Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”

-Mattieu Ricard

When most of us think of happiness, we imagine fulfilling and pleasant experiences: being with a loved one, getting a promotion, or taking that spectacular vacation. But what if true and lasting happiness is bigger than the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things?

It is normal and natural to be affected by the world we live in—to smile when we hold someone we love, to laugh when we hear something funny, or to cry when we experience pain. This is part of being human. But one thing that unites all of these experiences in our lives is their inherent impermanence; none of them last forever. This is why we can’t find happiness in outward things—because outward things do not last.

So where can we find happiness? As Mattieu Ricard states, happiness is a state of inner fulfillment. But how can we find this inner fulfillment when we face daily struggles, not to mention more traumatic experiences like death, divorce, abuse and debilitating illness?

We begin by dealing with our lives, exactly as they are. We begin by dealing with ourselves exactly as we are—with all our challenges, frustrations, pain, and concerns.

And we make an intention to choose to this life of ours as a beautiful and mysterious opportunity to learn. We choose to see every person as our teacher, and every situation as our classroom. We choose to see that within everyone and everything is goodness, just waiting to come out. We choose to spend time alone to nurture this goodness in ourselves so that we can see it in the world around us. We choose to work on ourselves, to face our fears, and face the reality of our lives.

This way is not always so easy, but it is a way to find inner fulfillment, because we see every moment of our lives as a beautiful and miraculous gift that teaches us and expands our hearts.

-Tara

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