Osho says that the statement in the American Constitution that the pursuit of happiness is man’s birthright is stupid.
I call it stupid because nobody can be in pursuit of happiness. And if you are in pursuit of happiness one thing is certain: you are not going to get it.
Happiness is always a by-product.
It is not the result of a direct pursuit.
It happens when you are not even thinking of it – what to say of pursuit? It happens suddenly, out of nowhere. You were doing something totally different.
You may be chopping wood. Certainly it is not the pursuit of happiness – chopping wood – but in the early morning sun, when it is still cool, the noise of your axe falling on the wood… pieces of wood being thrown all around, making a noise and then leaving a silence behind…. You start perspiring, and the cool breeze makes you feel even cooler than before. Suddenly there is happiness, a joy uncontainable. But you were simply chopping wood; and chopping wood has not to be mentioned as a birthright in the constitution, because then, how many things are you going to include? […]
Happiness is always with you.
It has nothing to do with rain, it has nothing to do with chopping wood, it has nothing to do with digging a hole in the garden:
Happiness has nothing to do with anything.
It is just the unexpectant, relaxed, at ease state of your being with existence. And it is there; it does not come and go. It is always there, just like your breathing, your heartbeat, the blood circulating in your body.
Happiness is always there, but if you seek it you will find unhappiness, because by seeking you will miss happiness. That’s what unhappiness is: missing happiness. So with pursuit, unhappiness has a certain relationship, a partnership. If you pursue you will find unhappiness. And the American constitution has given the idea to the whole American people: Pursue. […]
Simply happiness is everybody’s birthright, not its pursuit. It is not like a hunter pursuing game: then you would run for your whole life, chasing shadows, never arriving anywhere. Your whole life would go in sheer wastage.
But the American mind has got the idea, so in every sphere – politics, business, religion – they are pursuing. The Americans are always on the go, and going fast, because when you are going then why not go fast? And don’t ask where you are going – because nobody knows. One thing is certain, they are going with full speed, with all the speed that they can maintain, all that they can manage. What more is needed? You are going, you are going with full speed: you are fulfilling your birthright.
So Americans are passing from one woman to another woman, to another woman, to another woman; from one man, to another man, to another man; from one business to another business, from one job to another job – in the pursuit of happiness. And strangely, it always looks as if it is there and somebody else is enjoying it, so you start pursuing it. When you reach there it is not there.
Osho, From Personality to Individuality, Ch 27, Q 1 (excerpt)