Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Immanent Happiness

An implicit assumption of mine is that happiness comes when you’ve achieved certain life conditions: a particular job, relationship, level of accomplishment or acclaim. Recently, though, while walking along the street on a sunny day I felt well up from within an experience of happiness. This is unusual for me and didn’t make any sense. It didn’t make sense because I assume that I cannot feel happiness unless I’ve achieved certain things. In my mind there is a strict cause and effect with the environment being the cause and my mood being the effect. Since the conditions for happiness are not in place in my life I cannot feel happiness. In addition, the goal of feeling happiness is a motivator for me to do the things I need to do to become happy. If I were to just feel happiness without those conditions that I know cause happiness being in place then that ruins my taken-for-granted belief system.

I should be pleased with this. “Thank God! I can just have the prize without the work.” But it seems too good to be true and it suggests that my years of struggle have not been necessary. That’s an enormous waste of time and effort.

But perhaps it was just a one off occurrence and won’t be repeated. Although, ironically, it may be due to my not pursuing happiness anymore in the way that I assumed one must try to achieve it: accomplishing some intellectual work that others admire. Maybe it’s a release from the strictures of a warped approach to living. That could cause great relief.

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