Real happiness is found where your roots are.
Ask a drug addict what they want. It’s not the drug.
It’s the pleasure, the high, the euphoric sense of being.
As a meaning addict I need to realize that I’m not really seeking meaning.
So what am I seeking (what are you seeking?)
Easy. I want happiness.
There’s a few common beliefs about happiness.
1. It can be attained
2. It cannot be attained
The cynic, in his search for happiness, tries, fails, tries harder and then finally gives up, finally declares happiness unattainable. The searcher tries, fails, tries harder… and then tell herself to keep trying, keep changing circumstances, relationships, jobs,…
I’ve been both the cynic and the searcher. But my addiction stems from searching– all addictions do–for something I think I need. At the base of it, happiness. I need it. Don’t I? Don’t we? Is it not a human right (as our constitution argues) to pursue happiness?
Well, this is a tough one. But without going to far down the rabbit hole, I’ll just say yes, I believe we are meant to be happy**.
Sooooo… what to do? How to eighty-six the addiction and not sacrifice happiness.Well, that will come with time. BUT, for now I think discovering true happiness and where it comes from is very important. Otherwise there is no reason to abandon our addictions.. So…Reflecting on what true happiness is, can it be attained, and how. Phew… here we go.
I heard an illustration once about a blessed (happy, full, fulfilled) man…
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season
and its leaf does not wither.
Okay, so this man is like a tree. But not just any tree, but a pretty rad tree planted by not just one stream but STREAMS. Lucky tree. BUT. (and here’s where I get excited) Though this tree is clearly placed in quite the perfect argricultural eden, what’s interesting is, this tree is STILL subject to seasons. It’s not always bearing fruit, not always doing something meaningful in its… treeness. Not only that, but it’s not supernatural sheltered from the weather around it. Storms, gales, maybe springtime river floods.
And yet, this tree is still planted. Still alive. Still drinking deeply at the root from its source.
This tree–this blessed man’s fundamental happiness–comes not from what’s weathering around him or what he’s accomplishing within himself. His fundamental happiness (blessedness, worth, fulfillment) is drawn up from the root. It is essentially about where He is planted.
So by seeking happiness in what’s happening around or within us, we’re seeking it wrongly. AND, our addictions will never deliver.
** happy is a word that is often made to be the shallow version of joyful. In the sense I use it, I mean fulfilled, blessed, satisfied, and truly joyful, though not always fully joyful.