I think that we are taught to focus on the wrong things, and unless we learn how to shift our focus to the things that matter, we find despair and hopelessness at the end of that path (or sometimes at the beginning of the path, or in the middle).
We in western-european cultures are marketed to all the time; bombarded with marketing. We grow up with it. It is such an intrinsic part of our thinking that it is very difficult to separate what we are from what we think we are from the perspective of what the marketers have told us we are. From a marketing perspective we are the person who needs things or people, or beauty, or houses, or cars. . . . . We are needy, and they are happy to help us fulfill those needs. The thing is, if you start from the core belief that you are needy, NOTHING will change that. You can win the 200 million lottery and still be needy; just not needy with money. Still needy; and needy is a painful place by design.
To find some peace within yourself, you must choose to go beyond needy, and find that you are fulfilled. Whether you have stuff or not, whether you have beauty or not, whether you have
insert whatever you are currently chasing
Happiness is a choice, not something you fall into. You must choose happiness, if you want it.
As for having a set of morals to live by; I find that those who are truly happy have morals. They don't need morals to be dictated to them by some outside agency that again has the hidden agenda of controlling them -- like the traditional churches. The happy person quickly discovers they don't need to envy (it makes them unhappy, so they choose not), they don't need to steal (it undermines their happiness, so they choose not), and on and on.
They find that independence and self-reliance support a state of happiness, the state they choose, so they go for it. They find that kindness and cooperation support a state of happiness, the state they choose, so they go for it. Honesty, etc, all the things we think of as virtues really do support being happy. Have you ever noticed how happy some of those saints were; some of them were so happy they glowed. But from a conventional modern western-european cultural perspective it makes no sense. They were willing to give all the other stuff away -- they choose happiness, instead. I think we can choose it too, even those of us who aren't saints. And I do.
I like Joseph Camplell's directive to all of us -- Follow your bliss!
My question to you is, what do you choose? I choose happiness today, because happiness is a choice only I can make for myself. What about you?
Blessings from Belle,