by Dennis E. Bradford, Ph.D.

in spiritual well-being


There are two kinds of happiness, two kinds of bliss.

Hi, I’m Dr. Dennis Bradford.

It’s important to distinguish two very different ways of being happy.

Unfortunately, there’s no standard terminology here.

In fact, there’s a welter of different words used.

‘Happiness’ is used by different people to denote different concepts.

Since it’s such an elastic word, we can make it work.

Let’s briefly ask and answer three questions.

First, what are the two kinds of happiness?

Second, how are they different?

Third, how may they each be obtained?

Let’s imagine a specific situation.  One day you are walking down a road.

You spot a small bag and discover that it contains a handful of what appear to be diamonds.

Being an honest person, you turn it in to the local police lost-and-found.

However, after the prescribed waiting period, nobody claims it.

You are ecstatic when you are told that they really are diamonds and that they are now your property!

You are very happy.  Who wouldn’t be?

You exchange them for cash and buy a new house and a new car.

Planning for the future, you also buy a profitable business so that you’ll keep having money coming in.

You simply blow 10% of your newfound wealth on a great vacation and give at least another 10% away to charity.

Obviously, you are happy and feeling very good about your life.

Everyone understands that kind of happiness.

Notice that that happiness was conditional on your finding the diamonds.

No diamonds, no happiness.

Anyone else who happened to have found them first would also have been happy in the same way.

Please also notice that it’s possible to attain that kind of happiness without such luck.

We all know the names of entrepreneurs who have created successful businesses and become multi-billionaires.

They, too, may enjoy that same kind of happiness, right?

Perhaps, though, at this point, you are starting to feel a bit uneasy.

You are experienced enough to understand that there are some billionaires who are not very happy at all.

After all, while money offers more choices, it hardly makes us able to avoid all problems.

Also, we humans are very adaptable creatures.  We adjust.

What happens when one adjusts to being a billionaire?

Although I don’t know from personal experience, I imagine that life soon returns to normal.

What would happen to you after you adjusted to the wealth you enjoyed after finding the bag of diamonds?

You’d soon return to normal.  You’d adjust to being wealthy.

Conditional happiness doesn’t last.  In fact, it can be quite fleeting.

There’s the difference:  unconditional happiness doesn’t depend upon anything outside itself.

Unconditional happiness lasts.

It is not a temporary kind of bliss; it’s permanent bliss.

So, that answers the first question.  The two kinds of happiness are the conditional and the unconditional.

It also answers the second question:  conditional happiness is temporary while unconditional happiness is lasting.

Many sages have said all this in many different ways.  There’s nothing original here.

You may, though, still be unclear about the nature of unconditional happiness.

You have sometimes experienced conditional happiness.

Perhaps, your lover returned home safely after a long, perilous absence.

The tumor discovered in your child turned out to be benign.

A distant relative who you hardly knew existed unexpectedly left you a significant inheritance.

The team of which you are a rabid fan won the championship.

And so on.

It’s the answer to the third question that is the most interesting of the three.

Notice that conditional happiness can be sought and gained.

It’s certainly possible in the right kind of economy to go from being broke to being wealthy.

It’s certainly possible to buy top-notch medical care.

It’s certainly often possible to seek and find better health.

In fact, what are your goals in life?  Maybe you never wrote them down.  Maybe they are merely wishes.  But ask yourself:

What do I really want?

My guess is that you could come up with a significant list quickly.

In fact, especially if you have never before done this, why not pause this video for just 2 or 3 minutes and do it?

Alright:  look at your list of goals.  Here’s the question to ask about them:

If achieved, would they all yield conditional happiness?

The answer is likely to be ‘Yes.’

Here’s the important question to ask about them:

If gained, would any of them yield unconditional happiness?

It’s unlikely.  Why?

Unconditional happiness is unconditional.  It has nothing to do with anything else such as achieving goals.

If you are unclear about it, that’s probably why you are unclear about it.

In other words, unconditional happiness cannot be sought as a goal.

Or, rather, it’s a mistake to try to seek it because such seeking always fails.

Some do seek it, but they always fail to achieve unconditional happiness.

Here’s the lesson:  there’s nothing you could ever do to achieve it.

Insofar as you are attached to doing, that explains why your notion of it is vague and unfamiliar.

It likely lies beyond the edge of your comfort zone.

If you seek it, you will miss it.  Guaranteed.

What, then, can be done to attain a lasting state of grace, unconditional happiness or bliss?

Stop seeking.

If you will stop seeking, you will find it.


Believe it or not, you already are it.

Incessant doing is obstructing your apprehension.

In other words, you already have everything required to live well, to live in a state of unconditional happiness for the rest of your life.

Like clouds passing across the sky, states of conditional happiness come and go.

Like the sky itself, unconditional happiness is always available.

All that is required is opening to it, which just means realizing what you already are.

Here’s the critical question I’d like you to take away with you from this video:

Am I so busy focusing on conditional happiness that I’m neglecting unconditional happiness?

Your true nature is unconditional happiness, lasting bliss, abiding joy.

To awaken to that divinity within, stop seeking and simply open to Being.