I was just reading a thread on Quora which asked people what they wanted most in life. It would be politically correct to say that the answers should vary because surely different people would want different things in life, right? I resist this notion. I have a theory that we are all programmed to want the exact same thing but vary in our levels of delusion about the answer. So, what do you want most in life?
It amazed me to see what a variety of answers people came up with. Some people said wealth. Some people said love. Some people said comfort or security. And some people said happiness. Whether they were conscious of any distinction or not, some people said the “pursuit” of happiness and I want to talk about this concept briefly today.
Firstly, I want to congratulate the people who were adamant on happiness or even the pursuit of happiness as their answer. This is because I believe happiness-oriented answers are the only correct answers. And I believe we can classify the answers as being binary. Correct or incorrect. We can then grade both correct and incorrect answers with degrees of delusion from the ultimate correct answer which I mention in another article.
Note that some answers outside of the happiness spectrum are useful to society and may answer very similar questions, but are incorrect for the particular question of, “what do you want most in life?” So if you did answer happiness, I applaud you.
But what is happiness? Today it seems to be a very ambiguous answer that could be open for interpretation or may manifest itself differently for different people. But I think most of us understand intrinsically what it means to feel happy.
The obvious contrast between happiness and the “pursuit of happiness” is that one is pure happiness and one is but a pursuit. They’re two completely different things. Happiness. Pursuit. I’m not trying to sound like a smart ass here either by nitpicking peoples’ choice of grammar. There is a very important and real difference that people don’t often see. The point I’m making is that a sense of “now” or “realisation” in the present reality is imperative here.
The present reality is the only reality that exists. The future never happens. To “pursue” implies living for the future which is in essence a deluded form of thinking. It involves redirecting your attention from what is happening around you right now to the illusion of tomorrow. The bulk of our experience should exist in the present reality but it seems a lot of people have this backward and are left living almost entirely in the future, resenting today.
Instead of seeking pleasure or happiness, we should just embody pleasure or happiness at once. It is not something that is difficult to locate. By looking for an enhanced, different, or futuristic happiness, we let the only happiness that is valuable (the tangible happiness that exists right now) pass us by. We ignore or suppress it because we’ve been taught to operate in the future.
I intend on writing material shortly that can help you to appreciate the present moment and stop living in the future. I will update this article when that article exists.