On a random morning a little girl grabbed my hand in the hallway. She was neither my daughter nor related to me in any other way. “Mama, unten”, she pulled my arm pointing down the stairway in anticipation. Her mom was waiting for her in front of the door together with her sister. We proceeded down the stairs with care. It took a few minutes until her mother could welcome us with a warm smile.
A “dankeschön” from this two-year-old and the blink of gratefulness in the eyes of her mother would make this start of the day a special one.
These little fingers squeezing my hands reminded me of what real happiness is. It is connection. It is understanding. It is trust. It is this feeling of being in the right place at the right time.
Happiness is being in the flow. It is merging into the presence. Being one with the moment – without any obligations. It is a moment of unity in this highly individualized world.
When was the last time you experienced a moment like this?
In Wrong Pursuit of Happiness
How many times are we wrapped up in our head? In our personal reality?
We are busy ticking off to-do-lists, achieving the next career level, finding the right partner or financial investment. We network, we ‘do business’, we socialize, but are we happy? Are we really connecting with each other? Or are we so caught up in our bright future?
“We have been taught that freedom is the freedom to pursue our petty, trivial desires. Real freedom is freedom from our petty, trivial desires.” I stumbled upon this quote the other day. Adam Curtis is talking about addiction here, but isn’t our obsession of pursuing material (or immaterial) wealth also some kind of addiction?
Instead of pursuing our real needs we are misleading ourselves with substitutions.
Are We Slaves to Our Desires?
We mistaken ‘fulfilling our petty trivial desires’ with ‘happiness’. And this is what makes us feel discontent: As long as we are only longing for satisfaction we are pursuing happiness from an ego perspective.
What do I mean by that? We are compensating our search for meaning / figuring out what we really want with substitutions. ‘Making a living’ on this planet seems to be a very big issue for us whereas an ant can easily subsist.
But ants are might be a topic for another article. Back to us: Pursuing our desires – that means we value what is ‘of use’ for us. With this attempt we bound our ability to connect with the people around us. And where we are meant to find connection we are closing ourselves off.
This is addictive behavior. All we do is consuming fast food for our soul. We fill ourselves, but we don’t nourish us. We are so busy ‘creating’ ourselves that we don’t conceive that we are already here. We think we are freeing ourselves, but in reality we trap ourselves.
Everything that is accessible has to be achieved as fast as possible. Delay of gratification outworn its significance in our society. Like an addict always looking for the next thrill we blur our senses.
In the end our desire ‘to be happy’ is what holds us back from being happy.
The Circle of Happiness
What we don’t understand is that we find happiness only by connecting with each other in the real world. Life is what happens in the hallway or on the street or at the dinner table. Life is real time experience.
The circle of happiness starts in the presence. It starts with being aware of the small moments. Being ready to connect with the outside world and the people around us at any moment in time.
Instead of aiming for a certain lifestyle we should re-discover our true values: sharing love, cultivating a sense of community, being ‘there’ for each other. ‘Creating ourselves’ should be replaced with ‘self-care’ or ‘creating healthy relationships’. This is what makes us happy.
It seems like the circle of happiness becomes a thing on this blog.