“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi.
“The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land – “I am stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:19-20) – ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls.”
~ Ba’al Shem Tov, Hasidic master
“O God, you are my God – for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water.”
~ Psalm 63:1
“The longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance.”
~ Meyer Baba
Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?
Q. Why do all people want to be happy?
A. In seeking happiness, everyone is really seeking Self.
Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with It.
No matter how spiritually evolved we may become, all incarnate human life-forms experience limitation and separation from Source. Though rare beings in deep meditation may transcend this state of seeming separation and limitation, it recurs when they are impelled to return to physicality or subtle form.
Thus great devotional beings like Rumi and Hafiz constantly yearned to return to the Beloved; ever longed for eternal transcendence of the inevitable limitations and sufferings of physical existence.
From my first breath I have longed for Him –
This longing has become my life.
This longing has seen me grow old. . . .
Hafiz expressed his endless longing thusly:
“My soul endures a magnificent longing. … My pen does not have the ability to describe my condition of intense longing due to separation.”
Sri Ramana Maharshi, renowned twentieth century non-dualist sage, even after attaining self realization, reported regularly shedding tears of longing and devotion during visits to the ancient Meenakshi temple in Madurai. In recounting his experience, Maharshi explained that:
“The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears.”
This phenomenon of infinite longing of even “enlightened” beings was explained by Mother Meera in dialogue with spiritual author and teacher Andrew Harvey, and recounted as follows:
“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236
Thus, incarnation is limitation, and knowingly or unknowingly all beings – even sages – long for transcendence of that limitation. For most humans longing for transcendence is subliminal and experienced as wanting worldly contentment. But what we really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness beyond any state of mind, beyond conception or imagination.
So, in seeking happiness, what we really seek is Source or Self.
Ron’s Comments on “Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?”
The foregoing quotations and essay help explain why (knowingly or unknowingly) everyone wants lasting happiness.
For millennia wisdom teachers have counseled that
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy” (Dalai Lama).
And to find timeless happiness they tell us e.g. to
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.” (Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21)
Most incarnate humans perceive and project self-identity/reality only as beings supposedly separate from Nature and eternally indivisible inner Self-awareness. And thus we futilely seek – but cannot find – lasting happiness through ever impermanent worldly pleasures and satisfactions, rather than through inner identity with immutable eternal spirit.
“Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?” suggests that all beings at least subliminally long for eternal happiness and transcendence of inevitable earthly limitations; that knowingly or unknowingly what we all really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness as LOVE – beyond mental description, conception or imagination.
Thus, even elevated mystics like supreme Sufi poet masters Rumi and Hafiz tell us of their life-long tearful yearnings and longings for return to God.
Perhaps such life-long yearnings can help us explain why inevitably incarnation may be experienced as limitation by even the most elevated mystics or sages.
And, perhaps such longings will inspire a new earthly era, as envisioned by Indian Sage Sri Aurobindo, who said:
“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness. The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191
As each of us is drawn by irresistible inner longing toward Oneness with Eternal Light, may we become instruments of Divine Consciousness on Earth.
And, may we envision and exemplify an era of lasting happiness for everyone everywhere.
And so may it be!