We have become a culture of people who are taught to believe that we must be happy; that to be unhappy is wrong. In our own need to fulfill a happiness that isn’t fertile and has not yet ripened, we seek to gain short-term pleasure, which actually causes us to be less happy than we would be had we embraced our suffering and learned from the experience that only unhappiness can afford us. To think that only happiness is capable of making us happy is a fallacy. It is not the feeling of happiness that we are after, rather the process of self-transcendence that we experience when we learn to treat each experience as a unique and invaluable lesson that contributes to the texture of our lives. Happiness in and of itself is not what makes us happy otherwise people wouldn’t be able to find happiness in sadness; it is rather the evolution of man’s inner discipline and leadership of his life that allows him to find the positive meaning in each experience that leads to his happiness – for once he realizes that he can find positive meaning in each situation, he realizes that he controls the meaning of any situation, and happiness becomes not an event, but the medium of response to the event that he experiences. Every emotion has a place in our lives: happiness, joy, elation, sadness, depression. What is important is not the feeling itself, but how we choose to handle that feeling and what we determine it means to us. It is the meaning that matters.
We’re often so caught up on the concept of loss that it prevents us from truly living and experiencing life to its full capacity. We must realize that what we should fear most is not loss of material goods or financial resources, but loss of self – our own true identities – which occurs when we do not honor our natures: what we are about as human beings, not as material earners, but as everlasting souls. The greatest loss of all is not to have given yourself the true gift of fulfilling the true you by fearing that you need to become someone you’re not, or to have wasted time pursuing endeavors that fulfill the image of yourself that you don’t create, but that someone imposes upon you.
It is transitoriness that makes us make the most of our lives. It is the paradoxical energy that acts as a catalyst for us to find meaning – in knowing that this moment will be here only for a brief period and that we have to find a way to make the most of it.