the fundamental cause of unhappiness

the fundamental cause of unhappiness

In the modern world, mechanisms such as advertising and social media, and constant overstimulation provided by the materialistic culture that we all live in keep driving the infinite loop of desire. And as long as these elements keep adding fuel to the fire of insatiable desire, we’ll all find short-term pleasures more appealing and enticing than long-term joy.

The unfortunate truth is that our contemporary culture encourages us to adopt a misguided approach to happiness. It exploits the tendency of the human brain to look for happiness in external sources that provide nothing but limited, transient spikes of pleasure. 

These pleasures don’t have to be necessarily materialistic; they can be abstract and experiential such as a romantic relationship or visiting a meditation retreat at an exotic destination. But no matter what external source we choose, the fact of the matter is that everything is ephemeral. Whether it be your favorite ice-cream, a new dress, the latest superhero movie, or a romantic rendezvous, nothing lasts forever. And that’s why it’s best to detach ourselves and our happiness from these fleeting external sources. 

When we continually seek happiness outside of ourselves, this behavior gets installed and entrenched as a mental habit. And this sets up for perennial disappointment and dissatisfaction. What’s fascinating is that even when we get what we want, we can’t help but feel that the grass is greener on the other side. Our mind gets so accustomed to looking outward that we keep moving around and keep scanning our surroundings for anything or anyone to latch onto as a source of happiness.

We become like that guy at a party who constantly keeps looking for another better person to talk to. Rather than enjoying the conversation he’s having, he’s always looking around to meet someone else for a more engaging and satisfying conversation. He keeps jumping from one interaction to another, getting disappointed again and again. 

This compulsive habit robs us of the beauty of the present moment; no matter what we do or have, we’re always seeking something more fun and exciting. As a result, we are constantly trying to grasp things that either don’t exist or are out of our reach. This habit of always seeking and grasping is the fundamental cause of unhappiness that a majority of us go through.

If you enjoyed this insight, I encourage you to check out my new book Daily Happiness. This short book is an attempt to distill the life-changing ideas from the best resources on happiness, fulfillment, and contentment in daily easy-to-read meditations. In this book, the knowledge and wisdom of renowned authors and thought leaders such as the 14th Dalai Lama, Martin E.P. Seligman, Dan Harris, Gretchen Rubin, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Daniel Gilbert, Shawn Achor, and Matthieu Ricard have been distilled in a form that is easy to digest and consume.

The condensed timeless knowledge in these meditations will not only assist you in navigating through the complexities that come with living and working in the modern world, but also help you in your quest to live a happier life enriched with memorable and joyful experiences.

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