1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Why we can’t find happiness January 24, 2010

The topic of Happiness, same as of Love is one of the greatest mysteries of all times. Everybody wants it, many have it, even more are desperately searching for it…

When I ask a person: Are you happy? he or she starts reflecting like “yes, basically I have this and that.. must be happy.. but…” Something seems to be missing, at least for the Western mindset.

It’s hard for me to comment on it, for I was already born a happy person. Despite several pretty gloomy periods in my life I remember having inner peace and contentment and even bliss constantly, independent of the hard life tests. However I was not taught that. It was just there… some good luck, may be :).

Looking at people around I am wondering why can’t they be happy. If happiness is about having the material wealth, then most of the people in the West must have been the happiest in the world. But the opposite is true. Ask anyone “what do you wish for yourself?” and the most common answer will be “I want to become happy”.

That was always puzzling me… until I discovered for myself a great Master of a human psyche,  a Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson. In his book “HE”  Johnson gives probably the most accurate and brilliant explanation what happiness is and how to achieve it.

Modern western man has some basic misconceptions about the nature of happiness. The origin of the word is instructive: happiness steams from the the root verb to happen, which implies that our happiness is what happens. Simple people in less complicated parts of the world function in this manner and exhibit a happiness and tranquility that is a puzzle to us. How can peasant in India in which so little to be happy about be happy? Or how can the peon in Mexico, again with so little to be happy about, be as carefree as he appears? These people know the art of happiness, contentment with what is. Their happiness is what happens. If you can not be happy at the prospect of lunch it is not likely you will be happy over anything…

A Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, came to America more than a century ago and made some astute observations about the American way. He said that we have a misleading idea at the very head of our Constitution: the pursuit of happiness. One cannot pursue happiness; if he does he obscures it. If he will proceed with the human task of life, the relocation of the center of gravity of the personality to something greater outside itself, happiness will be the outcome.”

I agree and belive that happiness cannot be found.

It is already there.


LOVE, axinia

(image by me)


32 Responses to “Why we can’t find happiness”

  1. Dave Says:

    great stuff axinia, thanks for your comment – I just started the blog today, wasn’t expecting any traffic – it was great to hear from you!

  2. Dean Quick Says:

    Thanks for suggesting me read this! It was great. The quote you pulled from “He” is a great one. Happiness does just happen. Have you read “The Tao of Pooh”? This zen philosopher pretty much psychoanalyzed the characters of Winnie the Pooh in accordance with zen philosophy.

    You seem to be a fan of Jung. You should check out my post on “The Lord of the Flies.” I did my own psychoanalysis of some of the characters within that compelling story.


    • Naina Says:

      Well definition of happiness change from age to age. depend on what age or stage of life you are in!!
      for child toys are happiest thing which change as they grow.
      for girl new dress and style
      for boys cars and new technological gadgets
      for woman shopping for any reason,gossip and smoke.
      for men (Australian) is BBQ and bar are the happiest moment.

      well we all have to rediscover the actual meaning of our existence. so we don’t get bother by happy or sad duality.

      yes i always enjoyed reading the tao of pooh by Benjamin

      • pooyan Says:

        I guess everyone has the same idea, aeeeee, so what is the problem here ?!!
        by the way, Dean’s post on Jung was nice, I’ll repeat that as i already mentioned it on the link. 😉

        Thanks to all : Axinia, Dean and Naina .

      • axinia Says:

        Naina, the examples you give are the temporary happy moemtns but not a long lasting happiness (one cannot do shopping non-stop!). These are all outside factors which can have a pleasant impact but do not make us eternally happy as we could!

    • axinia Says:

      Thanks, Dean. I am indeed a fan of C.G. Jung 🙂 I have seen the book you mention, but somehow i did not find it enlightenting…
      Your psyhoanalysis on Lord of Flies is really good!

  3. Makk Says:

    Happiness …..

    West is always more confused about it then East.

    they keep looking around for it and its IN them.


    Keep Smiling.

  4. Prema Says:

    Thank you Axinia for you blog. You have inspired me to start my own to help me through my personal development.
    Just some more thoughts about this post, I agree with you that happiness is just here but a lot of people can’t see it because they have their eyes shut and they are focusing on some long term goals or things that they want.
    The human race has this great ability to always go further, improve and develop. This fantastic evolution has led us where we are now but by searching always for more a lot of people fail to see what we have now.
    So yes happiness is here, but we can train ourselves to open our eyes and appreciate this world we live in. I believe meditation is a great way to help people in that process as we need to shut down the “noise” in our head in order to feel the peace, love and joy inside us.
    Thanks again.

  5. Elke Says:

    Very nice blog on happiness, thank you, Axinia!
    I find, though, the term “joy” goes much deeper than “happiness”, as happiness can come and go. Joy, once established within, stays forever. I am happy about my life’s circumstances, but I enjoy myself. Joy gives me absolute peace and satisfaction. But it is also the motor that keeps me going and decides where to go, and it allows me to love everybody around me, despite other culture, other interests, other opinions, even despite antipathy.
    But then again, I guess the joy within lets one be happy about any circumstances in life.

    • axinia Says:

      I know what you mean, Elke! Same here 😉

      But I was using the word happiness because it is more common and understandable.

      I think to speak of feeling JOY constantly may be not clear (because mostly not experiences) …
      but in the future, when more and more people will be able to live with joy in their heart permanetly, we can operate with that word freely.

  6. David Says:

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  7. swapnil Says:

    i appreciate the effort’s taken to simplify definition and aspects of happiness . i seemed that a very sincere and impressive amount hard work is taken by knowing views and thought’s , of all well known thinkers and authors .
    my opinion on this is very short , it is ,
    ” The ‘ROYAL’ path to better understand and experience Happiness , is to , Be happy whenever you see others happy and prospering in their life.”
    in the course of time , when you’ll take a look in your past , you’ll never regret to take this path to learn and experience happiness .

    • axinia Says:

      hi swapnil, your definition of happiness is really intresting, i wonder why do you call it ROYAL?

      The condition of “Be happy whenever you see others happy and prospering in their life” is not easy though because, say, what shall we do if we do’t see happy people around? where to get the inspiration then?

      To me it is obvious that the true lasting happiness can only be foudn INSIDE, never outside. For a moment – yes, it can be also from outside, but for the lasting happiness – only from inside.

  8. swapnil Says:

    hello axinia ,
    thanks for writing on my view’s .
    1.) i called it the ‘ROYAL’ path , to accomodate both rich and poor people .just like a king fights for his countrymen, who are rich and poor too .and b’cos , true happiness is not a property of any one class or standard .
    2.) take it generally in todays date , where there is differences and inequality among people . here you could easily find someone happy and other not-happy . and the day you’ll not find anyone happy , know for sure that , you had been blessed with the knowledge, to understand peoples sorrow and need of time , and you’ll act according to situation , just to make it the way , you want to see happiness among people . saints become saints because they see nobody is happy . they try to make people aware of true happiness . am i right here ?
    when you lack inspiration ,then the ultimate and most powerful inspiration in universe is god . have the happiness from his name (happiness emerging from inside) that will keep you going in your endeavour of life . here our opinion of happiness gets coherrent .i am pleased to know this .
    3.) i very much agree with you , that true happiness comes within us . but , most of the time , difinition of happiness for different people is different . it does’nt mean the happiness is different for different people . if we could see neatly , face of happiness is same for everyone who is striving for it .
    happiness does’nt comes sitting ideal at all . think , if your happiness at the instance is to eat butter , and you have only curd . what you’ll do ? . churn the curd to get butter , right ?. and after getting it , your happiness doubles , b’cos you had taken effort to get it , and it is all yours now 🙂
    on a very personal front , i tell you , i had seen a place where people go with sadness in life but , return with happy or satisfied state of mind .
    its my pleasure , if you are satisfied with my answer . else , keep tweeting , so we could reach the best conclusion about the subject . take care ! see you soon !

  9. Samir Says:

    Sorry for long rant. In my mind, the issue of perpetual happiness or joy, is up to some extent, the issue of properly balancing our emotions to ‘desire’ and ‘feel secure’. In practice this is very hard to achieve, as we know emotions are emotions, they’re not objective or practical, hence can’t use our logic with our emotions. If you’re always contented with your current material belongings or current state of affairs then that can lead to you being happy most of the time. But there is at least some evolutionary advantage to our hoarding behavior. The sad part is that our emotion to desire more material things is very elastic and we easily loose track of how far we’ve reached and how far we really need to stretch!! It’s not inherently bad to desire more, but if it’s done with continuously keeping bigger picture in mind as to what it’s serving you in long term, you would achieve overall happier experiences in life.

    I think it could be that in oriental world it’s commonly taught to be contented with what you’ve so this view might be more prevalent there. And in west emotion to desire reigns, which opens up avenues of progress( all subjective notions 🙂 ), but there is a price to pay.

    Desire is also intertwined with other emotions of ego & jealousy, e.g many times, reference of our desires are our observation of other people. In reality many times people who’re following their passions in their career are many times the happier people in general, so if there were better infrastructure in our society to do such job matching, there would be more happier people.

    • axinia Says:

      Samir, that’t the good point, the last paragrath especially.
      It is true, I ahve seent that people who are successful in theri careers are mostly happier, but why? Simply because if you are successfull, you get more safisfaction, your ego is being feed and youe emotions are also satisfied more or less by that.

      However there is another diffrent side of it – one can be succesful in career WITHOUT even striving for that, without passion. take my case 🙂 I will not repeat myself here, please see my earlier post, you might find it interesting:

      • Samir Says:

        Axinia, you do say in that post ” I just love to do what I am doing.”, so what do i take away ? Are you passionate about what you do or not 🙂 ? I understand, what you mean here is; your work should not be a means to an end, but the work should be the end itself. I’m saying that, achieving this becomes easy when the work you’re doing is something you really love and care about or are passionate about.

        • axinia Says:

          Samir, in a way yes, I am passionate about wha tI am doing BUT not about my career, i do not strive any success. that is a crucial point, and it has being taught here to make a carriere, to achieve, to gain…all that is ailien to me.

  10. solveig Says:

    I just love the last two lines. Simple and to the point.

  11. sarvshresth Says:

    What you talk of is contentment . While lack of expectation and hopelessness can also force you to be content with what you have, how do you justify that this is same as being happy ? The desire when fulfilled , alone can make you happy . Whenever our desires grow too strong they become ambition or goal. This goal is in abstract form but its realization needs physical means . So long as the physical means of realizing the desire are capable of converting the abstract into the material we do not feel the pinch. But when and whenever a person fails to convert his/her desires(abstract) to physical(material) the person suffers and as a rule she/he does

  12. How can peasant in India with so little to be happy about be happy?

    Dear Axinia,

    I really don’t know whether to laugh 😆 or cry 😥 It looks like filthy propaganda from the lowly third world can even make hardcore communist propaganda look like the effort of bumbling amateurs 😐

    There is a very simple answer to the seemingly philosophical question you’ve asked – the average peasant in the uncouth, barbarocratic, third world Indian empire is NOT happy at all – period. 😐

    Want proof?

    According to “official statistics” of the evil, uncouth Indian empire, more than 200 000 “farmers” committed suicide in the last ten years alone due to a host of factors – primarily, massive debt, crop failures, unsustainable agricultural practices, usurious and savage loansharks and banksters, spiralling costs of basic healthcare, sub-human “cultural” practices like dowry and above all, the policies of an evil empire run by an unethical, immoral barbarocratic cabal that’s never held accountable or questioned by the uncouth hordes that (over)populate the filthy empire, let alone the rabid, controlled “mainstream media” scoundrels 👿

    That makes it an average of 20 000 “farmer” suicides a year and rising at a rapid rate 😯 Of course, these are “official” statistics of the uncouth Indian empire. The real statistics are definitely much higher, only “God” knows by how much. For instance, I’ve mentioned “farmer” suicides with the word farmer in quotes, because the uncouth empire tries to play down the figures as much as possible by various methods. Thus if a farmer’s wife or son or daughter commits suicide, it is not counted in the “official” statistics since they don’t own a farm and hence are not “farmers”! 😡 In the same vein, the suicides of landless farm labourers (or their family members), usually a very wretched and exploited lot, don’t count as “farmer” suicides in the evil empire’s “official” statistics either.

    The ones committing suicide due to a debt trap may actually be the lucky ones when compared to poor, wretched, tribal peasants being hounded out and slaughtered, raped and maimed by filthy mercenaries unleashed by the uncouth, semi-civilised Indian empire in order to grab their lands and loot the minerals they hold.

    And no, the suicides are not limited to one affected region/state either. Peasants across the country are committing suicides, particularly small farmers cultivating cash crops, but that does NOT mean food crop cultivators in a supposedly ‘prosperous’ agricultural belt are immune to this:


    One must also remember that those who’ve committed suicide are the ones who found their situation totally hopeless. Thus for every farmer who has killed himself, there must be at least five more contemplating suicide, at least ten more who must be in a very dire situation and at least one hundred more who must be in a bad situation. If you count the family members of these poor peasants, the number becomes much, much scarier 😯

    I wonder what really made you believe that the average peasant in the evil, uncouth Indian empire was a “happy” person 😕 If living a precarious, dire and miserable existence counts as being “happy”, then I wonder what the word “sad” would mean 😯 😯 😯

    • axinia Says:

      I know what you mean, Raj and your information is very valubele!
      But the man who wrote it spent 20 (!) winters in India, visiting farmers and making friends with them.
      It is his long-term observation, FIRST HAND experience.

      • It is his long-term observation, FIRST HAND experience.

        So it’s not something he learned from the lowly third world propaganda, then?

        I don’t know when he obtained his first hand experience, Axinia 😐 But the book seems to have been published in 1989 (according to Amazon) and therefore Mr. Johnson must lived here well before that, during the height of the so-called “Green Revolution”. But the situation for farmers has got precarious only in the last decade or decade-and-a-half.

        Filthy scum entities like Monsanto 👿 have tightened their deadly grip around the necks of the Indian peasants, forcing them to buy disgusting genetically modified crops, especially cotton. The filthy, corrupt barbarians who run the uncouth, evil Indian empire are now planning to destroy those who cultivate food crops as well as the health of everyone.

        The sub-human coterie led by the bloody blue-turbaned thug, (inhu)Manmohan Singh has decided to let the scum products of Monsanto enter the food market by giving a free entry to genetically modified brinjal even as the same filth is being banned in the all countries of Europe. The pathetically ignorant, hopelessly brainwashed, perpetually boot-licking, uncouth hordes that (over)populate the evil Indian empire aren’t even aware that the scoundrels are virtually giving a green signal for scum like Monsanto (Monsatan) to poison their food and destroy food-growing farmers completely, just like they have destroyed the hapless cotton farmers. One can expect the situation of peasants in the evil, uncouth Indian empire become much more dire than it already is now 😥

        I really hope Mr. Johnson gets to spend at least one or two summers with desperate peasants in say, Vidarbha, to understand their plight and revise his opinion. But I guess he would be too busy bashing the civilised societies that take care of their people and telling them how “happy” everyone is in the uncouth parts of the world 🙄 Therein, lies the tragedy 😦

        • axinia Says:

          Desar Raj, mr. JOhnosn is 1921 born and I have no information whether he is still alive or not. Probably yes, but I assume he will not be traveling to India any more…

          I can only tell you that also my first-hand expreinces speak for the same, that generally people in India seem to be more happy, more content, more peaceful than the Westeners… One should not generalize, I know. But still, that is always my impression.

  13. Mukul Says:

    Very well put together. I believe Happiness is a state of mind. Hence it is absurd to pursue it. It is within us;we need to ensure that the state is maintained.

  14. Rick Says:

    axinia — I just found your wonderful blog. I too am a big fan of Jung and of Robert Johnson. Each of his books is extremely compact and require the reader to really focus on his words. He is like that in person also, seemingly boring to the uninterested, but a very, very wise man who never shouts. I highly recommend his autobiography. When this man speaks, or writes, listen! Thank you for what you are doing. So few are making the effort. I will continue to read your blog.

  15. I’m always impressed by the quality of this blog.

  16. Erwin Says:

    Here is a nice song Happy ( We are from Toulouse ) 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r08HbdAL4U

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