We all desire happiness. And not just temporary, superficial happiness, but happiness that lasts, that is so deeply fulfilling and all-encompassing that we can completely rest our hearts and minds in it. This desire of the living being for happiness is completely natural.
So why our attempts to satisfy this desire for happiness & peace do seem to bring us so much distress and relatively little happiness? We are constantly searching for happiness in this thing and that thing, this place and that – in material activities, in enjoying the senses, physical sensations, in thoughts and emotions, in accumulating wealth, beauty, power, fame, respect, admiration, and countless other material objects and situations. We are always trying to manipulate our physical and mental environments for happiness. And although we may experience temporary and superficial pleasure from all of our hard efforts, the state of deep and lasting peace and happiness that we long for remains aloof. All this searching and struggling for happiness does not generally result in increased happiness. Instead, it is our anxiety about happiness that tends to increase.
Realizing this, we might conclude that the only happiness is perhaps in trying to rid ourselves of the desire to be happy. But this is an erroneous conclusion. The problem is not with the desire for happiness, but rather the misguided ways in which we are trying to fulfill this desire.