In order to escape we have invented or are using all kinds of means: overindulgence in sex or the use of alcohol, nicotine, other drugs, indulgence in food, TV, internet, endless chatter...
We are used to looking outside ourselves, looking for sense stimulations which may make us happy and sometimes they do. But all of this is just temporary and when the effect is gone, we have to do it again and again... chasing happiness endlessly because, as we all know from our own experience, there is no lasting happiness in all these excitements.
Sometimes we are totally stressed out, tired of everything and what are we then longing for? Then we are yearning for a quiet and calm place, we don’t want to hear or see anything, we want to be alone, want to just rest, relax or go to sleep. I guess all of us have experienced this feeling of being fed up with everything.
However, all of us might be familiar with a different kind of happiness as well, a happiness which does not spring from excitement but out of calm and peaceful circumstances: a walk along a quiet, empty beach in the early morning, a stroll through a beautiful landscape bathed in mild sunlight, listening to the birds and crickets in the morning, watching a spectacular sunrise or sunset.
Peacefulness and calmness of the mind is our refuge after being stressed out by all the other means of chasing “worldly” happiness. So why live the hard way and turn to this inner peace and balance only after a health scare, a divorce or other catastrophes in life? Why wait until our problems in life mount until they become nearly unbearable?
A much wiser approach is to investigate the causes of our discontentment and little by little free ourselves from this relentless and tiring chasing after pleasure. Even though reading books or listening to talks will help with this inquiry, it can effectively be done only by looking inside, by examining our own bodies and minds – by meditation. At the end of the road Nibbana or Nirvana, a balanced permanent state of mind is waiting but at least for me (and I suspect for the vast majority of others) this is beyond reach. But we can free the minds more and more frequently from discontentment and unhappiness. The path to genuine happiness is provided by meditation. [...]
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