Momentary Pleasure or Happiness & Inner Fulfillment

Jul 20, 2006 by Luann Robinson Hull
“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”—Matthieu Ricard (pp. 31, Happiness, by Matthieu Ricard, 2003)

In our ever ending search to obtain happiness, the very act of striving will itself frequently take us further away from the joy and fulfillment we are so hoping to find. And often in this seeking of ours, we will come upon a “momentary pleasure” or delight, which we may mistake for our deliverance to that state of eternal bliss. Of course, it is possible that this “momentary pleasure” can extend for seconds to even days or weeks. Nonetheless, we willnot experience this event in the same way that we did the first time as time passes, no matter what the situation. Things couldappear to get better, worse, or even neutral…but they won’t stay the same. Matthieu Ricard, best selling author and expert on the subject of happiness states, that… “without inner peace we have nothing we need to be happy…” He indicates that to experience true happiness we must find peace within ourselves… outward conditions are always impermanent. And so… how is it that we can make being peaceful the way of our lives…no matter what is going on in our external world?

Recently, I was driving down the road, blissfully taking in the beautiful landscape, enjoying one of those “momentary pleasures.” Suddenly my cell phone rang (technology can be both a blessing and a curse) and for some reason, I chose to answer what turned out to be a most disturbing call. As the day progressed other mishaps began to show up. Just following the unsettling conversation described above, I decided to stop for some groceries, and while in the process, indulged in a piece of chewy ginger candy (bad idea). The short-lived bliss (another “momentary pleasure”) I experienced from consuming this tasty morsel was hardly worth the consequence. Within seconds, the temporary crown on my tooth was not only dislodged, but broken in two pieces and virtually irreparable. (Was this unfortunate circumstance a metaphor for the apparent crumbling of my earlier queenly state, just prior to the phone’s interruption)? As a result of the broken crown mishap, even the slightest stimulus (like breathing) sent me into excruciating pain. Well then, I guess something had to be done. It was Friday and I would not want to go the weekend without being able to inhale and exhale. In between attempting to find the dentist and trying to breathe without keeling over, I was making an effort to resolve the circumstances, which had resulted in the upsetting conversation that had taken place hours earlier. On top of everything else, I had an out of town guest that would be arriving momentarily, whom I hadn’t seen for a number of years, not to mention the several hours of work awaiting my attention. What to do?

In retrospect, I can see that there are ways in which I could have handled things much more peacefully, but what I can say, is that when I listened to the inner voice that gently whispered, “everything is really okay no matter what seems to be happening,” I was immediately granted a sense of calm that was utterly astounding. And at times, I could actually watch the entire, ridiculous scenario as though it was a movie. However, when I chose to ignore that inner voice, I went directly back into chaos.

My lesson: No matter what is happening, there is a quiet, yet mighty Force inside that will never abandon me. How can I access that Force?…By getting still, even if only for a nanosecond. If I listen… I will hear.

Stop, breathe and take a moment.

(Hint: It really helps in trying times if you have a regular meditation practice of any kind to support you. And if you are so inclined, while you are going into that stillness, begin with last week’s suggestion of immediately breathing into your heart, all of those souls who are challenged just like you…and asking for peace for everyone.)

Happiness and peace be with you now, and always…