Happiness. Such an ordinary word with such immense connotations. What does it mean? Does it exist? Where can it be found? The television and print ads are filled with images of "happy" people living the "good life": floating on cruise ships, driving fine cars, drinking champagne, celebrating the winning of the lottery, etc. What do these images really convey? The media would have us believe that if we find the perfect mate or the right job, we will achieve happiness, and people spend their entire lives pursuing happiness out of that belief. Of course, anyone who has done any honest, personal contemplation on the subject knows that it is a misconception. Yet, we still desperately try to live the "American dream," and fail miserably in our attempts to achieve the sought-after happiness.
It is this writer's humble opinion (and based on much personal experience on the subject!) that true, lasting happiness in the physical realm can never be achieved, simply because this entire existence is fleeting and is constantly changing. Since the physical universe is constantly changing, it stands to reason that our wants and needs are also constantly changing! Bhagwan Ra Afrika says that happiness can never be achieved; it can only be realized. This realization comes from the rediscovery of that God-nature (bliss) which is every individual, but which lies obscured by the ego (self).
Also, the mind itself is fickle! Once one achieves some small (or large, depending on one's point of view) measure of success or pleasure, it (the mind) is off to the next pursuit! If happiness can so easily be tossed aside for the next attainment or achievement, or greater pleasure, was it genuine happiness? This question is worth pondering, simply because we expend so much time and energy chasing the next, higher pursuit of happiness or fulfillment. Then, as soon as the "high" of the experience wears off, we experience pleasure "withdrawal" and need a new egoic "fix." That is because it was the seeking of the mind for pleasure (emotionally, mentally or physically), and pleasure is not happiness! This cycle perpetuates itself throughout our lives and leaves nothing but emptiness and destruction in its wake.
We try to fill the void with drugs, sex, jewelry, cars, homes, you name it! Yet, we are more and more unhappy and less and less fulfilled. Why? Because we have lost sight of who we are, we have lost sight of our God-nature. The great Socrates (among others) said, "Know thyself." Happiness can only be found where true self-knowledge resides. Also, happiness can only occur in the present. The past is a dream and the future is a fantasy. Yet, we spend most of our time reveling in the past or projecting into the future our desires and/or plans for achieving happiness.