hydraulics of the mind

in search of happiness

What we really want from life is to be happy. We want to feel good with what we think, with what we feel and with what is happening around us. We want to feel fulfilled in our relationships and social interactions. In short, we want our lives to become perfect.

And so we cruise through life trying its different tastes, acquiring different exotic experiences. And over time, we slowly realise that this ideal state, the perfect set of conditions that are supposed to bring us closer to happiness, does not occur very often (if it occurs at all).

In some cases even, we are not able to define what would really make us happy. Yes, we can clearly tell what we don’t want to happen, what events and situations would cause suffering. But what could bring us to happiness is much less obvious to us. And even if we are lucky enough and finally manage to define it, it’s often the case that when the dream conditions come true, happiness is still very short lived. Paradoxically, there are these days when the situation seems to be unbearable, and then, unexpectedly a feeling of fulfillment, joy and deep meaning appears in the heart.

So what is this, what is this elusive thing that we call happiness? Before we venture any further, it seems reasonable to ask Wikipedia

Happiness is an emotion caused by the experiences that the subject judges as positive.


to feel happy means:

(…) (Lasting) satisfaction with life combined with cheerfulness and optimism; evaluation of one’s own life as successful, valuable and meaningful

Despite the fact that the quoted definitions are very general, they contain two important elements. The first is the statement:

“Happiness is an emotion”

The second part  shows us what are the causes for this emotion (happiness) to arise:

“Experiences assessed by the subject as positive”

Hence we could say that happiness is an emotion that arises in the mind when it (the mind) evaluates its experiences as positive and beneficial.

However, at the beginning of our reflections, we’ve noticed that we are often unable to identify what type of experiences could trigger the emotion of happiness. In addition to that we noticed that even in situations considered by us as conducive for happiness to arise, it only appears for short, if it appears at all. 

Therefore, many of us have started asking themselves the question: “Am I inherently flawed? Why can’t I ever be satisfied? ” , and often follow the later by a series of painful self-criticism and blame.

Before we start a fist fight with our minds, it’s good to deepen our understanding of what emotions and feelings actually are.

By marcin wozich

I love open awareness and I love coffee...