Somewhere in between running after instant gratifications and long term gratifications there is a lifestyle that takes into account both. Crop out the harmful instant gratifications; leave a few insignificant or unharmful ones. Live the life and enjoy the simple pleasures meanwhile working to slowly build the long lasting ones.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” – Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation
Sustainable happiness therefore is something that does not harm us or others at least that much and it can be compensated by our long term habits easily.
Happiness can be sustained through multiple efforts. By itself usually happiness does not last that long, however if we skillfully combine the proactive attitude with the enjoyment of the simple pleasures, we can find a sustainable combinations. It is the combination of sweat and joy.
I realized this as I was debating this morning with myself should I’ve a cup of tea or not. Usually I don’t have it, past year I don’t think there has been a three days in a row that I’ve enjoyed such pleasure. Yet now I already had a fourth day in a row. That’s not a big deal thought in the big picture of things, however in the context of this morning it was rather existing exception.
Happiness is and can be sustained. However, it all starts with the realizations and acceptance of the suffering. Since the Four Noble Truths the Tetrapharmakos has been an enlightened way to think about suffering:
Don’t fear god,
Don’t worry about death;
What is good is easy to get,
What is terrible is easy to endure.
After realizing these four cures, life becomes rather easy and relaxed.