When the Hunt Ends: What I have Learned in Seeking Happiness

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Seeker

It seems as though we are always on the hunt for something. In  search of a mate, in search of that all-fulfilling job, in the market for a new home or a new car. What happens when we reach all of our material goals? What comes after landing the awesome, high paying job; after we buy the house, buy the car and have satisfied all material goals?

At age 26, I found myself pondering these questions. I have appeased all of my material, societal demanding desires. “I’ll be happy once I submit this paper…I’ll be happy once I graduate and can avoid essay writing all together…I’ll be happy once I land a job that relates to my major..I’ll be happy…”

I have recently come to the realization, as I am sure many of you have, that none of these things can bring happiness and inner peace. Not to say that they don’t bring stability and comfort, they just don’t deliver the same sort of happiness that is resilient and long-lasting. It’s almost comical, that if you remove all of the struggle, goal oriented behaviors and hard work…you’re almost exactly right back where you started on the happiness scale.

The truth is, happiness is everywhere. There is the potential for spontaneous happiness in the present. The key is to look around and notice it.

In one of his lectures about his world famous book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Dr. Wayne Dyer gently advises to “see everything in our lives as miraculous”. It sounds so simple; but next time you start to feel that numbness of perfunctory routine or the overwhelm of life-  go outside, look around, close your eyes, listen, feel, notice.

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Take away our jaded states due to our societal norms, our technological inclinations and the weight of the pressure we accept as just ‘part of life’- miraculous is just one of the thousands of adjectives we would begin to use to describe our surroundings and our lives.

Peace is not found in working a job that makes you lots of money, or driving around in your brand new car. Peace is found in grounding, in acceptance and in gratitude. How could anyone feel sadness that is grateful for the mere fact that they are able to take a breath in and an exhalation out? Don’t get me wrong, new things are great, it feels good to get a new car and to knock a job interview out of the park, but these feelings are fleeting. They do not last. Your soul however, is infinite. The exploration of the soul is not a fruitless exercise, tuning into your breath and listening to your thoughts is not a valueless experiment.

We all experience sadness and anxiety; it’s part of the human condition. The key is to explore the paradox of it all, understand that while we have days where we feel sadness, we also have days where we experience unbridled excitement and happiness. Finding peace is accepting the parts of yourself that hurt, the parts of yourself that ache, and embracing them, loving them, befriending them.

For years, I thought my next buy was going to make my life, was going to bring me the happiness I was always hunting for.  I still suffer from the materialistic ailment, but I am aware, always observing in a non-judgmental manner, always making sure I pay attention to my feet on the ground, my breath in and out, the sun on my skin, the breeze through my hair. And for some reason, those miracles make my material goals less powerful on the To Do list of life.

*Danielle shared this article as a contribution on YogiApproved.com

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