Inner Peace: Happiness
with no Opposite
When we search for authentic happiness, we're usually looking for inner peace, whether or not we realize it. The reason for that is that happiness is never permanent.
What we usually mean by happiness is actually a feeling that is defined by our own experience of unhappiness. Each experience literally defines the other, and so what we call happy is a relative state of mind that only has meaning in relation to the unhappy experiences we have had. Essentially, the reason we even call it happiness is that our subjective experience tells us that it's better than what we're used to.
One difficulty with this sort of happiness is that we rather quickly adjust to our new conditions, the conditions that seem to have caused the happiness, and this new level of happiness soon becomes our 'normal state'. This is the neutral state against which we measure all events to determine whether they produce happiness or unhappiness in our subjective experience. If it's not clear, the reason this 'normalization' occurs is that the only measure we have for determining happiness is our own experience, and this new state has changed that reference point of experience.
Another problem is that what we call a state of happiness isn't the result of getting what we want but rather the experience of the end of wanting; the inner peace that results from no longer seeking anything. Since we mistake this for happiness resulting from accomplishing a goal, the focus remains on the object of acheivement and is soon found to be lacking, since it was never the reason for it to begin with. At this point, we set a new goal, establishing a new want, which starts the process of seeking again.
Yet another problem with this goal seeking process has to do with the nature of experience itself, which is temporal. That is, experience consists of events in time, and is therefore fundamentally a movement. So while the temporary satisfaction we experience after accomplishing a goal is really inner peace, the happiness, if there is any, is not experienced at the destination but rather in the movement toward the destination. (The journey and not the destination) It's the process of working toward a goal that we find enjoyable, but once the goal is reached, the movement toward it ceases and the experience ends since there is no longer any movement to provide an experience of it.
And so, what we're looking for is actually the momentary experience we have at the point of reaching a goal, which is actually the inner peace of no longer seeking anything. Notice that not seeking anything is permanent fulfillment, while goal seeking and accomplishment is temporary. The reason inner peace is permanent is because it is not dependent upon any outside conditions since it is simply the end of seeking any particular outside conditions.
More 'Inner Peace' articles:
Suffering and it's causes.
Finding our Sense of Self
Volition / Free Will
Roller Coasters, Billy Shakespeare and Head Banging for Happiness.
The Simplicity of Dissolving the Questions
Finding Inner Peace: Looking for Peace in all the Wrong Places.(part 1)
Finding Inner Peace: Looking for Peace in all the Wrong Places.(part 2)
The Wave Who Searched for the Ocean
Acting with Virtue Vs Being Virtuous
Ground of Sadness
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