“Happiness is a state of mind that can only be found within us and that is therefore by no means accessible through external ephemeral pleasures.”
At the beginning of his film “The Shift”, Wayne Dyer cites Carl Jung with the following quote: “Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”—From The Stages of Life, by Carl Jung Dyer 1
Given that we all have an afternoon to our lives, coming to this realization allows us to begin our journey, which in itself will give our life true meaning.
Unlike the afternoon of our lives, the morning teaches us that in order to be happy we must have material possessions, occupy prestigious positions and be awarded titles. Yet, once all of this has been accomplished, a void remains. We then try to accumulate more titles, more possessions, hoping to ultimately find happiness, though in vain. As I already mentioned in the previous article entitled “Overly Comparing Ourselves to Others” this is also what drives us to compare ourselves with those who have more, hoping to emulate their success, or otherwise which consoles us for not having as much as we would like by comparing with those who have even less. There comes a time when we finally realize that we have been fooled by societal conditioning which led us to an artificial happiness, one which isn’t real.
In light of what I have previously written then, you now know that true happiness is not accessible through these external ephemeral pleasures. Nor is it any more accessible by way of entertainment or distraction to which we allow ourselves to be subjected. All these efforts do not fill the void that inhabits us, and in fact, they may even increase it. Therefore, happiness must be somewhere elsewhere, the question is where?
If we agree that one’s happiness is not reflected by the number of possessions we have, nor by the number of material goods we own, nor by the titles, promotions and accolades that we may come to accumulate, is it not safe to state that this covers everything external to us? And therefore, if happiness is found elsewhere, but even more so, if it does not reside in anything external, it must mean that it can only reside within us. Hence, happiness doesn’t depend on others or on anything material, so it can only be a state of mind, an emotional state, accessible to all who wish to reach for it. But how do we get there?
There may be several ways, but the path I propose is as follows. Rather than being a “profiteer” of humanity as advocated by the laws of capitalism; always trying to have more than others, even if it’s often accomplished at their detriment, it would be better to be of service to humanity by making it benefit from our talents whatever they may be.
To feel indispensable and appreciated by others, not for our material possessions, but for the person we are, through our actions, is a reward in itself. To feel useful therefore remains the most beautiful form of reward there is.2 So whatever your talents or fields of interest may be, once you realize that happiness can only be attained through one’s self-realization, by putting oneself at the service of others, at last can you hope to be happy with respect to the person you will have become. For me, writing these few lines or piloting an airplane, are one and the same since, as long as I do neither for the purpose of serving my ego, but rather in order to serve, to the best of my abilities, that is where I find solace and happiness at being who I am.
Naturally, you don’t have to quit your job or even become a monk or a nun in order to be of service to others. In many cases, it is precisely through your job that you may put your talents to good use. But it’s certainly not the only way to get there. That’s why, when asked what I do for a living, I answer that I am a pilot, but I quickly add more.
Being a pilot is just one facet of who I am. I am, first and foremost, a man, then a husband, a father, a friend, a brother, a brother-in-law, a neighbour, a volunteer, a blogger, an aspiring writer, and it is therefore possible for me to serve others through each of the facets of my existence. Lucky are those who get to serve on a daily basis through their work, but do not worry if that’s not the case, as many other opportunities are available to whoever actually looks for them. All it takes is to look differently at yourself in order to see yourself in all of your splendour, without necessarily considering who you are solely based on what you do for a living.
So, ultimately, a man’s demise begins when he no longer contributes more to society than he takes from it. Knowing that everyone’s life’s purpose is to be of service to others, death ultimately occurs when one’s purpose has been fulfilled or when they are no longer able to accomplish it. And so, like me, whether you choose to serve humanity by being a mother, a father, a spouse, a volunteer, through your personal, professional or social engagements, it’s up to you to serve and to put your talents forward in order to live your life fully, with all the meaning that you will have given it.
The reflections I have shared with you in this series of four articles (The Utopia of Modern Happiness, Overly Comparing Ourselves to Others, Living your life through the success of others, Happiness is within you and nowhere else) and especially the conclusions I have drawn from them and which I endeavour to put into practice, enable me to affirm without a shadow of a doubt that there is no greater joy than that of attaining this divine state of mind through serving others. And with this enriched knowledge, this state of bliss is also within your reach! I truly believe that happiness is therefore nowhere else but within you. You simply have to make the effort to look for it and you will surely find it.
On the other hand, though, if you’ve managed to reach happiness using a different path, I invite you to share it with us and the world, as it will certainly contribute in making it a better place.
- Extract from The Shift (Kindle Locations 667–670) from Dr. Wayne Dyer (2012-03-14). Hay House. Kindle Edition.
- For those who are parents and have raised their children well all the way to adulthood, remember how useful and proud you were of how you raised them, but also, how a void settled in as your children began to fly on their own (alt: to stand on their own), making you almost obsolete.