There is a story that goes as follows. An apprentice goes to a Buddhist monk and tells him: “I want happiness!”. The monk replies: “Remove “I”, which is ego; remove “want” as it is desire. And all that is left is happiness”. This small parable points us towards the center of the search for happiness. Truth be told, happiness is not a result, but a catalyst. Happiness is not a future product of favorable circumstances, but a launching ramp for daily miracles.
People search for happiness their entire lives. Biologically, we are wired to search for pleasure and avoid pain. From a divine standpoint, life’s essence is following one’s bliss and acting according to it.
So why do we struggle so much to live harmonious and abundant lives? In order to understand what happiness is all about, we need to dive deep in the societal programming that drives our thoughts and actions on a daily basis.
- Since early childhood, we have been taught that happiness is something external. It is deeply embedded in our unconscious minds that happiness represents a by-product that we can achieve if we perform a certain act and attain something on a material level.
- We have been led to feel that we are not whole and that we can only find happiness in the presence of our significant other. Nothing can be further from the truth.
- There is a hidden belief that if we are not happy one hundred percent of the time, there is something wrong with us.
Let’s deconstruct the ideas mentioned above.
Happiness does not come from what you have.
Material things, such as a well-paid job, that amazing sports car or that beautiful home you have been dreaming about your entire life, represent only momentarily peaks of pleasure. In time, their impact fades away, and you return to a state of inner emptiness. This happens, as we run towards what we think we need, from a space of scarcity and not from a state of fulfillment. It may feel counter-intuitive, but you should accumulate things from a mindset of richness and not lack. Outer things will never be able to fill the void within. Only integrating that void and giving it space to surface, will ultimately bring the long-awaited happiness.
The perfect partner does not guarantee happiness and peace.
Your significant other has the role of a teacher, a mirror that reflects the unconscious aspects that still linger in your mind. If you are searching for your “other half” in order to gain that sensation of continuous completion, you have another thing coming. It is important to realize that if you were feeling distressed, abandoned and lonely before getting involved in a relationship, at a certain point, these emotions will manifest in your communion as well. The gift of happiness never comes from a different person. Indeed, you can feel happy in the presence of a close friend, a beloved care-giver or your spouse. But the seeds of happiness must have been planted within your mind and soul long before you are in contact with those people.
Being happy all the time does not happen.
Life is a series of contrasts, a system of polarities that flow from a state towards another. If you associate happiness with a prolonged circumstance, you will soon find yourself trying to hold on to things that are meant to pass. This is a hard pill to swallow, as we are all searching for certainty and stability.
These being said, how do we attain happiness?
Happiness comes from within. It is not a goal, but an innate gift that needs to be mindfully unwrapped on a daily basis. You can say that happiness is a habit, a habit of long-lasting spiritual health and sacred inspiration. Happiness is attributed to a state of wholeness. Notice how feeling grateful for what you already have, brings forth happiness and centeredness. Recognize that whatever you do, the outer circumstances of your life, have as much power as you give them. Being happy has nothing to do with what happens to you on a physical level, but with what you radiate from within. Indeed, there are painful occurrences – such as the departure of a loved one- that conflict with abiding happiness. But these circumstances are a part of life, and we were meant to experience those as well.
Modern societies have unknowingly distorted the value of happiness. Happiness has become something we can buy, taste or sleep with. But this kind of pleasure it only able to arouse our senses but not to uplift our souls. Finding genuine happiness in your life is linked to recognizing your inner truth. Most of us struggle with self-worth issues – deep down we think that we do not deserve to be happy. Feeling unworthy has become an epidemic. As be start to cleanse our mental and emotional pathways, we experience a different vision about ourselves and others.
- We came here to be happy. It is our inherit gift.
- Happiness is present within us at all times, we just need to discover the inner spaciousness that allows it to reveal itself. This can be done through meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, gathering with open-hearted people that radiate gentleness and compassion.
- The truer you are to yourself, the wider you heart will become. And your heart is the shrine of lightful happiness. Make a leap of faith into the unknown: leave behind whatever serves you no more, do what you came here to do and not what you have been told to do.
You will always find happiness as you practice simply being in your own presence. Learn how to listen to your body and soul. Do not force yourself into an ever-going race that vows there is happiness around the corner. Existence is curved and gentle – it has no sharp edges or corners. Slow down, breathe in and follow your breath inside your body. Linger in that space. You will be amazed as you find there the amount of blissful happiness waiting to cascade out of your being.