We all want happiness. It’s such a fundamental desire of humans, that the “pursuit of happiness” is even written into the United States Declaration of Independence. So, if we all want happiness, why does it seems so hard to attain? I believe it’s because we often mistake pleasure for happiness. Do you get the two confused?
Let’s start by distinguishing the difference between the two.
Happiness is a mental state of well-being and contentment.
Pleasure, on the other hand, is temporary sensual gratification.
In other words, pleasure is a short-term, external, and superficial thing, while happiness is a long-lasting undercurrent of serenity that comes deep from within.
We often get pleasure from buying things, whether they are tangible items like clothes and cars and homes or experiences that bring us adrenaline, danger, and excitement.
These things distract us from feeling unfulfilled and, ultimately, unhappy. There is nothing wrong with pleasure in and of itself; it’s only when we confuse pleasure for happiness that we get in trouble.
So, where did this come from?
I once heard it explained this way: Our society is becoming more secular, moving away from organized religion after examining its downfalls versus benefits, but we have yet to fill the void.
The void I’m referring to is the connection to self and the greater universe—the greater oneness of all.
Spirituality has gotten the short end of the stick in this process, and instead of searching within, we started looking outside of ourselves and buying things to fill that hole. Of course, this does no good, because it’s the spiritual connection that brings meaning and purpose to our lives. Not material items.
Spiritual connection to self, others, and the universe is the very basis of our well-being, aka happiness.
So, how do we stop this pleasure-seeking behavior and move toward genuine happiness?
The answer is meditation.
I’m not the first person to say this. Some people use meditation on rational lines, understanding that it connects the right and left side of the brain, which contributes to novel ideas and problem-solving.
But, for me, meditation is a communion. (Yes, I’m stealing a word from organized religion. Bear with me.)
Through meditation, I commune with my highest self — my divine self — and my divine self communes with the source energy that makes up all that is in the universe.
We and the universe are comprised of atoms, and atoms are, more or less, pure energy. So, when we commune with the Great Spirit, God, the universe, source energy, or whatever we cant to call it, we begin to feel a deep sense of connection, belonging, and love.
This is where happiness comes from.
My meditation practice goes hand-in-hand with prayer. During this time, I set my intentions, ask for what I want, how I want to heal, who I want to become, and more.
When I feel connected through meditation, I ask my subconscious and conscious self to align with my highest self and for my highest self to align with the universe.
I ask that I fulfill my purpose on this planet and that it serves others greatly.
I ask that I am a conduit to love and compassion.
I ask that I can remove my blinders and see my limiting beliefs.
I ask, I ask, I ask.
Then, I share what I’m grateful for, and it becomes a conversation. I listen through mediation and talk through prayer. This conversation with myself becomes a conversation with the universe because, ultimately, it’s the same thing.
If you are seeking happiness, I encourage you to start having these conversations with your highest self. Make it a ritual. Because this will bring you what pleasure cannot — contentment from within.
For more thoughts on meditation, read my blog post, “Want to Find Inner Peace? Let the Power of Meditation and Prayer Change Your Life.”
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