Scientist and Sages agree there are two types of happiness, conditional and unconditional. We are all confronted with choices and make decisions, not just daily but an almost, moment-to-moment basis,which affects our lives and our level of happiness.
Knowing this, it begs the questions, how do we find true happiness? Why is lasting happiness so evasive that we feel as if we are in an endless pursuit of it? There does not appear to be a simple answer, and while, each of us has a unique world view, the vast majority of us hold the same basic beliefs about what it will take to make us happy.
So why is it that, even when all the conditions that we believe will make us happy are meant, such as, material success, loving relationships or even good health, can we still feel unfulfilled and empty?
The answer is that we’re relying on the first type of happiness; conditional happiness. When our happiness is dependent on any outside circumstance, whether people, possessions or positions, then it is conditional.
The happiness that we seek so desperately, unconditional happiness, is as close as or thoughts. Unfortunately our brains have a mind of their own and it tends to run in a negative direction. Fortunately our brains are NOT hardwired and we can consciously change the direction.
The article, “Authentic Happiness,” Richard Paterson speaks to this very subject. Here’s Richard to enlighten us on the two types of happiness…
There are two basic categories of happiness – conditional and authentic happiness.
When happiness is conditional, we are happy when we are having pleasurable experiences or the satisfaction of having things go our way.
Authentic happiness, on the other hand, is not dependent on anything outside of ourselves. It is the simple joy of Being, the happiness from within that we see in young children, a joy that is uncaused and spontaneously bubbles up from inside for no particular reason.
Conditional happiness is characterized by the belief that: “I will be happy when (fill in the blank) happens.”
Always waiting for external events to be a certain way, we live in a state of ‘becoming’ happy, rather than simply Being happy here and now , whatever our circumstances.
When happiness is conditional, it is seen as a goal to be attained rather than a simple expression of who we are. Children (and conscious adults) are happy for no reason. Authentic happiness is no more than an expression of our true nature.
In the pursuit of happiness, we attempt to control and manipulate situations and people in order to create what we believe are favourable circumstances for happiness to flourish. We get caught up in the endless dance of chasing after pleasurable experiences and resisting or pushing away those that are uncomfortable.
You may be familiar with the saying: “what you resist persists? Unhappiness caused by “undesirable” experiences does not come so much from the experiences themselves but from the resistance we put up. Continue reading here.
In order to move in the direction on unconditional happiness we need to become conscious, to pay attention to our “self-talk.”
How do we do that, how do we become more conscious?
Meditation, mindfulness or becoming truly present in the moment. For some this will mean a formal practice and for others it’s a simple awareness and a way of being.
But however you approach the process, when you do, you will find that your awareness or consciousness will follow. Letting go of negative thoughts will be a natural experience and you’ll find your heart opening to the world around you.
You may not feel like you can change the world, but you will feel the experience of the world changing within you.
Yes there are two types of happiness. When we pursue conditional happiness our result will be fleeting; when we seek happiness within we tap into its infinite source.