Happiness depends on our capacity for truth

Is happiness driven by the change in our experience or that of experience changing us? Our reflex is to try only to change the world around us, making it amenable for contented thinking rather than working on those thoughts directly. We really believe that it’s an unchanging self that must act on what surrounds it rather than a change of being as the measure of any progress. Somewhat insanely it’s the whole world that we choose to be the variable to move rather than the lone self. Our mentality is finite and mechanical – the “do this now to get that later” model.

The human impulse is still to dream that external circumstances are the dominant source of happiness – despite all the evidence, our observation and what we at heart know to be true. Manufactured happiness that comes from a cause, from outside in, is found to be counterfeit, provisional and unreal. 

We may find that the more we plan pleasure ahead the less it appears. The future – that toy of the mind – is always a chimera, a lure to drive us onward. In daily life some planning may be necessary to function but joy is more likely if it finds us without anticipation.

As we move through life our activities in various modes may or may not bring us “success” in the conventional view of society but the far greater need is to calibrate accomplishment internally, to remember what our real work is. We may even find as a bonus that an engagement with this inner world is often ultimately more effective in changing the outer situation too. 

A realization that goes against our whole strategy of living is that our happiness depends more on a capacity not for achievement but for truth.

Understanding as art and science