I hear people all the time say, “If I just had <fill in the blank>, I’d be happy.”, with the “<fill in the blank>” being most often populated by things such as “a loving partner”, “a good paying job”, “more stable finances”, “caring friends”, “good health”, and a few notable others. But the reality is that no matter what’s placed in that sentence, none will ever bring about true happiness.
How do I know that?
Because I know of many who have had each of those things in life, including myself, and still struggled to find happiness. Over time, I learned on my spiritual journey that there are plenty of people, places, and things in life that will bring about temporary happiness, just never permanent.
Which is precisely why so many tend to go through life chasing one thing after another, believing it will fix that shortage of happiness felt within. And while it may for a period do just that, provide a level that feels satisfactory to an individual, it always wears off at some point, thus creating a never-ending cycle of seeking things outside of oneself for contentment in life.
I have spent so much of my own life searching for “that thing” that could bring about ultimate happiness. It’s what led me to jump from relationship to relationship, job to job, friend to friend, gadget to gadget, car to car, house to house, state to state, and so on and so forth, over the course of many years, yet it constantly eluded me. I truly believe it’s the ego that makes us think like this.
It makes us think that there’s something out there in this world that will fix our happiness shortage issue. And unfortunately, whenever we listen to that part of our ego, we often get caught up in some type of an addiction. That’s exactly what happened to me with alcohol, drugs, sex, and a number of other things as well over the years.
In the end, I came to understand that happiness is always going to be temporary and that I will never find anything in this world that will ever bring about permanent happiness. Anyone who says otherwise and suggests it can be found with “this” or “that” is only living in an illusion. But there is something I believe that isn’t temporary and can be cultivated on a more permanent basis within ourselves, and that’s joy.
Joy is something that comes from deep within and I choose to believe it comes from the soul. And I’ve only ever seen it result from growing a stronger relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. But it’s not something that seems to ever come easy. It often takes a lot of being still and sitting in uncomfortability and emptiness to experience it, which most human beings don’t like to do at all.
Living in a fast-paced world where the ego wants what it wants right now causes most people to exist in that happiness-seeking process outside of themselves, never experiencing the joy that I believe only God can provide.
This is why I’ve been more still in my life these past few years than ever before, but I must admit it’s been really difficult, and I do mean difficult, to live like this. I’ve felt a profound amount of emptiness in all this sitting and waiting, constantly having to battle my ego’s incessant demands of wanting to fill it with a bunch of illusions. Yet I know I’m doing the best thing for my spiritual journey by waiting.
I’m sure some of you are thinking right now, why do we always have to wait on God for things like joy? Well in my opinion, the answer is pretty simple.
If we just had all our “<fill in the blanks>” always given to us by God, then we wouldn’t ever know what it felt like to be lacking in anything. And if we never knew what it felt like to be lacking in anything, we would never be able to be filled by something only God can fill us with, because we’d always be too full to experience it.
That’s why I’d rather remain still and continue waiting on God, sitting in all this emptiness and uncomfortability, because in the end, I know the joy that God can fill me with is going to last far longer than any of the happiness my ego will try to seek through some person, place, or thing in this world…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson