I've been bothered by this for a while. I thought I posted about this before, but I can't find it. It's philosophical and perhaps there is no one answer. It seems the whole world is happiness obsessed. But perhaps I don't get it and someone can enlighten me.
I'm read The Untethered Soul. Nothing too shocking as I've been at all this a while. Yet, I'm puzzled by the suggested choice of unconditional happiness. When I see this concept in print, I start to question the other wisdom I read. The book proposes the choice to be unconditionally happy as the only choice we need to make in life. Then everything else can naturally follow. There is much discussion in the book about letting the You sit inside and observe the inner and outer goings on. The You who hears the inner voice making the observations. The real You. To make little judgment and let the good and bad pass through without storing it up inside where it creates blockages. Even the good can create blockages. This enables full presence. I see this as genuineness. Genuine presence. Presence without choice or constraint. Presence like a tree. I see the choice to be happy as not much better than the choice to be angry, sad, or favor any other emotion. Sure, it may be better to choose to be happy than miserable in the present. But is that better than no choice at all? Is one somehow unhappy with full presence? If full presence is not happy, is that less than being happy? I find I can be at my core quite content being miserable. I can honor my misery just as I can honor joy.
Does an infant/child choose to be happy? Yet, the infant/child appears happy.
Then there is a questionable presumption that God and the spiritual world is happy? Who says? Might God (assuming existence as this book does) be neutral. When a child plays house, the child is not necessarily happy. When a person writes a novel, they are not necessarily happy. Once again it seems that there is an arbitrary bias toward a happy God and that this suggests humans must choose happiness to connect to the spiritual realm. There is also a bias that the spiritual realm is happy and connection to it will make us happy.
Granted trees grow toward light. But is that a choice? Does that analogy have any value to the situation given the non-rational nature of trees? Or should be live more like trees? Be with our biology and not our minds?
Has happiness been used in conflicting and confusing ways? The base emotion might be glad. Glad may not lead to being happy. Happiness is a later state that one may not get to.
Happy seems to have no bounds. You can always want more happiness. Genuineness is self-limiting. You can only be your true self. Do we need something to reach for? Is happiness just a construct to guide our path? Or is happiness a grand illusion? The Stormy Search for the Self talks about how spiritual emergence and emergency are often hampered, delayed, and damaged by the mental health professionals who don't understand what is happening to the person. Might the happiness obsession be a cause? It seems to astonish and even trouble people when I talk of genuineness over happiness. I can't be the first person. Any books on point? Didn't Descartes struggle with irrational elements of his faith? Does that imply that he might have been better off accepting his genuine self, faith included, in the moment? Is that not what he ultimately did?
There are other issues such as law of attraction beneifts to choosing to react in a happy way. But this book seems to suggest a projected happiness. Law of attraction does as well. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding both. This book suggests that no matter what life throws your way, you remain happy. The reaction of happiness seems an outgrowth of the projected choice to be happy. That projection detracts from presence. On the other hand, what does genuineness attract? What if your geneuine self attracts what you don't want? Is if possible to be genuine and have wants outside your genuineness? Can you choose to be happy without projection?
Is the goal of happiness compatible with genuineness. I would think being happy at the loss of a loved one is not reflecting the inner You. It is a mask in another form.
The book ends with a discussion of the Tao. That balanced centeredness suggest genuineness over happiness. Ultimately, I'm left confused. Let the genuineness shine in.