Is there anything more to being happy?
Yes, it is living with integrity.
What do you mean by integrity?
When what you believe and what you do are the same or very nearly the same, then you have integrity. But when you are divided — saying one thing but doing another — you don’t have integrity. Abraham Lincoln once said about a nation “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” The same is true with a person. A divided person cannot be a happy person.
Remember, the opposite of integration is disintegration. We say that when something falls apart, it disintegrates. A person without integrity doesn’t do well, as they are like strangers to themselves.
What is the main thing that stands in the way of achieving a good life?
It is mainly being egotistical. It is thinking that you are more important than other people.
Does this mean that pleasure and desire are bad?
Pleasure is good but selfish pleasure takes you away from people and therefore away from your own happiness. Some desires aren’t really good for us. We may want them because they make us feel good right away, but later we realize that it really wasn’t good for us. We know this when we eat too much of something we like.
There are also some desires that hold us back instead of making us free. We are no longer free but are enslaved to the desire itself. This happens to some people with drugs or alcohol. It can also happen with other things. When we are bonded to desire this way, we become distant and even isolated from other people. This leads to loneliness and unhappiness.