Yes. It sometimes seems as illusive as anything you can imagine, but it is available in this world. Happiness should never be confused with self-indulgence or even with gleeful giddiness. It is, in the end, less an emotional state than a total state of being. Evil makes it difficult. Suffering tries to hold it at bay. It sometimes seems that so many things hold us hostage in this world that we can never shake free to be truly happy. And how can I be happy today, not knowing what tomorrow will bring? Again, without even worrying about the future, the past itself may weight on you and hold you back from the happiness you crave.
The most insightful philosophers have made it clear that the only moment we ever really possess is the present. And yet the past and the future are constantly trying to assert ownership over us. One of the most important forms of liberation to be attained in this world is freedom from the times that we do not really possess. Haunted by the past or held by hopes of the future, most people never really experience the present moment in all its fullness. And yet this is the foundation for experiencing true happiness.
The great philosophers have made it clear that engagement in a process of working toward worthy objectives, along with other good people – a process that you can enjoy along the way – is a fundamental key to the universally sought state of personal happiness. It is not, for most people, attainable as a solitary pursuit. And it can’t be bought or borrowed. It must be created as the by product of loving, creative activities that make a difference for good in the world.
There are happy people in this world. Actually, there are many. Sometimes you have to move a bit outside the normal spheres of your daily activity to find them. But finding one of them can be an inspiration for life. Being one of them allows you to inspire others for life.
- Tom Morris -