When the Hunt Ends – The Truth in Seeking Happiness

Danielle McKee
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It seems as though we are always on the hunt for something. In search of a mate, in search of that all-fulfilling job, in the market for a new home or a new car. So What happens when we reach all of our material goals? What comes after landing the awesome, high paying job; after we win the race for the “perfect” mate?
 
The uphill climb of college, the subsequent job search, the need for a partner, a home, a nice car…etc. What happens when you appease all of these material desires? (The love drawn from a partnership not necessarily part of the material list). “I’ll be happy once I graduate…I’ll be happy once I move into a bigger home …I’ll be happy once I land this job…I’ll be happy once I dump this guy and find another one…I’ll be happy when…”
 
I have recently come to the realization, as I am sure many of you have, that none of these things can bring happiness and inner peace. Not to say that they don’t bring stability, comfort and short term joy, they just don’t deliver the sort of happiness that is resilient and long-lasting.
 
The truth is, happiness is found when you look around, when you sit still and listen to the trees blow in the wind, listen to the birds chirp in communication with one another, when you feel the floor beneath your feet, when you feel the warmth of the sun or drops of rain on your skin.
 
In one of his lectures about his famous book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Dr. Wayne Dyer gently advises us to “see everything in our lives as miraculous.” It sounds so simple and corny, but next time you start to feel that numbness of routine or the heat of anxiety burning in your chest, go outside, look around, close your eyes, listen, feel. Feel nature, feel creation.

Peace is found in grounding, in acceptance and in gratitude.

“Miraculous” is just one of the hundreds of beautiful adjectives we would begin to use to describe our surroundings and our lives if we were to step outside of our clouded, busy, overworked thoughts. Our mindstates have gotten stale and jaded as a result of our societal norms, our technological inclinations, and the weight of the pressure we accept as just a ‘part of life.’
 
Peace is not found in working a desk job that makes you lots of money, or driving around in your brand new car. Peace is found in grounding, in acceptance and in gratitude. How could anyone who is grateful for the mere fact that they are alive feel sadness or lack? Don’t get me wrong, new things are great, it feels good to get a new pair of shoes, a new car and to knock a job interview out of the park, but these feelings are fleeting. They do not last. Your soul however, is infinite. The exploration of your soul is NOT a fruitless exercise; tuning into your breath and listening to your thoughts is NOT a valueless experiment.
 

 
We have all experienced sadness and anxiety; it’s part of the human condition. The key is to explore the paradox of it all, try and understand that while you have days where you feel sadness, you also have days where you experience unbridled excitement and happiness. Finding peace is accepting the parts of yourself that hurt, the parts of yourself that ache, and embracing them, loving them, befriending them. It is these moments of pain that allow us to truly appreciate and acknowledge the many moments or joy.
 
You may think that your next buy or materialistic accomplishment is going to make your life and bring you that happiness that you have been striving for so desperately. And it will bring fleeting happiness—a happiness that can blow away as easily as the last leaves on a winter tree. We all suffer from the materialistic ailment in one form or another; it is part of life in our highly evolved, ladder-climbing, ego-driven culture. It’s okay to fall victim to this. But through it all, just be aware, always observe your behaviors in a non-judgmental manner, always pay attention to your feet on the ground, your breath in and out, the sun on your skin, the breeze cooling your body. Soon you’ll begin to notice that for some reason, those miracles make your material goals less powerful on your ‘to do list’. You’ll notice that, miraculously, the hunt has ended.
 
In peace and light, Danielle.
 

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Danielle McKee

Danielle is a Northern California girl from the Sacramento area. She works at a Legislative Advocacy firm, enjoys yoga, meditation, writing, drinking wine and cooking for the ones she loves. Her yoga ventures have taught her to live more mindfully on and off her mat.

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