What is happiness?

what is happiness ronnie cane blog

Sorry, what was that? Yes, I know, this is a deep topic for a Sunday afternoon, but I’ve had too much coffee so here we are. And, no, I’m not writing this because I’m going through an existential crisis, that was last Sunday.

Let’s get into it. What is happiness?

Happiness has many definitions, across all different cultures and societies. In Buddhism, happiness is defined as the absence of desire. Old Buddhist wisdom says that

desire is a contract that you sign with yourself to ensure that you stay unhappy until you get what you want.

As a species, it is biologically wired into us to desire. So there isn’t much we can do to change that. What we can do, however, is alter what it is that we desire. If you are unhappy, then. you need to study yourself and come to a conclusion on what it is you desire that is making you unhappy. You might find it is something that you haven’t even set out to want, this is usually the case. You may just be after confirmation and acknowledgement from colleagues, which may stem from being mistreated or undervalued in previous employment. If you realised this, I’m sure you’d say to yourself something along the lines of ‘I don’t really care what other people think about me’. Although your unhappiness says otherwise.

If you are seeking happiness, which we all are (see, that is one of the basic forms of desire wired into us) then try your best to not have thousands of desires. Everyone desires things, such as a promotion at work. It is the things in between the lines, of which we are not consciously aware of, which are robbing us of our happiness.

Try picking a handful of central desires, for you and your life, and stick to those.

Published by Ronnie Cane

A student of, stoicism, Buddhism, and human creativity. Generally aiming to put chaos into order.

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