Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Happiness happens in a moment. There is no need to chase it. It is available the moment you accept what is.
Life is a journey not a destination. Happiness is only part of the journey. Chasing happiness like it's a place to call home has brought me tremendous suffering. Somehow the faster and harder I tried to find happiness, the faster it seemed to run away from me.
I was under the illusion that happiness is permanent, that you can catch it, wrap it up and keep it forever. I believed that other people were naturally happy and that there was something wrong with me for not being happy.
While under the belief that I could achieve permanent happiness, I kept on chasing the next accomplishment, the next event, the next circumstance that I imagined would bring me ever lasting happiness.
The problem with pursuing happiness is that in your pursuit you forget to stop and feel the happiness that is available right now, at this very moment. We chase happiness when we believe that happiness comes from achieving things, accumulating material things, and being someone other than who we are now.
These beliefs keep happiness always one step away. Even when we experience significant accomplishments, we still don't feel a true sense of happiness (or what we expected happy to feel like), so we quickly set out on the next quest for happiness.
Jim Carrey has said "I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer." I relate to this quote with my own life experience.
A few years ago I was in Lanai Hawaii, a spectacular private island, a paradise on earth. To top it off I was staying at the four seasons, luxury and richness all around me. While there I experienced deep darkness and loneliness. One night as I sat on the balcony overlooking the ocean, I lost all hope. The thought that kept looping in my mind was - If being in paradise does not make me happy, then nothing ever will.
I should add this was during a difficult time in my life, right after I had experienced severe anxiety for over a year and had trouble sleeping for almost two years. On this particular night I also could not sleep, I had put all my hope for a cure to the insomnia on visiting Hawaii...and now I was lost and hopeless.
I was chasing happiness like it existed somewhere outside of me, like it existed in Hawaii and I would just be happy as soon as I landed in Hawaii. The disappointment was soul crushing at first. Then after the darkness came the light, as it always does.
The next day I sat on the edge of the rocks playing in the sand and the ocean. I looked over and a beautiful chicken was playing with me. Yes, a chicken. After some time passed I forgot where I was, I lost myself in the moment. Then suddenly I looked up at the stunning sky meeting the ocean and I was filled with love and hope again. All it took was a moment of returning to the simplest pleasures, a moment with nature.