I think that moments of intense positive physical experience can prompt us to look within. It is easy to put faith in the material pleasures of the world to make you happy when you actually don’t have them, but once you receive all of those things you once desired, you realise that the void is still there. I was prompted to this realisation by a U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Assuming that Bono is singing about his own experience, it is just a testament to the fact that all the fame and glory in the world will still not find you true happiness. All of the material comforts in the world put together will never fill the inner void which has been created by the ego. Even non-material things like friendship or intimate relationships will only serve to reduce the self created pain that plauges the human condition. This is why I think that decadence and self-gratification can help show you that all of life’s comforts will only serve you up to a certain point.
To put it simply- only you are going to make yourself happy. Yes that is stating the obvious, but just because it is obvious doesn’t make it any less easy to realise. If anything the fact that it is so obvious makes it much easier to miss. So once you get something you really want, observe the feelings you experience inside. You will certainly feel some short-term elation. But in the long term, your overall level of happiness will most likely not change. I am not writing this to prove this fact, I am instead relating to my own personal experiences. After a certain point, I have been driven once again to turn my attention inwards in the pursuit of that unchanging eternal bliss that I have so rarely tasted that transcends even the most extravagant material satisfactions.
I think turning points are important in life, but it certainly isn’t the first time that I have decided to once again focus on inner peace. Whatever the reason, we must really keep going lest we find ourselves back in the same mindset, trying to understand how we got back here. I think mindfulness is never really lost though, it is a linear progression and every time you make another step forward and then loose focus, you never really loose that state of consciousness, you simply forget it.
Then again, maybe we always had it in the first place.