Greedy mind, grateful soul, hoboist, happiness, gratitude, beautiful, joy, sad

The curious case of fleeting happiness

In today’s fast-paced world, on the completion of every achievement, we are, already, half-way into our next achievement. But, here is a big problem: our mind craves quantity, while our soul craves depth. As a result, it gets left behind while trying to “assimilate” each and every achievement. As a result, it, constantly, feels neglected. And, we feel empty.

Click here to find the prequel to this article.

A similar situation arises when we keep on reading new books or consuming from online media without pausing a while and learning from them; or, when we enter relationships and fail to learn about human behaviour, and instead, play the game of self-centeredness. We, then, sense a strange feeling of incompleteness filled with misery. This is nothing but the manifestation of a lack of harmony between our soul and mind.

Any cycle becomes complete only when we "take in" and "give out".
Any cycle becomes complete only when we “take in” and “give out”.

Achievement cycle

This terrible feeling is a result of a series of incomplete “achievement cycles”, occurred over a period of time. In any natural cycle, such as breathing, the cycle is complete only when we “take in” and “give out”. In the case of “achievement cycle”, however, we take in, say, “pleasure” (a positive stimulation), and, most of us leave it at that. Then, moments later, we wonder, why don’t we feel happy about the achievement, anymore! 🙁

Then, we move on and try to achieve the next big thing hoping that it would, finally, deliver that ever-elusive, lasting happiness.

This, then, becomes our reality.

We keep on “taking in”, more and more, and never pause to “give out”. We become constrained by our mind, without realising that our mind, in turn, is constrained by time.

If only we had paused and listened to our soul! The soul knows no such constraints. In fact, it has a different story to tell: Time is but an illusion that keeps the wheels of evolution running.

The world around us, heck, even we, our selves, are just transient illusions, here, only to assist the ultimate reality called evolution.

But, our time-constrained mind has numbed the cries of our “slow-paced” soul.

As a result, we, constantly, leave the cycles incomplete, and, in effect, we are left with fleeting pleasures instead of lasting happinesses. A lasting happiness is obtained only on the completion of a cycle. For example, you get pleasure when you attain knowledge, but a lasting happiness will be obtained only on application of that knowledge, which involves failures, along the way.

Interestingly, failure, too, can offer lasting happiness if we pause to learn from it! 🙂

So, how do I obtain lasting happiness after an achievement? I wondered. How do I complete the achievement cycle?

I found that the answer is gratitude.

Any positive achievement releases pleasure, but, it is the sense of gratitude that releases lasting happiness.

Gratitude is the “giving out” part of the achievement cycle.

It involves these 3 steps:

  1. accepting the achievement
  2. appreciating its significance, and
  3. acknowledging the contribution of everyone involved.

A life filled with endless chains of fleeting pleasures without any real happiness is not a life that you deserve. Can you imagine the amount of real happiness waiting to be unleashed from all of your past achievements! All you need is a sense of gratitude. 😉

Select updates based on feedback from readers:

Natasha: "There is no such thing as lasting happiness. Happiness is an emotion and it's ever volatile. If you pin it down, it will die. Nothing can make a happiness last. You just can have more frequent happy moments with little gaps between them" 
Author: "The idea of lasting happiness is less about us being in a happy state for a long time, and more about a particular experience releasing happiness whenever we revisit it in memories."

Arash: "You have expressed your opinion/belief on the reason of our existence in this world which may not be what many of people believe, esp. in terms of their religions."

"I sense the strong symmetry as in Buddha/Zen practices, esp. when it comes to the role of mind and how it puts us in a frame which may or may not have anything to do with reality. The idea of transiency of life is again a torch in Zen...however, adding the idea of evolution to the story adds a strong touch of Science in a sense which I personally do not prefer as a thing to do here to make sense out of it (if that's the point of it ). In Zen/Buddhism, there is a lot being said about Om and what it of the things is that it's just a sound to remind us the whole thing doesn't make sense and doesn't need to do so...and it's just as it is."


Travel transports me to some euphoric placetime. Once there, I, almost, only, meet beautiful people; see places that fill me with pure bliss; and face experiences that inspire me to be more of myself. Then I go back home and write about them. Email: thehoboist[at]gmail[dot]com

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