Isn't that what everybody says? Isn't that what we all strive for? Every action we make is ultimately for the perceived benefit of the feeling of happiness that the action should, in our estimation, lead towards. What do I mean with "happiness"? To me, it's that feeling we have, when everything is - at that moment - right with our world; that feeling we have when we say that we'd like this perfect moment to last forever. You know what I'm talking about. It's the feeling we try to recreate by repeating whatever led up to the moment. Perhaps on holiday somewhere, we experience that moment, so let's go there again next time - only the next time isn't like the first time and feeling doesn't happen again.
When I studied psychology, I recall reading about an experiment with cats, where they had to perform a simple task to get a reward, i.e. press a lever. The cat would try all sorts of ways to get at the titbit on offer and would sooner or later press the lever, usually by accident. The experimenter noted that the cat would then repeat a number of moves it had made to again, accidentally press the lever. It did not understand it just needed to press the lever, it believed it had to do the ritual in order to achieve lever pressing. Just like us: it worked the last time, so all I have to do to get that feeling is do what I did the last time. And it usually doesn't work. Or if it does, we don't notice the precise circumstances are slightly different.
We humans like our rituals and often repeat them until they become meaningless. And all to be happy.
Apparently we don't notice that happiness is a feeling inside and doesn't depend or come from the outside. Like all feelings. But we are trained to find happiness through the outside in, not the inside out. And there the problems beginn. We seek happiness frequently at the cost of the misery of others; if I'm alright Jack, then all is well and fuck the rest.
What a truly sad approach to obtaining happiness. If we understood that we have to pursue that feeling where all feelings live, i.e. inside ourselves, then so much more kindness and empathy would be available to be shared with our fellow travellers.
This video from Prem Rawat talks about this. Listen and learn :-)