Authenticity is Central
No matter how many other aspects of our life are going well, if we don't feel authentic (feel phony, living a lie), then this lack of authenticity will continue to gnaw away at us like an unquenchable hunger.
Our home base, the very foundation of our life, is authenticity. When we ask "Who am I?", a short snappy definition won't suffice. This fundamental question has to remain open, to be pondered & revisited many times over a lifetime. We're a work-in-progress.
During a life well-lived, we cultivate certain qualities which make us feel authentic, "real", at home, centered. If we're wise enough, we intentionally cultivate & embody these qualities as continuously as possible, during meditation practice as well as in everyday life. Why? Because it feels fundamentally unpleasant or off when we're not centered, and fundamentally pleasant or right when we are. This is not surprising, because here are some of the qualities of being centered: relaxation, playfulness, delight, appreciation, wonder, warmth, tenderness, peace, comfort, stillness, silence and timelessness.
Our past conditioning has thoroughly trained us to react in predictable ways when people and circumstances "push our buttons". Most of these reactions have neither short nor long-term benefits, and perhaps worst of all, they make us feel inauthentic! Similarly, many of our desires, wants and cravings, even if we're able to "satisfy" them, leave us unsatisfied because they weren't really what we needed. We were really seeking authenticity all along.
Authenticity is inherent to us all. Happiness is "an inside job" we already have it if we remain centered, authentic.
We're being inauthentic when we go far out on a limb to search for happiness where it can't be found eg wealth, fame, materialism, etc. This is very, very tricky to realize, because the companies that manufacture & sell stuff spend billions annually on advertising that tells us we cannot be happy unless we continuously buy stuff. When we inevitably become dissatisfied with the stuff we bought, most of us mistakenly believe that the solution lies in buying more, newer, better stuff. And our gnawing hunger continues.
Mindfulness training helps us de-condition, become less reactive, and see more clearly what is deeply satisfying.