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June 30, 2022

Archive for July 4, 2007

Happiness Pursuit

The Pursuit of Happiness
Everyone’s Pursuit of Happiness
An article linking themes from the film The Pursuit of Happyness to everyone’s life.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson, final draft for the United States Declaration of Independence.

“The idea that it’s ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ and not ‘life, liberty and happiness’ is that the elusive nature of happiness is such that all someone can ever give to you is the opportunity to pursue.”

Will Smith on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (taken from The Pursuit of Happyness official site)

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a film about Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), a man who in unfortunate circumstances (homeless and financially insecure) struggled to earn financial and domestic stability for himself and his son. The Pursuit of Happyness has been received warmly by the American public as an inspirational tale of determination, courage and hard work (i.e. the pursuit of happiness), that by using these qualities one can achieve a better life (i.e. achieve happiness).

“Happiness” is portrayed in this film as a better state than what we already have, and “the pursuit of happiness” is the path we must endure to achieve happiness. In particular, Chris Gardner defines happiness as a state of financial and domestic stability for himself and his son. We can all relate to this goal, especially if we already have these comforts, and look upon being homeless as a lesser standard of life that must be overcome.

The Problem with the Pursuit of Happiness

A major problem with us today is that many of us already have these comforts, but still aren’t happy. We have our security, and simply living securely isn’t good enough and we want more.

Ironically, if Chris Gardner were already living securely, with a comfortable home, good job and family, and strove to make more money for a bigger house and a flashier car, and then if he continued fiercely striving for more power and respect, we would no longer consider this an inspiring story of determination and courage, but one of ambitiousness and greed.

Such a story is more characteristic of The Godfather than The Pursuit of Happyness! However, in both cases and in every area of human life, we can conclude that everyone is involved in this very same aspiration to a better state of life, in the pursuit of happiness.

What is at the Source of the Pursuit of Happiness?

This common pursuit of happiness is that we all view our current situation as lacking something, and need to work (we need to pursue…) in order to fulfill this lack (we need to pursue happiness). Right now, take a moment to think about what you want. Just by thinking about it, you’re already feeling that you are lacking this thing and you need to do something to achieve it.

This brings us to the question: What is at the source of this pursuit of happiness? What makes us happy?

That one person pictures to himself a secure family life as happiness, and another pictures love for another person as happiness, and another pictures a huge amount of wealth and power as happiness, and for another it’s a new dress, CD, car or gadget… to all this we can pose a conclusion: that it is not the money, the respect, the power, the food, or anything that we picture to ourselves that makes us happy… that before all these things, we have desires for them—we want them—and only the moment when we fulfill our desires is when we feel happiness.

Now that we understand that it is not money, food, family, sex, knowledge, honor, power or any physical thing we can picture to ourselves that makes us happy, but the act of fulfilling our desires, we can start learning how to also take part in this pursuit of happiness, directly at its source—desire and its fulfillment.

Where am I and Where are Others in the Pursuit of Happiness?

The thing with all these desires is that none of them leave us with a true feeling of happiness. Why? It is because precisely at the moment when we fulfill them, they disappear. New desires then enter us and force us to pursue their demands. It is as if we are constantly in the pursuit of happiness, and we either never reach happiness, or the moment we do, it immediately slips through our fingers.

The reason for this is because the whole time we are only trying to fulfill one person—me. In other words, our desires are all self-aimed, and can never be lastingly fulfilled. However, we constantly find ourselves yearning toward something better, something lasting and eternal, and feel that somehow, somewhere, it has to exist.

The trick to achieving true happiness is precisely the opposite of what we’re accustomed to thinking: we cannot achieve true happiness by trying to fulfill our own desires, but only through pursuing the fulfillment of others’ desires. In other words, we need to feel that the more others are happy, the more we are happy. We need a desire that grows and expands when it is fulfilled, drawing more and more fulfillment, and through this desire I feel happiness from making others happy. This is a desire for unlimited, endless happiness. We all have this desire, but we just don’t know how to fulfill it yet; we don’t know how to pursue it.

If we return to what Will Smith said at the beginning of the article, that “the elusive nature of happiness is such that all someone can ever give to you is the opportunity to pursue”—the wisdom of Kabbalah is the method which gives us the opportunity to achieve unlimited happiness. It is a time-tested method of discovering happiness fulfilling others, and guides us in learning how precisely to fulfill others so that they will become happier and happier. Our happiness then multiplies by the amount that we are able to fulfill others and make them happier.

To find out more about this desire for unlimited happiness and how to fulfill it, check out the following videos and links:

Why Am I Never Satisfied? 04:37
Our inborn egoistic state never allows us to be completely satisfied. Perceiving Reality describes what we should do with our ego in order to experience boundless, complete and ever-expanding satisfaction.
Click here to view the video at Kabbalah TV

Development of Desires 04:59
An outline of all the desires we have, and how our desires develop.
Click here to view the video at Kabbalah TV

Click here to read a review on this article at Squidoo

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