Pursuing or chasing happiness is an impossible goal.
We never get there.
“Chasing” something projects it into the future. But think about this: the future is an illusion. It never arrives. Have you ever experienced the future? No, you’ve only ever experienced this moment and this moment. Now and now.
Trying to ‘get to happiness one day’ implies that joy isn’t available to you yet; it makes it unattainable. We say, “I’ll give myself permission to feel happy when I get a raise or a different job or lose 15 pounds or move to a better town.” But if you can’t allow yourself happiness here and now … you never will.
Happiness happens now … or never.
Of course, it’s human nature to have goals. We all have desires and want to move towards those desires. But it’s important that we feel joy along the way to whatever we want. Otherwise, we introduce struggle and resistance on our path. And those emotions are the very things that block us from our goals … AND our happiness!
I’ve applied this concept to so many areas of my life. For example, in the past, I found myself often frantically racing to get my son to school in the morning. My sole purpose was future-focused: dropping him off … quickly! I was becoming a drill sergeant: “Downstairs NOW! Don’t forget your mittens! We’ll be late, let’s go!” Now that I’m focused on joy in the moment, we turn up the music in the car and sing songs we both like. We’ve come up with a rhyming game and a guessing game that Trevor loves. I’ve discovered that the daily commute to school can be a time to deeply connect with my son.
In the words of Walt Whitman: “Happiness not for another place, but THIS place …. Not for another hour, but THIS hour.”