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The Delusion Of The Pursuit Of Happiness

The Delusion Of The Pursuit Of Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a common thread in our society, addicted to chasing one good emotion after the next and repressing anything which feels uncomfortable.

However, the very act of PURSUING happiness is delusional, as chasing after happiness will ironically lead to more misery.

How can the pursuit of happiness lead to more misery?! You may ask...

Let me explain.

We’re just slaves to sensations.

By sensations, I mean the fleeting moments when we feel good emotions, a rush of happy hormones to the head.

Be it arousal, a moment of confidence or finally ‘achieving’ a yoga pose. From the moment we experience them we constantly pursue them, and If we’re not experiencing them we’re not content.

In fact, our whole society is based on living for the weekend, a weekend where we can finally be aroused!

But ultimately, the week will start again and you’ll be back to your 9 - 5

Monday blues are a prime example of our unhealthy addiction to pursuing happiness, the moment the weekend is over we crash into misery. And the countdown to the weekend starts again...

That misery feels so much more intense if your life is based on looking to the future as the source of your happiness.

We’re so addicted to always feeling good, that we even bury negative emotions deep in our bodies, eventually making us sicker. Indeed, the highs are high but the lows are low…

Yoga is a great tool to unlock those repressed emotions, as you practice the art of letting go and accepting what is.

However, we even pursue a ‘strong’ yoga practice believe it or not, not happy until we achieve a practice that we’re proud of.

The pursuit of a good yoga practice is actually an illusion, you’re not actually going to get to a better place than you were before in this headspace

Particularly if you’re still stuck in the narrative of constantly chasing after good feelings, you’ll spend years developing a strong yoga practice only to end up going after the next thing to make you feel happy.

The true beauty of yoga is to come to a place where you finally accept that no happiness lies in the past or future, only the present.

Enjoy and accept every moment, your life will just be a series of them.. good and bad.

It’s the journey, not the destination.

When you accept that the rises and falls of life are inevitable, you’ll finally develop a sense of contentment for them.

“A man who understands the Tao (course of nature) in the morning may die without regret in the evening”  - Confucius

We’re all going to the same place at the end of our lives when you finally accept your own mortality what you do in between birth and death is up to you.

Choose sensitivity over sensations

The moment we hear ‘sensitivity’ we immediately attach negative associations to it. If a man or a woman is said to be sensitive, it’s a bad thing.

‘Stop being so sensitive!’

However to be truly sensitive is to deeply feel each moment of your life, the ups and the downs, and to be content with them.

Yoga is a great representation of this...

Chasing sensations is jumping in and out of yoga poses, pursuing the next one as the source of happiness - living for the weekend on a yoga mat...

Those more sensitive, find great peace before, during and after each pose - In this space, deeply present to each moment, our attention is focused and we’re finally content. 

When you choose sensitivity you’re no longer afraid of life, no longer living for the weekend...

Written by: Jonty Hikmet