The ultimate goal in life is a continual experience of peaceful joy.
To put it simply and casually, peaceful joy is the highest state one can expect to realistically experience “all day, every day“.
Peaceful joy is the highest sustainable state of psychological and functional health. Thus, it is the most defining aspect of genuine, sustainable happiness.
Genuine, peaceful joy is the ultimate goal of modern human existence.
The ultimate goal is not maximum stimulation. The ultimate goal is not wealth or power. The ultimate goal is not gaining as much knowledge as possible. The ultimate goal is not creativity and achievement. These are potentially wonderful goals. But they are not what is ultimately desired: these goals are just means of attaining an optimal psychological state of being. The optimal psychological state of being – the ultimate purpose of for attaining these goals – is to experience a genuine state of peaceful joy on a consistent basis.
Deep, lasting peaceful joy is the ultimate manifestation of a good life. It is the physical-emotional-experiential “fruit” of genuine happiness, because it is the highest positive state of being that is, or that can potentially be, constantly accessible and constantly sustainable.
So the primary qualities that make peaceful joy the optimal, functional state of happiness are psychological accessibility and sustainability. These qualities make peaceful joy distinct from other pleasurable psychological states such as ecstasy and exhilaration, elation and euphoria, and from simple stimulation by consumption (food, drugs, alcohol, materialism, etc).
The Peaceful aspect of Joy: Peacefulness in this sense, in its relationship to Joy, is characterized by inner calm, or a lack of anxiety or tension. It means that the joyful feeling comes at no direct expense to others or environments, nor by way of personal stress (inner forcefulness or resistance). There is only calm, aware gentleness regardless of any undesirable conditions. There is no excessive desire, no clinging, and no active strain – no unpeace. There is certainly no direct significant harm being done to anyone or anything, including ourselves.
The Joy aspect of Peacefulness: Joy, in this sense, means feeling and experiencing a positive emotional state of pleasure and happiness. It’s characterized by genuinely feeling a combination of healthy positive emotions surrounding the self, others, and the present environment. It includes psychological states of gratitude, enthusiasm, humility, motivation, openness, compassion, engagement, pleasurable contentment, good-natured humor, wholesome fun, and loving-kindness.
Peaceful joy has no “comedown”. It is 100% sustainable. It is a calm, natural state of being that is maintained daily and stems from healthy engagement, conscious gratitude, ethical behavior (“right action”), and from having the intention to be genuinely and sustainably happy.
The ultimate, sustainable goal of psychological and functional health is consistently experiencing peaceful joy. Intend it, and cultivate it.