A package arrived today with some things I eagerly ordered just after the new year started. I remember being so excited to add the items I had been eyeing — one after another — into my virtual cart the moment all the epic sales hit my favorite stores. I couldn’t believe I could finally get what I had been waiting for…and for half the price! I was so thrilled, it felt like a euphoric high. But a few days later, the euphoria subsided and the excitement faded away. Now weeks later, the package arrived and I feel nothing. In fact, when I was opening it, I just kept thinking to myself, “why did I want this again?”
I waited for these items for months, so how did my excitement dwindle so quickly? How did my initial pride of ownership turn into (borderline) disgust over the fact that I just have more stuff to “deal” with now? Why is it so hard for me to identify with the happiness I originally felt so strongly? Simply because I was relying on my physical senses to discover lasting happiness. But physical experiences of happiness are fleeting. Once the music stops playing, the joy disappears.
And mental happiness — a deeper level of happiness — is a lasting joy. It is a true joy.
Many of us are familiar with the physical dimensions of joy and happiness. Many of us seek them everyday like a lavishly good meal or jamming to our favorite song. For me a few weeks ago, it was the thrill of buying something new. And once I stopped shopping, the feeling of happiness stopped too. But I’m certainly not alone; being in a materialistic society, the default philosophy for most people is the consumer “shop till you drop” culture; our dominant view tends to seek the physical rather than true mental joy. But the more we experience the physical pleasures, the more we become numb to its effects and take the pleasures for granted. In other words, feelings of physical pleasures are fleeting and soon, become nonexistent.
So what is mental happiness? It’s a genuine sense of love and affection. It’s the sense of concern for the well-being of others. It’s having compassion toward others and meditating on spreading kindness rather than focusing your thoughts on yourself.
“It’s the joy you wake up with before your first cup of coffee.”
Only one thing is greater than the physical pleasures we chase everyday. Only one thing powerfully and lastingly changes the sense of our well-being and that is our relationships — through our expressions of love and generosity to others in our real life.
So for the sake of consciously ignoring the temptations of immediate — and very temporary — physical happiness. I’m returning my holiday loot tomorrow in exchange for true, lasting joy.
DAY 9. Love, Ro