Happiness is a peak in the valley of miseries.
Joy is the ocean that you are a part of.
Thomas Jefferson enshrined the “pursuit of happiness” as a basic right in the Declaration of Independence, not realizing, that like most other gifts of nature, happiness cannot be deserved and pursued as a right. And no wonder, nature, being a self-correcting system, has repeatedly brought unto them miseries, those who have gone awry in their pursuit of happiness.
Closer home, the colonialist mind has enslaved us to pursuing happiness too – the western way. The stereotype of fascism inherent in the collective mindset has made us receptive to external authority and prevented us from examining the appropriateness and conduciveness of what we have adopted as tools for pursuing happiness – models, measures, metrics and methods for competitiveness (more often by aping than applying). And thus our share of miseries too.
The intelligent one does not pursue happiness. For he knows it is one side of the same coin the other side of which is sorrow or unhappiness. He knows that pursuit of happiness is like scaling a peak, which once scaled leaves one to descend to the valley. His primordial intelligence –his awareness – has made him witness how the egoic consumerist mind creates an illusion of incompleteness for one to reach out and pursue happiness incessantly, with an ever increasing thresh-hold of satisfaction. Never does one have sustained happiness. It alternates with a sense of boredom and dissatisfaction.
The pseudo-intelligent, the intellectual has been successful in garbing this hankering, this pursuit of happiness by giving it a spiritual wrapper. He goes out for more sermons, more seva, more reading of scriptures. Spawning an industry around happiness with happiness mongers – teachers, coaches, guides, gurus, writes and speakers – making hay while the sun shines. Notice how he thirsts for newer and newer spiritual knowledge, different sermons and even more interesting God-men as his consumerist self gets easily bored with the same stuff. The ever increasing threshold of happiness, of satisfaction, now drives him to look for something more, something different, and something new. This neo-satvic population of people love talking and discussing about spirituality and the more they do so, they are taking themselves farther from the truth. They are looking at the reflection of the moon in the lake, diving for it and getting drowned in it, in the process increasingly going away from where really the moon is.
This relentless, mindless and futile pursuit of happiness may have one good inherent in it. Like they say, everything in Existence has a reason and in the final analysis has some goodness to offer to mankind, there must be therefore some good in this pursuit. Well, to me, someone who spotted this fallacy quite early and cautiously stayed away from it, it seems that this relentless pursuit will one day tire out man and make him drop his running around. While he may still have pent up desires for feeling more complete, he will be so exhausted, so bored that he will simply not be able to pursue anymore. Like Buddha who sought salvation painstakingly for six years and then dropped under the Bodhi Tree to be enlightened, he will also eventually drop with no energy, no ‘will’ left to invest in any further physical, emotional or intellectual pursuit. He would just give up. And in that state, it is possible that he will lose himself – the consumerist, egoic self that was driving him crazy all these days – to find bliss – the ultimate happiness. No more will he be required to scale heights and descend to the valleys as he would have drowned and soaked himself perpetually in the ocean of joy.
The question is, if that is the ultimate destiny then why takes such a tortuous, self-defeating and effort-intensive path? Why so much of faking and feigning? Why not surrender to dissolve with the Existence, right here, right now?