However, even when we are at peace and content, unless we are in the company of loved ones or friends, offering others joy, or perhaps communing with nature, we tend not to experience happiness. Why is this?
If all we need to be happy is to offer others joy, be in contact with loved ones and friends, respect our mind, respect our body, be in contact with nature, and live within our means, we should be able to experience happiness every moment that we are present, free of the intervention of our ego thinking-mind. Even when we’re alone, regardless of the situation ... so long as we’re living within our means.
As I wrote in a previous post, one can be in contact with loved ones and friends even if they are not present; one can be in touch with nature even in a cell; one can offer others joy just by smiling even when no one is present, sending them joy. Besides there is always something else present, whether a sentient being or an inanimate object, to whom one can offer joy.
The answer lies simply in our lifelong habit-energy of not experiencing happiness. So removed is true happiness from our experience ... as opposed to joy at achieving one of our cravings and which is thus tainted (see my post, “When Joy Is Not Joy”), that our default mode is the absence of happiness.
The antidote to this habit-energy is to create a new habit-energy of actively, purposefully, embracing each moment, being open to all each moment has to offer, and finding happiness in each moment. And as with many things in our practice, the trick is being aware. Because if you are not aware, you will fall into the default mode of your ego thinking-mind.
Who would have thought that this would also be a challenge? But it is. I have recently put a post-it on my desk that says, “Be present, embrace the moment, and find happiness in it.” Until I have created a new default-mode, I will have to work at it.