When you ask people what they want in life, most people say “happiness”. However, the great majority of people do not know how to be happy, or what true happiness really is. People talk about happiness as if it is something to be achieved. They have the impression that one must strive in life so that one day they may be happy. They subconsciously believe that they will be happy once they have enough money to make their life as comfortable as possible. And it is this belief that drives all human efforts in this world. Our egos are afraid of death, and so all our egos’ efforts are to try to make our lives as comfortable as possible because this makes our long-term safety more likely. And there are always ways you can be more comfortable, so the ego’s efforts never stop. But are we here just to make our lives as safe and comfortable as possible? Is this what will truly make us happy? If this is so then why are the majority of rich people more miserable than the rest of us?
When you ask people if they’re happy, some people say something like, “Well I have a good family, a good job, a nice house, a good salary, a good group of friends, etc.”. They start naming things they “have”; their possessions. People view possessions as if they are the measure of happiness. They do not talk about their happiness within, but instead talk about their external comforts. It’s as if a person without a family, many friends, a high-status job or a big house can’t be happy. Some people may say “I am lucky compared to most” when asked if they are happy. But, again, this is looking at your external circumstance, assessing how comfortable it is, and then comparing it to other people’s external circumstances. But does true happiness depend on other people being less comfortable than you? And does true happiness depend on your external circumstance? Other people may answer “I don’t know” when being asked if they’re happy. But happiness is like being in love; if you don’t know if you’re in love, then you aren’t. If you are happy, you will know for sure that you are happy.
True happiness is happiness that is unaffected by anything outside of one’s self. It is permanent and unconditional. But it is not something to achieve or strive for. In fact, one must drop all striving and all efforts to achieve things in order to realise happiness. When one completely relaxes and surrenders to life, then happiness just is, then love just is, then peace just is, then bliss just is, then the Divine just is. It is the ego that is responsible for all resistance and efforts in life. One must therefore detach from their ego in order to realise the happiness that is already within them, waiting to be rediscovered. When you are in love, you lose yourself in someone. When you are really enjoying an activity, you lose yourself in it. To be permanently happy, one must permanently lose themselves to life. It is the dropping and shedding of the ego that is required. Then life becomes effortless. You go with the flow of life without resistance or attempting to control any part of life.
You can tell someone is truly happy by how relaxed they are. They are not affected much by situations outside of themselves. They are always playful and make light of everything. They are always present and are often always joking around. They are simple and innocent and never mean any harm. Their eyes sparkle and ooze light. You can see this clearly in animals. And you can be like this too once you drop your ego and completely surrender. In this way, your happiness will not be dependent on what’s around you. You will be happy when your life is comfortable or uncomfortable. Comfort and happiness are independent from each other; one does not rely on the other. Someone can be comfortable whether they are happy or not.
When you surrender, you are often actually guided away from comfort and into challenges. This is because your soul is here to experience different things and learn from those experiences. When your life is very comfortable, predictable and safe, you are unlikely to be truly happy as you will be resisting your soul’s urges to explore the risky and uncomfortable unknown. You will not be surrendering to the Divine within you. If you keep resisting your inner urges, eventually, external situations will be organised in such a way for you to be challenged and taken out of your comfort zone. In this way, no one can remain comfortable for too long in life. There will be periods of comfort and discomfort throughout your life, and as long as you permanently surrender, i.e you do not attach to comfort and you do not resist discomfort, you will remain happy from within.