Quotes about Happiness
Most popular happiness quotes
Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don't believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you've already helped yourself). Reduce daily decisions to routine.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Happiness is where we find it, but very rarely where we seek it.
One who is not happy with nothing, will not be happy with anything.
Happiness is the natural state for most people whenever they feel healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good.
I'm here to tell you that the primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet, and exercise.
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Happiness is a warm gun.
Happiness is speechless.
Happiness hangs by a hair.
Happiness is a warm puppy.
To have more, desire less.
Happiness is a moving target.
Happiness walks on busy feet.
Happiness is positive cash flow.
Happiness is no laughing matter.
Happiness is unrepented pleasure.
Happiness does not buy you money.
What do you take me for, an idiot?
To fill the hour—that is happiness.
Beauty is only a promise of happiness.
Where there is hope, there is happiness.
Money is human happiness in the abstract.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Happiness is good health and a bad memory.
Happiness is doing it rotten your own way.
No human being can make another one happy.
Happiness is a by-product of right living.
Man is the artificer of his own happiness.
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands.
Happiness equals reality minus expectations.
Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.
One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.
Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.
Happiness is not perfected till it is shared.
Happiness is the china shop; love is the bull.
It is the inalienable right of all to be happy.
There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
A face is too slight a foundation for happiness.
The happiness of society is the end of government.
The quieter you become the more happiness you have.
A multitude of small delights constitute happiness.
He is happy that knoweth not himself to be otherwise.
Rancor in the bosom is the foe of personal happiness.
Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.
Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.
Memory is so much better at unhappiness than happiness.
Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
Shared joy is double joy and shared sorrow is half-sorrow.
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.
Happiness is a way station between too little and too much.
There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them!
Happiness, you'll find, is the greatest magnet in the world.
Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
Never put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket.
If you can be unaccountably sad, you can be unaccountably happy.
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.
Happiness sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.
Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.
Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.
The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.
Man must search for what is right, and let happiness come on its own.
The thirst after happiness is never extinguished in the heart of man.
He that is discontented in one place will seldom be happy in another.
When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
We are happy in this world just in proportion as we make others happy.
Happiness has more to do with where you are heading than where you are.
Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalized.
Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.
Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little.
Happiness is a mystery, like religion, and should never be rationalized.
The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.
Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
Some people pursue unhappiness because happiness is too mild a sensation.
Happiness, like youth and health, is rarely appreciated until it is past.
A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.
Man wishes to be happy even when he so lives to make happiness impossible.
That is but a slippery Happiness which Fortune can give and can take away.
The more the heart is nourished with happiness, the more it is insatiable.
Happiness consists in the full employment of our faculties in some pursuit.
The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.
Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
Human happiness consists in having what you want, and wanting what you have.
Action may not always be happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
The first recipe for happiness is: Avoid too lengthy meditations on the past.
If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.
Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
When we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.
Success is getting what you go after; happiness is liking it after you get it.
A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.
Happiness is a wine of the rarest vintage, and seems insipid to a vulgar taste.
Real elation is when you feel you could touch a star without standing on tiptoe.
To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.
It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself.
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
It is better to cause happiness where you go than to cause happiness when you go.
For all the happiness mankind can gain Is not in pleasure, but in rest from pain.
Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
The trouble is not that we are never happy—it is that happiness is so episodical.
But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!
Next to happiness, perhaps enmity is the most healthful stimulant of the human mind.
Most people in this world are about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control.
A man's happiness or unhappiness depends as much on his temperament as on his destiny.
The simplest way to be happy is to do good. This is instant and infallible happiness.
Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
If one were to build the house of happiness, the largest space would be the waiting room.
Never be so simple as to seek for happiness: it is not a bird that you can put in a cage.
It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquillity and occupation, which give happiness.
There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.
There may be Peace without Joy, and Joy without Peace, but the two combined make Happiness.
"Love" is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under his feet.
The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.
Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's own values.
There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.
Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.
If you want to understand the meaning of happiness, you must see it as a reward and not as a goal.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Happiness lies only in a divine unrest; and if you are lapped in comfort you stagnate and miss it.
For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others, this is my criterion of goodness.
Gratitude is the foundation of happiness. So if you want to start being happy, get grateful first.
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.
Before strongly desiring anything, we should look carefully into the happiness of its present owner.
When I was young, I used to think that wealth and power would bring me happiness. . . . I was right.
The happiest is he who suffers the least pain ; the most miserable, he who enjoys the least pleasure.
Do not run after happiness, but seek to do good, and you will find that happiness will run after you.
People far prefer happiness to wisdom, but that is like wanting to be immortal without getting older.
We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy than in endeavouring to think so ourselves.
What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
To be happy, you truly have to believe that happiness is a choice you make and a skill you can develop.
Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can be felt only if you don't set any conditions.
It isn't the great, big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones.
Stay away from all movements, faiths, philosophies, and people who threaten to help you find happiness.
The happiness of the tender heart is increased by what it can take away from the wretchedness of others.
To show a child what once delighted you, to find the child's delight added to your own—this is happiness.
Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
Real happiness cannot exist when we are not free. Burdened by so many ambitions, we are not able to be free.
The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way. There is no way to enlightenment; enlightenment is the way.
We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.
True happiness for human beings is possible only to those who develop their godlike potentialities to the utmost.
The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament, and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.
He who would be blest, let him scatter blessings. He who would be happy, let him consider the happiness of others.
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
No doubt about it: happiness is not about self-satisfaction; it is about the joy that comes with a sense of purpose.
Youth is so insatiable of happiness, and has such sublimely insane faith in its own power to make happy and be happy!
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.
Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular.
The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.
Where there is chance of gain, there is also chance of loss. Whenever one courts great happiness, one also risks malaise.
There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life.
A good martini, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman...or a bad woman, depending on how much happiness you can stand.
When we are not rich enough to be able to purchase happiness, we must not approach too near and gaze on it in shop windows.
Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.
Love is the master key that unlocks the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and most easily of all, the gate of fear.
Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.
Happiness is a small and unworthy goal for something as big and fancy as a whole lifetime, and should be taken in small doses.
Often we unwrap a delightful surprise—a hug from a child, an afternoon under blue skies, a successful attempt at something new.
Perhaps happiness is created by the effort expended rather than being the ultimate outcome that results from the expended effort.
To be able to throw oneself away for the sake of a moment, to be able to sacrifice years for a woman's smile-- that is happiness.
If you ever find happiness by hunting for it, you will find it, as the old woman did her spectacles, safe on her nose all the time.
There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, And that is to have either a clear conscience, or none at all.
The formula for happiness is as simple as daydreaming, controlling your schedule, napping, eating right, and being active every day.
If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough.
When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other's flame.
If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.
Hunting after happiness is like hunting after a lost sheep in the wilderness, when you find it, the chances are that it is a skeleton.
The First Splendid Truth: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
Modern Americans travel light, with little philosophic baggage other than a fervent belief in their right to the pursuit of happiness.
Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman - or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle.
Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
To be happy all the time is one of the most nonconformist things you can do. . . . To be always joyful is not just rebellion, it's radical.
If you would have your home and your surroundings happy, be happy. You can transform everything around you if you will transform yourself.
Happiness is not something you can catch and lock up in a vault like wealth. Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil.
We all look for happiness, but without knowing where to find it: like drunkards who look for their house, knowing dimly that they have one.
Submission to unhappiness is the unpardonable sin against the spirit just as submission to poverty is the unpardonable sin against the body.
Happiness consumes itself like a flame. It cannot burn for ever, it must go out, and the presentiment of its end destroys it at its very peak.
Happiness is a tide; it carries you only a little way at a time; but you have covered a vast space before you know that you are moving at all.
Why have you not understood that all happiness is a chance encounter and that every moment presents itself to you like a beggar by the roadside?
The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in all that comes.
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
Shall I give you my recipe for happiness? I find everything useful and nothing indispensable. I find everything wonderful and nothing miraculous.
The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.
One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.
I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.
The ideal of happiness has always taken material form in the house, whether cottage or castle; it stands for permanence and separation from the world.
Even in the common affairs of life, in love, friendship, and marriage, how little security have we when we trust our happiness in the hands of others!
Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
I'm not happy, I'm cheerful. There's a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.
The conditions for our happiness are already sufficient. We only need to allow ourselves to be in the present moment, and we will be able to touch them.
A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us [on] a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.
The definition of happiness of the Greeks...is full use of your powers along lines of excellence. I find, therefore, the Presidency provides some happiness.
Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn't goal attainment but the process of striving after goals—that is, growth—that brings happiness.
The lovely thing about real happiness is that it is there all of a sudden, unexpected, weightless as a little summer cloud and just as radiant and intangible.
All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue.
The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties, and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.
Happiness, that grand mistress of the ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route.
Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
I have given before to this group the definition of happiness of the Greeks, and I will define it again: it is full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.
True happiness...arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self; and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Don't wish me happiness - I don't expect to be happy; it's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor - I will need them all.
It is an illusion to think that more comfort means more happiness. Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to be needed.
Freedom is the basis of all happiness. Without freedom, there is no happiness. This means freedom from despair, freedom from resentment, freedom from jealousy and fear.
Happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.
We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.
Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness—happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you're lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.
When a small child...I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong. Happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.
Happiness consists more in the small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.
And now let me ask you, my friend, whether you do not think, that many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons.
Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone.
Happiness is like the bluebird of Maeterlinck: try to catch it and it loses its color. It's like trying to hold water in your hands. The more you squeeze it, the more it runs away.
Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.
The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good, and against some greatly scorned evil.
Happy domestic life is like a beautiful summer's evening; the heart is filled with peace; and everything around derives a peculiar glory. The full heart says, "It is good to be here."
I fancy that a man was not intended to be so easily made happy. Happiness resembles those palaces of the enchanted isles whose doors were guarded by dragons—you must fight in order to be victorious.
Truth is not always the best basis for happiness. There are certain lies which may consist a far better and more secure foundation of happiness. There are people who perish when their eyes are opened.
Now that I have all the things I once thought would make me happy, they have little meaning for me. Experience, and not just a little heartache, has taught me money buys convenience and conveniences.
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
Don't trade happiness for deferred gratification. Don't give up adventure for safety and security. The safe is the enemy of the satisfying. Deferred gratification has a way of being deferred forever.
It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don't have to run into the future in order to get more.
The high prize of life, the crowning fortune of a man, is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness—whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or songs.
The way to choose happiness is to follow what is right and real and the truth for you. You can never be happy living someone else's dream. Live your own. And you will for sure know the meaning of happiness.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
The happiest people I know are people who don't even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they're busy doing good.
One is happy as a result of one's own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness—simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self denial to a point, love of work, and, above all, a clear conscience.
Happiness comes most to persons who seek her least, and think least about her. It is not an object to be sought; it is a state to be induced. It must follow and not lead. It must overtake you, and not you overtake it.
I believe that happiness consists in having a destiny in keeping with our abilities. Our desires are things of the moment, often harmful even to ourselves; but our abilities are permanent, and their demands never cease.
A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them will be little the better for anything else.
With your talents and industry, with science, and that stedfast [sic] honesty which eternally pursues right, regardless of consequences, you may promise yourself every thing—but health, without which there is no happiness.
I tell you, my friend, all happiness depends on courage and work. I have had many periods of wretchedness, but with energy, and above all with illusions, I pulled through them all. That is why I still hope, and hope much.
Happiness lies in wait; it comes upon suddenly, like a midnight thief at a turn up in the street, or in the midst of a dream, because a ray of light, a strain of music, a face, or a gesture has overcome the despair of living.
If You wish to be happy for an hour, get intoxicated. If you wish to be happy for three days, get married If you wish to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. But If you wish to be happy forever become a gardener.
Some decide that happiness and glee are the same thing, they are not. When we choose happiness we accept the responsibility to lighten the load of someone else and to be a light on the path of another who may be walking in darkness.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. Happiness should be a means of accomplishment, like health, not an end in itself.
There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time.
Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the "one thing necessary" may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.
I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.
Reason, Observation, and Experience—the Holy Trinity of Science—have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die.
Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because, if your do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.
The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions—the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling.
There are those who are sustained by their memory of one chance encounter with happiness; recalling again and again that occasion when they bumped into it by happenstance and how they tried to embrace it with both arms and hold it tight to their hearts for the rest of their lives.
Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray: nay, when it strikes on a kindred heart, like the converged light on a mirror, it reflects itself with redoubled brightness. Happiness is not perfected till it is shared.
I don't know what your destiny will be. Some of you will perhaps occupy remarkable positions. Perhaps some of you will become famous by your pens, or as artists. But I know one thing: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we can't share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.
Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or excellence, or both, is more often found with those who are most highly cultivated in their mind and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.
I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances; we carry the seeds of the one, or the other about with us, in our minds wherever we go.
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.
We believe that happiness is possible only in the future. That is why the practice "I have arrived" is very important. The realization that we have already arrived, that we don't have to travel any further, that we are already here, can give us peace and joy. The conditions for our happiness are already sufficient. We only need to allow ourselves to be in the present moment, and we will be able to touch them..
The purpose of life is not to be happy. The purpose of life is to matter, to be productive, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. Happiness, in the ancient, noble sense, means self-fulfillment—and is given to those who use to the fullest whatever talents God or luck or fate bestowed upon them. Happiness, to me, lies in stretching, to the farthest boundaries of which we are capable, the resources of the mind and heart.
With mindful walking, our steps are no longer a means to arrive at an end. When we walk to the kitchen to serve our meal, we don't need to think, "I have to walk to the kitchen to get the food." With mindfulness, we can say, "I am enjoying walking to the kitchen," and each step is an end in itself. There is no distinction between means and ends. There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way. There is no way to enlightenment; enlightenment is the way.
In popular Western culture we are taught that the way to achieve happiness is to change our external environment to fit our wishes. But this strategy doesn't work. In every life, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame keep showing up, no matter how hard we struggle to have only pleasure, gain, and praise. Buddhist psychology offers a different approach to happiness, teaching that states of consciousness are far more crucial than outer circumstances.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment.
Real happiness cannot exist when we are not free. Burdened by so many ambitions, we are not able to be free. We are always grasping at something; there are so many things we want to do at the same time, and that is why we do not have the time to live. We think that the burdens we carry are necessary for our happiness, that if they are taken from us we will suffer. However, if we look more closely, we shall see that the things at which we grasp, the things that keep us constantly busy, are in fact obstacles to our being happy.
The tendency to run away from suffering is there in every one of us. We think that by seeking pleasure we'll avoid suffering. But this doesn't work. It stunts our growth and our happiness. Happiness isn't possible without understanding, compassion, and love. And love is not possible if we don't understand our suffering and the other person's suffering. Getting in touch with suffering will help us cultivate compassion and love. Without understanding and love we can't be happy, and we can't make other people happy. We all have the seeds of compassion, forgiveness, joy, and nonfear in us. If we're constantly trying to avoid suffering, there is no way for these seeds to grow.
We should be free to experience the happiness that just comes to us without our having to seek it. If you are a free person, happiness can come over you just like that! Look at the moon. It travels in the sky completely free, and this freedom produces beauty and happiness. I am convinced that happiness is not possible unless it is based on freedom. If you are a free woman, if you are a free man, you will enjoy happiness. But if you are a slave, even if only the slave of an idea, happiness will be very difficult for you to achieve. That is why you should cultivate freedom, including freedom from your own concepts and ideas. Let go of your ideas, even if abandoning them is not easy.