It is fallacious to let life slip away in the pursuit of the illusion that, “When I achieve something, I will be free to live in happiness.”
If you pursue a job, a relationship, a house, a material possession, or the settlement of a debt, happiness will never come because there is always another “something” that will follow the present one. The circumstances that you thus wait for do provide a transitory elation, but, too soon, they withdraw into the dull and mundane, only to be replaced by the next fantasy of happiness.
The Art of Simple Existence is One of the Most Difficult to Master
According to Buddhism, the art of simple existence is one of the most difficult to master. If you aren’t living in peace and happiness at this moment, you’ll never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only the aspiration of peace “someday when I accomplish something.”
The experience of pleasure, freedom, and love are available now, whatever your circumstance. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood reminds us of this in Ordinary Magic: Everyday Life as Spiritual Path:
Our society would have us believe that inner satisfaction depends on outer success and achievement. Yet struggling to “get somewhere” keeps us perpetually busy, stressed out, and disconnected from that essential inner resource—our ability to be fully present—which could provide a real sense of joy and fulfillment. Our life is unsatisfactory only because we are not living it fully, but instead we are pursuing a happiness that is always somewhere else, other than where we are right now…
Cultivating the capacity to be fully present—awake, attentive, and responsive—in all the different circumstances of life is the essence of spiritual practice and realization. Those with the greatest spiritual realization are those who are “all here,” who relate to life with an expansive awareness that is not limited by any fixation on themselves or their own point of view. They don’t shrink from any aspect of themselves or life as a whole.
Idea for Impact: When One Lives, One Must Live Entirely
However difficult your circumstances, however uncertain the times, peace is not to be earmarked for a future time. The definitive source of happiness lies in the quality of your thoughts. Real sustainable peace springs from a healthy and nurturing relationship with yourself. Let nothing and nobody take that away from you. Don’t postpone being at peace.