Pursuit of Happiness

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

by Dr. Jon Repole, D.C., N.C., H.H.P.


The “pursuit” of happiness – herein lays the problem. The problem, in other words, rests in the word – pursuit. We cannot pursue, find, obtain, or search for this idea in the external world. The truth is both simple and complex. We are the very happiness we are searching for. There are no outside riches or material possessions that will give us the ultimate reward of happiness. In essence, we can think of our highest goal as uncovering, unlearning and closing the gap which reveals our true nature – happiness.

Old Paradigm: Archetypes for the Pursuit of Happiness
Tal Ben-Shahar discusses in his brilliant book, Happier, models or archetypes whereby individuals travel life in their “pursuit” of happiness. I have taken the liberty here to re-classify these patterns into the following categories to help keep this applicable to our discussion here and to make the applicable to everyday usage:

- THE FUTURE SEEKER: one who concentrates on the future and brings feelings and emotions of fear into their life. The attainment of the goal is the concentration.
- THE PAST HARBORER: one who concentrates on the past and brings feeling and emotions of anxiety into their life.
- THE PLEASRUE SEEKER: one who concentrates on the present moment in the context of external pleasures for fulfillment.

New Paradigm: The Archetype of Happiness
The true happiness archetype as postulated by Tal Ben-Shahar is, “neither making it to the peak of the mountain not is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain. It is about the EXPEREINCE of climbing toward the peak.” Our goal, therefore, is to live with the following:

- THE PRESENT MOMENT ARCHETYPE: one who lives for the moment – the experience of BEING while at the same time balancing their HUMANESS.  They recognize both the journey and the quest without living with attachment for either. The present moment archetype does away with our idea of a “meaning for life” and replaces it with, as Joseph Campbell eloquently states, “the rapture of being alive.” In other words, the meaning of our life is replaced with simply BEING and EXPERIECING. 
The reward is, of course, our highest goal and the processes we have discussed of unlearning, uncovering, bridging the gap and becoming a Bodhisattva.

We can summarize this section by the Law of Paradoxical Intent, which points to the underlying paradox of personal achievement: You can get what you want by knowing that you don’t need it to be happy. It forces you to shift from a desperate intention to a peaceful pursuit. Pursue your goals because you want them to enhance an already happy life, not because you’ll be miserable without them. Release the attachment.

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