Some confusion exists in distinguishing happiness in the usual understanding versus HAPPINESS as it applies to a condition of serenity, satisfaction and peace.
HAPPINESS is a goal rarely obtained under anyone’s self-assessment of their own lives, yet we can fantasize how it can be a desirable goal. It does not necessitate ‘vegging out’ or retreating from worldly challenges or stresses. It represents a state of mind which can weather life’s difficulties with an optimistic and vigorous response. It involves choosing which values are truly important rather than those which society and our culture seems to promote.
In distinction, happiness is an emotion, like sadness. It is cherished when we experience it but is impossible to achieve on any lasting basis. We can certainly pursue activities and attitudes which encourage joyous emotions and feelings, but we cannot reasonably be disappointed when we experience pain and suffering as well. They are all part of the spectrum of life.
Perhaps another analogy will be useful: HAPPINESS is an enduring state of consciousness, resistant to the daily fluctuations of feelings such as happiness and sadness. These are the waves which ride a sea of serenity known as HAPPINESS.