Your notions of happiness may be very dangerous. Happiness can only be possible in the here and now. Go back and examine deeply your notions and ideas of happiness. So let go of what you believed yesterday. Let go of what you thought last week you needed to be happy. The conditions of happiness that are in your life now are enough.
Let all peoples be happy, weak or strong, of high, middle, low estate, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, alive or still to be born. May they all be entirely happy. Let nobody lie to anybody or despise any single being anywhere. May no one wish harm to any single creature out of anger or hatred. Let us cherish all creatures as a mother her only child. May our loving thoughts fill the whole world above, below, across without limit of boundless goodwill toward the whole world, unrestricted, free of hatred and enmity.
Early Buddhist aspiration, quoted by Karen Armstrong in her lecture Faith after Sept 11
What are these false beliefs that block you from happiness? Here are some examples: Happiness will come if you manage to change the situation you are in and the people around you. Not true. You stupidly squander so much energy trying to rearrange the world. If changing the world is your vocation in life, go right ahead and change it, but do not harbor the illusion that this is going to make you happy. What makes you happy or unhappy is not the world and the people around you, but the thinking in your head. As well search for an eagle’s nest on the bed of an ocean, as search for happiness in the world outside of you. So if it is happiness that you seek you can stop wasting your energy trying to cure your baldness or build up an attractive body or change your residence or job or community or lifestyle or even your personality. Do you realize that you could change every one of these things, you could have the finest looks and the most charming personality and the most pleasant of surroundings and still be unhappy? And deep down you know this is true but still you waste your effort and energy trying to get what you know cannot make you happy.
We are born with only one obligation – to be completely who we are. Yet how much of our time is spent comparing ourselves to others, dead and alive?This is encouraged as necessary in the pursuit of excellence. Yet a flower in its excellence does not yearn to be a fish, and a fish in its unmanaged elegance does not long to be a tiger. But we humans find ourselves always falling into the dream of another life. Or we secretly aspire to the fortune or fame of people we don’t really know. When feeling badly about ourselves, we often try on other skins rather than understand and care for our own.Yet when we compare ourselves to others, we see neither ourselves nor those we look up to. We only experience the tension of comparing, as if there is only one ounce of being to feed all our hungers.