Happiness does not come from getting what we want

I was listening to an interesting talk on renunciation today, in regards to sense pleasure.

And it really gave me pause for thought…..

How much of our happiness is based on sense pleasure?

On satisfying our desire for sense pleasure?

The main danger of sense pleasure is the clinging and “wanting” that are closely tied in with the sense pleasure.  And that misconception that happiness lies in indulging in our desire for it.

Sense pleasure in itself is not bad.

In it’s purest form it is beautiful.

Enjoying the warmth of the sun, a hug from a loved one, the scent of fresh flowers, a cool breeze on a warm day.

These are not bad.

It’s when our sense pleasure is satisfied from getting what we want that it becomes dangerous and tenuous.

And ironically the happiness that we feel – that we think comes from getting what we want, is actually a happiness derived from removing the “wanting”.  Wanting does not feel good – and we will usually do anything to make it stop.  

There is a deeper and more lasting form of happiness.  And that comes from being in the present moment.

And not trying to jump from one moment of happiness to the next (with no unpleasantness in-between).

But enjoying each moment for what it is, in it’s entirety.

Tying in with the concept of renunciation – which I am endlessly fascinated with! – we are not wanting to deny ourselves sense pleasure.  However we are trying to renounce the clinging to sense pleasure.  

And to study and discover how we relate to sense pleasure.


The Buddha does not offer as a solution the method of repression — the attempt to drive desire away with a mind full of fear and loathing. This approach does not resolve the problem but only pushes it below the surface, where it continues to thrive. The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.

Bhikkhu Bodhi


About istopforsuffering

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One response to “Happiness does not come from getting what we want

  1. With my brother’s illness, I look very hard at the tiny things to be thankful for plus the biggies!!!

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