I often hear people talking about all the things that need to be in place in their lives to bring them happiness. A lot of these things are learnt perceptions based on our cultures and religions.
The most common are:
A nice house
A great career
The ability to go on holiday at least twice a year
Being able to buy whatever they want rather than whatever they need.
A dream car
Happiness is quantified by how many of those things you have. And if you are lacking, our culture offers you many ways to ‘better’ yourself to give you more chances of receiving them.
Many people are stuck in this constant loop …a never ending search for happiness…in all the wrong places. Happiness has become an intellectual pursuit when actually it is a feeling arising from within.
If happiness arises from within, how can any outside material object, other person or agency provide happiness for you? The short answer is IT CAN’T. Happiness is always an inside job that only YOU are capable of working on.
But wait…does it really take work to become happy? If we equate having to work on ourselves to happiness, aren’t we somehow missing a point? Spending endless hours having therapy, trying different meditation techniques, working out…all in the pursuit of that feeling, is exhausting!
What if you are happy, right now, but your brain is fooling yourself into thinking otherwise? And why would it do that anyway? Wouldn’t your brain WANT you to be happy? Wouldn’t life then be easier?
Because we live in our minds most of the time, our mind becomes the part of us we relate to and rely on for all our information regarding how we are feeling. But our mind is running on data received through experience. A lot of that experience comes from what we see…or perceive…around us. So, the lives of others become our internal compass.
‘We will never be happy in THAT job, because it doesn’t make enough money to live successfully.’
‘We can’t be happy in this house. It’s too small for all our things to fit, and still give us the space we need.’
‘I am looking for that ONE soul mate to complete me.’
‘I’ll be happy when I have made my partner and kids happy.’
Can you see yourself in any of these statements?
Of course, there are many spiritual folks out there who will tell you exactly what I said above…happiness is an inside job. You create it yourself. No one else can make you happy, but you. These are all very true statements, repeated over and over…but many of the people saying them are still intellectualising happiness. They are not EXPERIENCING happiness from within, they are chasing it down from without, again using the mind.
Meditation is a great practice to bring awareness back to the consciousness behind who you are. This consciousness is at peace with itself. It is neither happy, nor unhappy, it just is. When you find this awareness you realise how futile the outer search for that elusive happiness is. And how happy you are to know that you no longer have to search. You have it all, right now.
BUT…this can take years of constant practise to achieve, and people are busy being busy for business sake!
So how can you find the place inside where happiness lives? How can you bring that into your daily life without the money, the love of your life, or the other many props happiness is supposed to sit upon.
Just try this now.
Take a moment to just breathe, three breaths in an out. Don’t force them to be massively deep but be conscious of letting each one last a little longer than the last.
Look around you. Where you are reading this…are you in danger? Hint…if you were you wouldn’t be reading this!
So we have established you are not in danger in this now moment. Take a pen and paper, or open a notepad on your device, and sit and think about all the things that make you unhappy in your life. Make a list.
Now read your list aloud, taking a moment to stop on each line and reflect on why this thing makes you unhappy. For instance, if you wrote, I don’t have enough money, consider why you think you need more money to be happy. What is the underlying emotion attached to your apparent lack of money? Perhaps it’s security. Perhaps you think you will lose everything that is important to you if you don’t find more money. And perhaps you think, once you have more money you will then feel secure and happy. Write this down.
Do the same for each item on your list. Is there a recurring theme? There might be more than one. These recurring themes are blocking your connection to happiness. Not the things your brain has told you, you NEED to be happy!
So what next?
The recurring themes are stories that have never completed. A character in those stories isn’t happy…not you…you might actually be very happy indeed. You just can’t see it because this character has centre stage, and is living its story, trying to bring it to completion. But it can’t do that without you SEEING it, acknowledging it, and helping it to do that.
Now you might argue that I have just intellectualised the approach to finding happiness again. You would be correct! But I have found, that, to beat the mind at it’s own game, you have to play the game yourself. But you have the controls, you are the overarching supreme being of your inner world. You can look on from above and see the tricks that have been played on you, the places where suffering is occurring, unnecessarily. The stories that are running, that can be brought to completion. You can see the network of data that is a defragmented mess. You can run your own defrag program to bring it back to order, clarity….and THEN, the feeling of happiness, which never had anything to do with the mind at all, is free to rise up from deep within your inner core, and permeate all the spaces within you.
This is a far quicker method for most people than meditation, and while it doesn’t quite hit the same spot as being aware of the awareness that is you, it allows you to begin that journey by being more mindful of any new tricks the mind tries to perform. It puts you back in control, which paradoxically means that you are relaxed and happy enough to release yourself from control and just live moment to moment.
To learn more about your Characters and the stories they are stuck in visit
Featured Image by Rassouli – Beyond Reality.