“What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness.” – Baruch Spinoza
From changing jobs to reading books to buying clothes and cars to going to church to avoiding church—we do it all to increase our satisfaction.
Of course, this also means that even the petty and degenerate things we do are motivated out of our unceasing quest to find happiness.
We take drugs to either feel better or to escape pain. We gossip about others in an effort to make ourselves look good. We argue with our spouse—even when we know we’re wrong—because it’s too unpleasant to admit it. We steal to avoid the effort of work.
And when we encounter people who seem happier, more fulfilled, and more successful than we are, we feel jealous because they have what we want. We engage in promiscuity and physical pleasure out of context because of the short-term euphoria we feel.
My dear friend Mike shares his poignant story of looking for happiness in the wrong places.
In late 2001 Mike was an active alcoholic and a struggling financial advisor. He used alcohol to numb any source of negativity, anything that was too difficult for him to accept.
Happiness to him at the time was an alcohol-induced “blissful ignorance.” Underneath that false bliss, however, was immense pain.
His wife couldn’t stand him, he had no friends to speak of, any money he had was pocket change, he drove a twenty year-old, unreliable car with a leaky tire, and he was on suspension with the company he was working with.
He had used a home equity loan to pay his bills. In his own words he was morally and spiritually bankrupt.
He was looking for happiness but didn’t know how to find it.
Thanks to the Higher Power and Mike’s commitment to Soul Purpose work and spiritual disciplines, he has been able to transcend his past counterfeit search for happiness and has found real, lasting happiness.
He has not touched alcohol since January of 2002. Mike says of his current life,
“There isn’t a single part of my life that hasn’t changed for the better. The love and compassion I share with my wife is at a level that we never would have thought possible. She went from barely tolerating me to loving me deeply.
“I now have two sons, ages three and six months, and they have never seen me drunk and never will I’ve regained the respect and love and trust of extended family and friends. I’ve been blessed to move up in my career while still maintaining the love and appreciation of the firm that I left.
“I went from making no money to now making $350,000 annually. I went from a tiny home that was on the brink of foreclosure to now living in a home twice the size that is fifty percent paid off. My wife and I enjoy driving updated, reliable cars.
“I credit all of this to my connection with my Higher Power and the absolute certainty that this connection has given me. I know without question that everything that happens in my life is according to God’s plan for me. With that belief, I have nothing to fear.”
We’re inherently programmed to seek happiness, to change our current state to a state of increased satisfaction. It’s in our DNA.
In the journey of life, happiness is the goal. It’s the North Star of the human experience—unchanging and constant despite how far we may veer off the true path that leads to it.
It’s the abiding “why” even when we don’t know the specific “how.”
The problem is that very few people ever find lasting happiness and inner peace. This is strange, considering that it’s the goal of every human being.
If we’re hard-wired to seek happiness, why does it seem so elusive? If the happiness of Soul Purpose is so self-evident, then why is suffering the norm?
Why do so few achieve their goals, and so many wallow in mediocrity and failure? If joy and abundance are the nature of existence, then why do they seem so hard to find?
Why We Suffer
Life is hard and suffering is prevalent because of several endemic human defects that are rarely detected or addressed.
Since the great majority of earth’s inhabitants do not realize this, they are suffering miserably.
Furthermore, since we give what we are, the misery continues to be spread by miserable people, which is most of us.
Because this situation has dominated humanity for all of recorded history, and because most people share this trance-like condition, humankind has labeled the suffering as “normal.”
Don’t take my word for it: Ask yourself if the majority of people are consistently joyful, peaceful, healthy, and wealthy, or if they are frustrated, angry, unhealthy, and impoverished.
Imagine a smart six-year old child who needs glasses. He doesn’t know he can’t see words and numbers because of impaired eyesight, so he begins to fall behind his classmates.
As long as the condition continues undetected, he will do worse and worse until he believes he is stupid.
But if the condition of blurred vision is accurately diagnosed and he is given the proper glasses, his performance will increase dramatically.
Just like this child cannot see the words and numbers clearly, most people do not see life clearly because of the blurred vision caused by human defects and limitations.
These include the following:
- We do not know who we are.
- We’re confused as to why we’re here.
- We don’t know where “here” is.
- We believe we are our thoughts.
- We secretly trust that our thoughts are right about the world, and that different thought and belief systems are automatically wrong.
- The human mind cannot tell truth from falsehood because of the inability to discern between “appearance” and “essence.”
- We inherently practice blind faith and blind doubt.
- Our ego distorts reality.
Because the mind is innately innocent, it is easily programmed to propaganda, misinformation, and false slogans. While easily programmed, it is difficult to deprogram.
These defects create deluded addictions based on primarily focusing on the content of one’s life (money, sex, intoxicants, status, appearance, possessions), while ignoring the context under which these things are earned and utilized, which ultimately determines what they mean.
Steve D’Annunzio is the founder of the Soul Purpose Institute, the author of The Prosperity Paradigm, and a productivity trainer and life success coach to Fortune 100 executives, professional athletes, and high-performance entrepreneurs. For twenty years, he has been helping people identify their passion, develop it into a business idea, and deliver it to the world.
A member of the Transformational Leadership Council, Steve has shared the stage with world-changers like Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Jack Canfield, and Barbra-Marx Hubbard.
He uses principles of higher awareness to inspire others to be far greater versions of themselves than they ever knew to be possible. By combining scientific and spiritual truth, he co-creates inner transformations for people to experience more outer prosperity in their life.
He is an author and composer of many books, paradigms, and artistic projects that have the common theme of alleviating human suffering and enhancing joy.
Steve lives with his family in Rochester, New York.