Pursuing happiness requires a deeper understanding about your life tendencies, says The Ten Worlds coauthor Ash ElDifrawi. In their book, he and Lickerman identify 10 core beliefs about happiness. While you can move in and out of the beliefs, most of us gravitate toward one of them as being our truth, and we live in that “world.” Nine are delusions, while one is the true source of happiness. See if you recognize yourself.
Hell: The world of suffering. When trapped here we feel hopeless and helpless. The delusion in this world is that we’re powerless to end the suffering.
Hunger: The world of desire. People who live in this world are restless and have persistent yearning. The delusion in this world is that you have to get what you want to be happy.
Animality: The world of instinct. This world revolves around the present moment and satisfaction of our physical needs. The delusion is that happiness and pleasure are the same.
Anger: The world of ego. In this world, we are driven by a need to always be viewed in a positive light, which often causes us to feel contemptuous and jealous of others. The delusion in this world is that happiness comes from being better than everyone else.
Tranquility: The world of serenity. People who live in this world find comfort in the status quo, and shun variety and trying new things. The delusion is that to be happy we must avoid pain.
Rapture: The world of joy. This world feels exhilarating and full, but it’s hedonistic. The delusion is that happiness is dependent on specific attachments, such as money or things.
Learning: The world of mastery. In this world, you feel a relentless drive to learn and accomplish something that creates value and meaning. The delusion comes when you think happiness comes only through accomplishment.
Realization: The world of self-improvement. Here, you’re obsessed with self-examination and personal growth, but it can lead to self-absorption. The delusion is that you think you need to grow to be happy.
Compassion: The world of love. In this world, fulfillment comes from caring as much about the happiness of others as we do our own. While this sounds good, the delusion is that you believe in order to be happy, you must help others become happy, and that can foster resentment.
Enlightenment: The world of awe. The 10th world is the true path to happiness. We remain in a continual state of wonder at the sublime order and beauty of the universe.