So the human pursuit of happiness is natural and good. But problems arise when we lose sight of that essential reason for the search, the original motive. This happens very easily. It is often said that the method unenlightened people employ in life to find happiness is to arrange things as they like them to be and try to keep them that way. That is they look for conditions, possessions and relationships which, when they are in place, provide feelings of satisfaction and contentment. Again, it is not entirely wrong to do that, bodhicitta is within that approach, but when situations change and we lose those things we rely on for our sense of well-being, we often don’t know how best to deal with that.
And we make a basic mistake when we think it is possible to create a life for ourselves where we can control what happens around us and avoid the difficult stuff. In truth it is not possible, even though it might sometimes appear that we can, because we do have agency. Choices we make do result in our life becoming more palatable. Sometimes. The freedom of choice many of us have reinforces the sense that we are in charge of our own destiny, and if only we could prevent those things and people who frustrate our wishes from impinging on us, the course of our life would be a one-way journey to fulfilment.
Note: I was personally touched by this talk and saw the benefits others are likely to derive from visiting his words, published here on Jade over several days. Thanks to the Reverend for permission to do this. Listen to the talk.