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Beyond Happiness

We talk about happiness and look for it, and strive for it throughout our entire live without ever finding it, and without even suspecting that there is something that is beyond happiness – something that comes before it. There exists something more precious and even more rare – an indispensable and essential ingredient, a ‘sine qua non’ condition to achieve it. In order, however, to explore this ingredient and discover what is preventing a man from being happy, we have to clear the ground from many prejudices, false convictions and second-end ideas about happiness.

The right to happiness 
America was discovered in 1492, but was ‘invented’ on July 4th, 1776 when a splinter of human intelligence, a fragment of eternity, inserted “happiness” among the Civil Rights in the Declaration of Independence. This idea transformed happiness, for the first time in human history, from a visionary concept, from fantastic aspiration or wishful thinking, to natural right – inalienable and inviolable to humanity and reason. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When Jefferson spoke of pursuing happiness, he had nothing vague or private in mind. He meant a public happiness, which in his thinking was not only measurable and achievable, but it was the very reason for being and justification for any government.

An Illusion to get rid of 
Idealists and jurists, great philosophers, illuminated statesmen and visionary leaders, especially in the last three centuries, have believed – and we have inherited their belief – that the reasons for general unhappiness lie in external, difficult conditions, and that happiness could come to people from changing the external world.  Like Rousseau and Jefferson, they believed that different laws, the shift from absolutism to relativism and toleration in political, philosophical, ethical, or theological matters, the change of regimes from despotism and autocracy to republic and democracy, and a greater freedom in political and civil institutions could bring happiness to millions of people. Nothing could be more utopian and unfeasible than this eighteenth-century idea of ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number’ and any formula for public happiness or any political alchemies to try to achieve it. There is no better example of an oxymoron than in the contradictory terms of the expression ‘public happiness’. Happiness is not in Time The safest way to not find something is to look where it is not. Happiness cannot be found in time. It can only exist now. In ordinary thinking, a man can be miserable now and be happy in a more-or-less distant future. And it is very common to hear: I will be happy when I will get married, when I have a family and children, when I have the job I like, when I have enough money, and so on. We have been educated to be time-believers, but it is a self-evident truth that nobody can be happy tomorrow or in the past. Yesterday’s happiness is dust; happy memories have nothing to do with being happy. Whatever happens in time is subjected to the ‘Law of the Pendulum’. If you are alert, and sincere with yourself, you can realize that whatever makes you happy, a moment after you are feeling it, is already turning into its opposite. One day the Dreamer told me: You can become only what you are right now. Success is right here. Happiness is right here. Be now what you want to become.

The Dominant Paradigm of Mankind
We are also convinced that ‘having’ comes first and ‘being’ comes after, as an effect. Therefore, you feel perfectly right in thinking that if you had money and sufficient means, you could do all that you wished and you would finally be happy. Having-Doing-Being is the dominant paradigm. This mindset is common to millions of human beings and accounts for their unhappiness, ills and misfortunes. On the way to remove obstacles to happiness, we have to overturn it. The paradigm of a new mankind is: Being-Doing-Having. First you are happy, intentionally compelling yourself to be happy, then you can do and have. Happiness is the amazing awareness of this very instant.

Happiness is a solitary Sentiment 
There is another, almost insurmountable obstacle to happiness. It is the expectation that it will arrive from the outside world; one day, something or somebody out there will bring it to us. In reality, happiness is a solitary sentiment, an intimate condition of one’s being and can only be reached, produced, forged, by the individual. We cannot be happy in two hundred, in two million and not even in two. Happiness is not a collective feeling. Nobody can make us happy and we cannot make anyone happy, except possibly for fleeting instants. Anything bringing happiness from the outer world, through news, circumstances or by others will disappear, and be taken away. It is a short-lived, fleeting jump, and not a flight. A flight is a suspension of the law of gravity without limits. Happiness coming from outside, seen for one second, could seem to be a flight, but it is not. Only happiness you have built inside, intentionally, brings back to you your birth-right to fly.

Beyond Happiness 
There is a lot of talking and writing about happiness, and about how to find it. And people strive for it throughout their entire lives without finding it. Why? In the first page of the ‘Contrat Social’ Rousseau makes note that “wherever I look I see men in chains.” Why? Because there are no schools, no mentors, no parents or friends that have informed us that there is research to be done,  work to do, a less traveled path to walk on towards something that is beyond happiness, and something that comes before it. There is something more precious and even rarer – an indispensable and essential ingredient – and a ‘sine qua non’ condition to achieve it. More than looking for happiness we should look for what prevents us from achieving it, for what makes us unhappy. Look for freedom first. There cannot be any happiness without freedom. The cost of it may look too high, but it is worthwhile, and its price is never unaffordable.

He goes seeking liberty / which is so dear, as he knows / who for it renounces life… 

The Divine Comedy Purgatory Canto I, lines 71-72

Freedom from Time
When we consider the concrete expression of freedom, its visible manifestation and our mind goes to the many rights that guarantee freedom: freedom of speech, of press, of assembly and association, freedom to petition government and even to keep and bear arms. But these forms of freedom, coming from the outside world, from government or from others, cannot give us a real freedom. Real freedom comes from getting rid of limits and obstacles. It is a freedom from. Firstly, it is freedom from the prison of time. We cannot be in anxiety, devoured by time, and be under the tyranny of plans and programs, and be happy. Making plans is a primitive substitute for intelligence. If there is intelligence, there is no need to plan. Shut out logic, reason and planning! Close your eyes and open yourself up to intuition. The world is still waiting before you to be created.

Freedom from roles
Above all, we believe in roles. We believe ourselves to be teachers, managers, fathers, mothers, lovers. We think that this is the most natural thing, and the only way to live. We become prisoners of our roles. They become traps. We can play a role, and we can enjoy and have fun acting the role, but we cannot become it, or identify with it, if we want to be free and happy. It is as crazy as an actor who refuses to take off his mask and costume, believing himself to be the character that he is interpreting on the stage and believing that the theatre is his life. From this viewpoint, mankind is all mentally insane, and locked up in the self-created prison of roles. To create happiness, you also need a solid set of values and principles, a map, an escape plan, and somebody who has previously escaped from prison before you. You need a School of Being. Your Being is like a badly managed shop – the Dreamer observed me pitilessly − with articles priced at random:those things which are of great value you sell cheaply, but the junk has ridiculously high price tags. To keep on like this means certain failure…».

Dare to Be Free
To be free also requires the abandonment of dependence and any form of slavery. The main obstacle to our freedom is the illusory belief that there is an external world to depend upon, a separate reality which conditions our existence, and which can decide our destiny. Dare to be Free! Look inside and dare to flush out the obstacles to your happiness, the lies, the false ideas, the fear, the identification with roles, the common belief that there is a world out there to depend upon. When you, through hard work on yourself, finally get rid of all this ballast, when you are free from every form of dependence, free from time, and from frictions and inner conflicts, you will realize that unhappiness does not exist except in your negative imagination.

Luminous selfishness
After reading this article you should know why the expression “to find happiness” should be banned. Happiness cannot be found, but must be built and encoded in the fibres of our being – cell-by-cell, atom after atom. It is a solitary endeavour. Can we say then that happiness is a selfish sentiment? An individual who loves himself inside, who can intentionally access that state of inner freedom that we call happiness, and has successfully achieved the capacity to command happiness at will, without depending upon anybody or any thing, is a precious cell of humanity. When you reach happiness intentionally, you know that you have done for others more than an army of philanthropists and hundreds of humanitarian organizations. A happy man, a man who is free, spreads health and wealth 360° around and creates the conditions for others to forge their happiness in life. Happiness is Economy and also in the business world, as a visionary leader, he can achieve things that ordinary men hardly conceive and hurriedly set aside classifying them as ‘impossible’.