All too often, however, it can feel like we’re in the boat pictured on the 5 of Wands in the Connolly Tarot Deck, sailing on the stormy sea of misery trying to reach the shore of happiness. But the wind is blowing the wrong way! We can see our goal but we can’t reach it due to setbacks and frustrations. Indeed, the Buddha said, “Existence is suffering.” This does not mean that life is all suffering, but just that happiness is transitory and fleeting. So, what can be done?!
As the Dalai Lama explains in his book The Art of Happiness, “Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.” This is a difficult concept at first, especially if we’ve assumed all along that our state of mind is dependent upon external events. And social conditioning, especially through the media, reinforces this assumption, promising that we will be happy when we obtain a certain product, financial achievement, social status or relationship (which the former items are necessary to obtain!), but it is a lie. Oh, we will be happy with that new car or shoes or electronic gadget – but only for a while, until the initial satisfaction wears off and a new desire arises.
Upon giving this some serious thought, it eventually becomes clear that so long as our happiness depends on obtaining things on the distant shore that our boat may or may not be able to reach, we will never be truly happy. And even if we do succeed in reaching the shore, it will only be a matter of time before we find ourselves back in the boat striving to satisfy yet another desire. We must, therefore, let go of the social construct that says happiness is outside of ourselves, and learn to find it within. In Part II, I will explain how to do that.
Update: Read What Will Make Me Happy? Part II by Psychic Clare!