We are indeed living, an indisputable fact. But a fundamental question remains largely unasked: why do we live? In our individual lives, the quest for happiness seems to be a continuous endeavor. If posed with the question, “For what purpose do you live life?” most people would likely respond, “For happiness, for satisfaction.” However, it remains an undeniable truth that no one to date has discovered permanent happiness or satisfaction. Each of us strives to fulfill our desires in the hope of achieving happiness. Still, the culmination is often a bitter failure — not a failure in accomplishing our desires but in discovering the elusive happiness we seek.
The Fruitless Pursuit of Happiness
One conclusion becomes glaringly apparent: if we are seeking happiness by fulfilling our desires, we will inevitably encounter failure. Consequently, happiness is not to be found in a relentless search, but rather in the state of ‘not searching’.
The method we use to attain what we desire is characterized by a certain pattern of internal or external movement. This movement, known as desire, initiates a pursuit or search. However, it’s essential to understand that a movement is never permanent; its very impermanence defines it. The concept of happiness, particularly permanent happiness, cannot be attained through an impermanent course. A movement may provide a temporary sense of happiness, the duration of which depends on the type of desire and the level of effort invested in it. But, no matter how splendid the movement, it can never transport us to a state of peace and exuberance. Instead, it ultimately leads to greater imbalances. Ironically, it is this imbalance that initially sparks the pursuit of happiness, a pursuit which only exacerbates the imbalance along the journey.
The Dilemma of Happiness
When we speak of happiness, we envision a state of being that combines stability or balance and dynamism or exuberance. The dilemma, then, is how to arrive at this ideal state of happiness. To answer this, we must explore why our attempts to pursue happiness often result in failure.
Whenever we engage in a task, an element of energy is activated in a specific direction, causing an imbalance between stability and dynamism. The fleeting sense of happiness we experience when a desire is fulfilled occurs because, at that moment, there is a transitional movement of settling down, creating a temporary state of happiness. Once the movement completely settles, a state of stillness emerges devoid of any movement. This state is often referred to as boredom because it is unfamiliar and we are unable to discern its essence. The only recognizable element of this state is its potent stillness, which contrasts significantly with the dynamic state experienced when pursuing desires or upon the fulfillment of a desire. So we always try to avoid that state & again indulge in the movements of desire to get that laminar dynamic exuberant state of experience.
Neurochemical Aspect of Happiness
Experiences of different levels of balance and dynamism at the same time are often expressed in terms of the secretion of various brain chemicals. Whenever we do anything if influences the levels of chemicals and so we experience certain proportions of the state of dynamism an stillness. Sometimes we all had some experience of laminar state of dynamism without any effort, which we wanted to sustain but in that effort to sustain it just get diminished. We many times experience such state but accidentally or due certain combinations of natural happenings inside or outside.
We need to understand one thing, as of how doing or not doing something gives us certain experience. Whenever any movement occurs in our state of being, it takes certain time to secret chemicals and gets infused into ongoing state of movement. This applies to the secretion of brain chemicals, each of which takes a certain amount of time to secrete and to activate and diminish its effects. Certain times we get immediately intense current or certain times it gives smoother and warm feeling. So the thing is certain energy movements gets converted to certain chemical secretions taking it’s own course of time.
Transformation of the state of Boredom
As phenomena (state of energy) becomes more potent, it requires more time to become fluid. The state of boredom (being potent state of being) also has a chemical basis. If one doesn’t avoid boredom, a natural balance between potential (Stability) and movement (Dynamism) will naturally occur, that will lead to a dynamic state of stillness. Which won’t be turbulent in nature, rather it will be laminar attributeless state of dynamism. It won’t trigger certain movements which later on get diminishes. It will be a proper golden mean of states of stillness (stability) and dynamism (movement). This is the state we yearn for, a state being devoid of movement but possessing ultimate dynamism.
This can be achieved by doing nothing. In fact, this is how in “not searching for happiness” will we get the happiness. There is nothing to do to get happiness structurally. So the fundamental issue to get pleasant state of experience (for which the the whole world is running behind something or the other) is just solved by sitting still & let the course of life settles down in its own way.
So now for what to live life?
Living Beyond Happiness: The Gift of Life
Now the question arises: why do we live life? We take a step beyond seeking happiness. We now live to engage in any activity or we don’t engage, we can just be without being affected by it. The supreme objective of living life to achieve happiness has now been shattered. We can now just engage in seemingly purposeless endeavors, the pure playground of life, where we can do anything merely to exist. Then whatever we do or don’t, there will be sheer sensitiveness in our way of being which will direct us from inside in any situation of life.
To live is the only gift of Life
Ultimately, ‘To live is the only gift of Life.’ This is the transcendent principle of our existence, which moves beyond the pursuit of happiness to the simple but profound act of living, regardless of the challenges or joys that come our way. The gift of life is not in seeking happiness but in the sheer act of living. Embracing this can lead us to a balanced state of balance and dynamism, the desired state of pleasantness or so called happiness, and ultimately, to the pure playground of life. This profound realization that life is, in itself, the most significant gift can lead to a revolutionary transformation in the way we perceive our existence and interact with the world around us.