On the other side of any person, place, or thing, period. Not the promotion, the apartment, the vacation, or any of it. We all know this intellectually - we've seen marriages fail despite picture-perfect weddings and celebrities self-destruct despite dream careers. But somehow, we continue to seek fulfillment outside of ourselves, whether it's a little pick-me-up (yet another pair of shoes) or a milestone goal (house, spouse).
I'm not claiming that external sources can't inspire or uplift us - a new tube of lipstick does make me feel good, and I collect inspirational quotes because they do help me. Things like spouses and houses can certainly be sources of tremendous joy. But to guarantee deep, lasting fulfillment is an inside job.
When we meditate, our active thinking mind dissolves into its least excited state, which is pure awareness or simply being with no interference. In this state, the mind can't conceive of a thought or idea to make it happier than it is at that very moment, so it falls silent.
This state of fulfillment is our true nature, and we can access it daily with a simple technique.
Let me get real (and a bit morbid) for a moment. I've felt a lot of fear in my life about losing loved ones and I know I'm not alone. To some degree, we all believe it would be impossible to feel happy again if we lost our mom/brother/boyfriend/fill-in-the-blank. "If I lost him, I literally wouldn't know who I was," my friend recently confided. But when we give credence to this fear, we feel compelled to control and stay safe when control and safety are an illusion. Nothing is guaranteed in this life except the fulfillment that can be unlocked within each of us, and we all deserve the key.