Every year, Forbes publishes the top 400 richest people in America – called the Forbes 400 List. But I always wondered, where is the list for the top 400 happiest people? How is happiness measured? Who is happy and who isn’t? What makes them happy and unhappy? I have always wondered about the true meaning of happiness.
I enrolled in a psychology degree to find the answer to these questions. I thought, I will study happy people and finally know the secret to becoming truly happy. I found that some countries were happier than others, but their overall GDP was much lower than the richest countries. Some people had life circumstances that made them happier, but not everyone fit into these hard drawn lines. A lot of people were actually pretty miserable.
The truth was there was no recipe for happiness. The answer was not more money, a bigger house, more expensive cars, higher status in society, marriage or single life, children or non-children, or any of the temporary joys that people search for. The more I studied, the more I realized that there is a strong connection between happiness and the mind.
That is when I started meditation. I figured that if I can’t find answers in the material world, then perhaps the non-material world will have some answers? And I’m happy to report that I was on the right track. The reason why you feel unfulfilled is because everything that you think will make you happy in this world is from your ego, also known as the false mind.
This false mind is the mind of hunger and greed. It can never be satiated. People talk about minimalism, but that is also false because even the mind of living minimally is a mind of hunger and greed in different wrapping paper. Enlightenment and happiness are achieved when there is no ego, no false mind, no hunger, no desire, no greed, and no selfishness. You may think that is impossible and even if it is possible, you still want the big house and the nice car.
That is the best part of this meditation. It doesn’t turn you into a monk living in the mountains. Because I can now live my life authentically, my career, my relationships, and even my financial status has completely changed for the better. There is nothing to stop me from living that life of luxury, I just don’t have the greedy mind that comes with it. It is truly freeing.
Don’t chase temporary materialistic happiness. It will always lead to emptiness and a feeling of incompletion. Throw away your selfish ego and live in a world that money cannot buy. Be truly happy!