Real Happiness

I was thinking the other day about happiness and what drives us.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.
Dalai Lama

It seems we are conditioned to think happiness comes from enriching ourselves, by enriching I mean with items, goods, stuff and the money that buys such things.

There is no doubt ‘things’ or ‘stuff’ can feel good especially in the moment. But does it make you really happy, does the HD TV make you happy in 6 months time?

We are programmed to ensure we survive so obviously having shelter and food trigger positive emotions but do we confusion this positive emotion for items we actually need to survive with things that aren’t necessary. And if we confuse the needs with the wants, do we place too must value on the wants because of this confusion?

I mentor 2 young people who are overcoming disadvantages in their life. Why does it feel so much better when they achieve their goals then when I achieve something? Pure evolution says I should only really be happy long term for myself and my immediate family.

We see people all the time doing significant selfless acts on behalf of others that they seek no outward reward for. I notice some people helping others that the person receiving the help doesn’t even know about. What drives people to do this? And why do the seem happy without the big bank account? Could it be there is another truth out there? Are we all connected to something else, were does that feeling and desire to help come from? Why I am happier for someone else’s success?

Perhaps there is a connection we all share that sometimes overrides pure self or asserts itself at different times in our lives. Survival obviously drives us but I don’t think it is the only thing out there, otherwise why to we have for the most part working communities? Yes there is tension but the vast majority don’t kill or try to injury others to their own advantage.

But perhaps the biggest question is how do we forget the real happiness of helping others and go back to the material self when we experience more form the former? I guess it’s the immediate survive vs common good / spiritual connections. The ‘want’ system is designed in Western society to overwhelm us in every interaction, maybe I should be amazed it’s ever overcome at all.

For now I’m just so happy for Donna’s and Malvina’s successes as they strive to become empowered young women. In a week were I’m struggling with internal politics caused by job losses it feels like a good week anyway because of them.


About Nathan

An Australian World traveler who has been fortunate enough to experience 56 countries so far.
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