here are the variables we have to work with :
who i am and what i want
the things out there and what makes them desirable
the medium of interaction : time and space
the method of interaction : life
life, simply put, is an expression of the Infinite Universal Principle.
time and space seems to split the universal into structural differences
these particular manifestations attract us only if we perceive their effects upon us to be pleasurable
the objective of happiness or pleasure drives us in our unending pursuit of these objects
and ultimately we have no idea who we are or why we can't find perpetual joy or bliss.
how does one work this puzzle out ?
the problem stems from the fact that we are trained to spot differences and not the underlying unifying principal ...
there are a million different "things" out there ( and these include the people we interact with ) but it is not the things that interest us, we are looking for their ultimate effect ... the hope that we will derive joy / happiness from such a union .. yet infinite joy is not possible by mere addition of finite items.
however, multiplicity does not negate the essential One - the interfering vapors of time and space upon the Universal gives us the shimmering mirage of life as we apprehend it - fractured, stressful and empty.
yet time and space borrows it's power from our very consciousness ... in deep sleep, where is your city, child or empire - where did time itself go ?
so we come back to Consciousness ... the original source, the ongoing substratum and our ultimate goal.
an applied cognition of this Principal brings the particulars back into the fold of the universal - that is, nothing is abandoned but rather absorbed back into our essential Being and when seen from this standpoint, no desire remains - all that is, I AM.
So the final equation for a happy life ?
RECOGNIZE and TRANSCEND ( careful now: this is not the same as reject and suppress ! )
use your life, with a vision fine tuned to see past the distorting lens of time & space, to understand that true joy and bliss lie beyond the scope of the accumulation of finite objects but rather in dissolution of the individual entity and myriad objects into the cosmic whole.
You Are All That You Behold - what, then, is left to want or need !
problem solved :)