If you ask for happiness, you have asked for unhappiness at the same time.
Happiness is always a by-product. It is not the result of a direct pursuit. It happens when you are not even thinking of it. It happens suddenly, out of nowhere.
Try to look at happiness, and you are certain to miss it.
Just stop Seeking, and you have found it – because seeking means an effort of the mind, and nonseeking means a state of relaxation. And happiness is possible only when you are relaxed.
A seeker is not relaxed. How can he be relaxed? He cannot afford relaxation. You will be surprised if you look around in the world: you will find people in a very poor countries more contented than those in rich ones. Yes, even in Ethiopia where they are dying of starvation, you will find people who are dying but who are not suffering or in anguish. The greatest number of unhappy people you will find in America. Happiness happens. Perhaps that’s why you call it “happiness” – because it happens. You cannot manage it, you cannot manufacture it, you cannot arrange it. Happiness is something that is beyond your effort, beyond you. But just by digging a hole in your garden, if you are totally absorbed in it – if the whole world is forgotten, including you – it is there.
Happiness is always with you. Happiness is just the, relaxed, at ease state of your being with existence. And it is there; it does not come and go.
Happiness is always there, but if you seek it you will find unhappiness. By seeking you will miss happiness – that’s what unhappiness is, missing happiness. Unhappiness has a certain relationship with pursuit, a partnership if you “pursue” , you will find unhappiness. And the American Constitution has given t hide to all the American people that they should “pursue.”
And they are pursuing desperately – for money, power, religion – and they are running all over running all over the world looking for somebody to teach them how to find happiness.
The thing to do is to just come back home and forget all about it. Do something that has nothing to do with happiness. Paint. You need not learn painting; Can’t you throw colour on a canvas? Any child can do it. Just throw colours on a canvas and you may be surprised: there are painters who don’t even paint on a canvas; they paint on the walls, on the floors, on the ceiling. Strange places – but I can see their insight. They are not interested in making a painting; they are more interested in getting involved in the very act of painting. It is not for sale. How can you sell your ceiling, and who is going to buy it? But while they are so absorbed, from some unknown corner something starts slipping into their being. They start feeling joyous for no reason at all.
That’s why I condemn the idea of pursuit. About whoever wrote this word pursuit into the constitution, I can say without knowing this word pursuit into the constitution, I can say without knowing his name, without knowing anything about him, that he must have been an utterly miserable man. He had never known happiness. He had been pursuing it; hence, he tried to give every American the same birthright that he had claimed for himself . And nobody has criticized it in three hundred years, such a simple thing.
A poet, a painter, a singer, a dancer, yes, once in a while attain happiness. But one thing is always part of it: whenever happiness comes, they are not there. The pursuer is not there, the pursuit is not there.
Nijinsky, one of the most significant dancers in the world, in the whole of history… As far as I am concerned, he is the best dancer humanity has ever produced. He was a miracle when he danced. Once in a while he would take such a big leap that it defied gravity; it was not possible, scientifically it was impossible. Such a huge, high leap was absolutely impossible according to the laws of gravity. Even the people who compete in the Olympics long jumps are nothing compared to Nijinsky when he used to jump. And even more miraculous was his coming back down. He came back like a feather, slowly. That went even more against the laws of gravity, because gravity would pull the weight of a human body suddenly, quickly. You would fall with a thump, you might even get a few fractures! But he used to come down just the way a dead leaf falls from the tree: Slowly, lazily, in no hurry, because there is nowhere to reach. Or even better, feather, because a leaf comes down a little faster. The feather of a bird is a lightweight, very lightweight; it comes down dancing. In the same way Nijinsky used to come back down. There was not even a sound when he landed on the stage.
He was asked again and again, “how do you do it?”
He said, “I don’t do it. I have tried to do it, but whenever I have tried, it has not happened. The more I have tried, the more it was clear to me that it is not something i can manage . Slowly, slowly, I became aware that it happens when I don’t try, when I am not even thinking of it. When I am not even there, suddenly I find it is there, it is happening. And by the time you figure it out how it happened, it is no longer there, already gone, and I am back on the floor.
Now, this man knows happiness cannot be pursued. If Nijinsky had been on the panel writing the Constitution of America, he would have objected and said that pursuit is absolutely the wrong word. Simply say that happiness is everybody’s birthright, not its pursuit. It is not like a hunter pursuing game. Then you will run your whole life, chasing shadows and never arriving anywhere, your whole life will pass by as sheer wastage.
But the American mind has this idea, so in every sphere- Politics, business, religion – they are pursuing. Americans are always on the go, and going fast, because when you are going then why not go fast? And don’t ask where you are going, because nobody knows. One thing is certain, they are going at full speed, with as much speed as they can maintain, all that they can manage. What more is needed? You are going, you are going at full speed you are fulfilling your birthright.
So people are passing from one woman to another woman, to another woman, to another woman, from one man, to another man, to another man; from one business to another business, from one job to another job-all in the pursuit of happiness.
But people are running after everything, thinking that perhaps this will give them what they have been missing.
Nothing will help. You can live in a palace but you will be just as miserable, perhaps more than you were in an old hut.
It is hope that is keeping people alive, and it is their excuses and explanations that keep them trying again and again. It has become the philosophy to try, try, and try again. But there are a few things that are not achievable within the realm of trying, which happen only when you are completely finished with trying. You simply sit down and say “ Enough is enough – I am not going to try.”
That’s how enlightenment happened to Gautam Budda.
He must have been the first American, because he was in pursuit of happiness. Because of the pursuit, he dropped his kingdom. He is a pioneer in many things. He is the first dropout. He had it, and he had it more that any man ever had it. Buddha was surrounded by all the beautiful women from the kingdom. So no desire remained unfulfilled: He had the best of food, hundreds of servants, huge garden.
Buddha said “ I am renouncing it all. I have not found happiness here. i will seek it, I will pursue it, I will do everything that is needed to find happiness.”
And for six years Buddha did everything that anybody can do. He went to all kinds of teachers, masters, scholars, wisemen, sages, saints. And India is full so of these people that you need not seek and search; you simply move anywhere and you meet them. They are all over the place; if you don’t seek them, they will seek you. And particularly in Buddha’s time it was really at a peak. But after six years’ tremendous effort – austerities, fasting, and yoga postures – nothing happened. And one day…..
Niranjana is a small river, not very deep. Buddha was fasting and practicing austerities and torturing himself in every way, and he had become so weak that when he went for a bath in the Niranjana he could not cross the river. The river was small, but he was so weak that only by holding on to a root of a tree, which he was hanging on to the root, the idea occurred to him. “These sages say that existence is like the ocean. If existence is an ocean, then whatever I am doing is not right, because if I can’t cross the ocean of existence? Whatever I have been doing, I have simply wasted my time, my life, my energy, my body.” Somehow he managed to come out of the river, and he dropped all effort and sat under the tree.
That evening – it was a full-moon – for the first time in six years he slept well, because there was nothing to do the next day, nowhere to go. No practice, no exercise…. The next day there was no need even to get up in the early morning before sunrise. The next day he could sleep as much as he wanted. For the first time he felt a total freedom from all effort, seeking, search, pursuit.
Of course he slept in a tremendously relaxed way, and in the morning, as he opened his eyes, the last star was disappearing. It is said, with the last star disappearing, Buddha disappearing too. The whole night’s rest, peace, no future, no goal, nothing to be done. Lying down, in no hurry even to get up, he simply saw that all those six years looked like a nightmare. The star disappeared and Siddhartha disappeared.
This was the experience of bliss, or truth; of transcendence, of all that you have been seeking. Even Buddhist have not been able to understand the significance of this strory.I am not a Buddhist and I don’t agree with Buddha on a thousand and one things, but I am the first man in twenty –five centuries who has put emphasis on this story and made it the central focus, because this is where. Buddha’s awakening happened. But Buddhist priests and monks cannot even tell this story, because if they tell this story, what purpose do they have? What are they doing? What are they teaching, what exercises, what prayers? Naturally, if you tell this story, that it happened when Buddha stopped doing all kinds of religious practice.