. Time is passed in play. There is nothing serious or vitally important that must be reached or corrected. Over time, though, we all come to deny this innate happiness.

In the end, the principal cause that pushes happiness away is desire (craving or a needing). Desire can be divided into two components:

• The craving to have what we do not have.

• The needing that what is right now be different than what it is.

The first is if I just have (fill in the blank), then I would/could be happy. This blank could be a new car, a promotion at work, someone’s apology, a spouse’s change in behavior, enlightenment, or any number of things. We deny happiness until some future condition is fulfilled and then we would allow ourselves to be happy. At least for a short time, then we create another future condition we want met before we can be happy again.

If the condition is something under our complete control (like graduating high school), then it is only a matter of time. However, more often than not, the condition is only partially under our control or not under our control at all. The promotion at work is the boss’s decision, not yours. You can strive for it, but then not get it and feel cheated. Again, you are creating your own unhappiness.

The second, the desire that what is right now be different than what it is, is the root of all our problems. We say we have problems, but in reality the only problem we have is that life is not going the way we think it should.

We think we should be promoted for all our hard work, but then someone else is promoted. Then every time we see the newly promoted person or hear talk of promotions at work, our memory reminds us about how unhappy we are with life (i.e., what is/was).

For some, Trump being elected president was viewed as something that should not have happened. This is an example of life not going the way we think it should. We are not in total control of how life unfolds. And yet, if life does not unfold the way we think it should, we are unhappy.

Desire is a craving or a needing that pushes happiness away. So to realize happiness, we just cease needing something in the future and cease needing the world to be other than what it is (don’t make things into problems). Give up the belief that you cannot be happy now.

You can make plans and do things in life. For example, I would like to move to a warmer climate in a few years. I am working toward moving to Florida. If it does not come to pass, however, I can still remain happy. I don’t make moving to a warm climate or never being cold again a condition of being happy.

I voted for Hillary, but Trump was elected. I am still happy. I may do more than just vote in order to not see Trump re-elected. But if Trump is re-elected, I will still be happy. Fighting reality is a losing battle. If you can not be happy with reality, then you will never be happy.

Stop seeking happiness in the future and be happy now. Do not deny your natural state.

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Eric Putkonen started his spiritual journey in 1990. He focuses on nonduality and living awake and engaged. He doesn’t say he has attained the highest and all that a person can do, but he has realized substantial peace, contentment and joy in life and likes sharing what he has realized. He shares his thoughts and insights about nonduality on his blog at www.EngagedNonduality.com. If you have questions or want to speak with Eric, email him at [email protected].


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