Why does happiness have secrets? Well, it doesn’t do so by purpose. Happiness is real, but as intangible as love and beauty. It can’t be understood or defined – only experienced. Since it defies definition, it is easy to stick various labels to it or mistake it for something else, for example pleasure or excitement.
In order to understand happiness, we need to do some psychological hair splitting first. Allow us to introduce the following psychological model of personality:
Heart, feelings, intellect, mind, and body want to be pleased in their own unique ways. And only one of them can be ‘happy’.
What Does the Body Want?
The body wants to move, to be healthy, and experience pleasure. It gets depressed when it can’t be busy serving you – use it or lose it. Pleasure is sensuality: tasting delicious food, getting tipsy, feeling a tender fabric on the skin, or having an orgasm. There is nothing wrong with pleasure as long as we don’t get addicted to it. It is a gift of life, but it isn’t happiness.
What Does the Mind Want?
As the body the mind wants to serve. But it doesn’t like to get stressed out and enjoys peace of mind. It also wants to be creative, but it can’t do so without ideas and desires (feelings). It’s contentment depends on the intellect and emotions. There is nothing wrong with peace of mind and it’s great to be creative, but that won’t make us happy either.
What Does the Intellect Want?
The intellect wants excitement. Excitement is always connected to struggle. The intellect is competitive and likes to argue, compete, to be challenged, and to play pranks. The intellect is a hunter. He hunts for thrills, likes to party, needs to pursue a career, chases sex, wears expensive clothes and accessories, and drives fast cars. The intellect also likes to hound knowledge, he is the most curious being in the world. Mentally-energetically the intellect is male (projective). That’s why men are – as a general tendency – more drawn to excitement than women. There is nothing wrong with excitement as long as we don’t get addicted to it. But excitement isn’t happiness.
What Do Emotions and Desires Want?
Desires want fulfillment and success. While the intellect appreciates the struggle for success, desires enjoy the success itself. Emotions like to ‘be in love’. While the intellect takes pleasure in steamy sex affairs, emotions seek romance. Mentally-energetically, emotions are female (receptive). That why women are – as a general tendency – more drawn to romance than men. Success and romance are great, but they can’t make us happy either.
So, What Does the Heart Want?
Body, mind, intellect, and emotions react to experience. They don’t function by themselves. They are subject to the ups and downs of good and bad times. Only the heart is projective. It exists on a higher level than the others and doesn’t need anything to function.
The heart wants three things: beauty, love, and happiness. Let’s tackle one by one. Only the heart perceives beauty. Beauty isn’t in the eyes of the beholder, it’s in the heart of the beholder. Most defining moments in our lives are beautiful experiences: that of a magnificent landscape, an overwhelming piece of art, a beautiful woman or man we passed by on the street and can’t forget.
In order to understand what love is, we need to distinguish between emotions and love. Emotions want to ‘be in love’ and need to be loved in return. When we are in love with someone, we want to own that person and get jealous if we can’t. Love, on the other hand, just wants to love. It’s unconditional and doesn’t ask for anything in return. The heart is alway looking out for people to love, like a soulmate or child. Love is the greatest thing we are capable of, but it isn’t happiness.
So, what is happiness really? It’s having the life the heart loves to have, living the dream so to say. That’s the heart’s desire, the one thing we want to be and do in this life. It is our dream of dreams. That’s what Steve Jobs meant when he said that you need to love what you’re doing and if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.
Look In the Right Place
We need to look in the right place though. Pleasure, excitement, and romance can be found in experiences, but we can discover the hearts desire only inside. Close your eyes, shut out the world, dig your heart’s desire, and realize the life you love to live. Only if you live your dream, you’re happy. It’s a state of being and doing that is independent of experience and ups and downs.
We Act of Mixed Motivations
Please keep in mind that we – humans – are complex beings and act out of mixed motivations. For example, when we chase a man or woman the motivations can be one of more of the following: for pleasure, for ending our loneliness and having peace of mind, for enjoying an exciting one-night stand, to have a romance, or because we seek someone to love.
Happiness is Sunshine Inside
If the heart is unhappy, it’s all gloomy: pleasure is dull, the mind is stressed out, excitement is boring, and desires are shallow. If the heart is happy we turn into children which play joyfully in filthy slums.
Remember your defining experiences of beauty, love, and happiness? Think what it means to feel like that all the time! It would be incredible wouldn’t it? Can you find a word to describe such a state of mind? Bliss absolute, maybe?
The Heart Doesn’t Break
The heart isn’t fragile and can’t be broken. A broken heart is actually a disappointed desire. The heart, once awake, wins wars. When we hit rock bottom, the heart comes around and puts us back on our feet. But it’s indeed the heart that mourns if it has lost someone it loved.
Awaken the Heart
All religions and spiritual traditions agree on this: the key to enlightenment and a better life is the awakening of the heart.
Awaken your heart! It’s asleep. A poisoned apple put it to sleep – disappointed desires. Awaken it with a true love’s kiss.
Picture attribution: copyright subbotina @ 123rf.com