I have been thinking about the subject of happiness quite a bit lately, and decided to write down a few thoughts about it. Everyone has their own notion of what it means to be happy, and happiness is the objective of most, if not all.
Regardless how we define happiness for ourselves, it is what we “feel” that counts. We can accumulate an enormous amount of money and not feel good. You have only to observe many of the prominent people in the world who seem to have it all, only to have very chaotic lives. Let’s explore this subject a bit more.
How Do We Actually Know When We Are Happy?
Let’s begin this discussion about this most seemingly elusive state with a quote from one of my favorite folks of all time.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
— Mahatma Gandhi —
Now this should get us started properly down the road to exploring this subject. If nothing else, when we are in alignment with how we act and respond on a moment-to-moment basis, we are displaying the traits of an authentic person. This type of honesty and genuineness not only reflects in all that we say and do, but we give off a type of aura which attracts people to us effortlessly.
This is actually our natural state. The one thing of which to be aware is that this has nothing at all to do with what we have, how we look, or what others think about us. In other words, it is an internal state which is reflected in our outside world. Our outside world does not determine how we feel, but we determine how we feel.
When we recognize and employ our inner power in this way, we feel good, which then naturally allows us to share that goodness with others. In other words, we are happy and we know that we are. We are not trying to make ourselves happy by adding stuff to us. Instead, we have let go of some of the needless clutter in our lives so that our natural joy and happiness is able to shine through. At this point there is no doubt that we are happy, as we cannot deny our true feelings.
Let’s Dig a Little Deeper
I would like to get into this a bit more as far as exploring how we can best attain this state, and just as importantly, maintain it. In order to start this discussion off I would like to drop another quote from a well-known thinker from the past. More specifically he was a stoic philosopher.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
What he is talking about here is much easier said than done for one main reason, and that is the stubbornness of our habitual thought patterns. It is easier to go with the flow of what we are used to thinking and doing, than spend the time to pause and reflect, which leads to genuine choice. We can choose to change our thoughts.
The thing is that we are mentally lazy. Obviously, there are different degrees of mental laziness, but they all add up to the same thing, which is being stuck in life and not seeing any way out. We may go to seminars and read tons of books but we still remain stuck within the quicksand of our limiting beliefs, most of which we are not even aware. When we are experiencing this type of mental and emotional imprisonment, there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.
As our friend Marcus so generously has pointed out to us, life does “depend on the quality of our thoughts”, and there is no way to get around this regardless of how much we resist.
It’s Time to Get Brutally Honest with Ourselves
Wakey, Wakey…It’s time to wake up and take off the blinders. The days of pretending and blaming others and outside circumstances for our results in life are over. Just this one decision to be brutally honest with ourselves will set up on a course, which will most definitely be rocky and painful at times, but will absolutely guarantee our success in all areas of our lives, and more importantly, our happiness.
Without assessing our strengths and weaknesses in a truthful way, we will continue running around in circles with only bursts of progress here and there, only to slip right back when we thought we were getting somewhere.
As we dig below the surface of our made-up selves, we will discover many things of which we may not be proud or like very much, but we will also recognize strengths of character which previously of which we were either unaware or for which we did not give ourselves sufficient credit.
Spending some time alone either at home or outdoors in nature will allow us the opportunity to relax into this exploration of ourselves gently, and actually welcome what we discover. We will then position ourselves to consciously choose what is best for ourselves based on truth and not illusion.
When we stop lying to ourselves, we will break the inertia and create a type of momentum in our lives which will never stop or even slow down. This is the way to be happy and joyful in the present moment.
Keeping Things Simple
This is not a complicated process. The simpler the better. But it does take some courage to begin. Find the Next Step whatever it is. What are we willing to do in order to move forward?
Even if it is just writing out a To Do List, regardless of when you decide to begin, is enough. This one simple step will lead you to the next step. It is the intention that counts and which will break the inertia so that we can begin creating some momentum in our desired direction. Here a few thoughts from the founder of Success Magazine.
“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the present moment. And that is a good thing since that is the only place of choice where we decide our fate. One “simple” step toward our intended objective is an integral part of the journey. Without that one small step, we cannot proceed, because the process is incomplete.
If we were to view our entire completed journey from above, so that we can see what it would take to get there, it would be very apparent that all those small steps add up to get us to where we desire to go resulting in the achievement of our goals. Do not every underestimate the Power that you possess right this very moment.
Keeping things simple on a daily basis allows us to celebrate our small victories along the way. By doing this, we give ourselves reasons to be happy now. Happiness then becomes our decision.
One more thing about keeping things simple is that we can find so much joy in ordinary occurrences when we are aware and grateful for all we currently possess. Family, friends, our jobs, our businesses, our possessions, and all the other opportunities which come our way on a regular basis are to be appreciated and enjoyed.
This whole idea of simplicity was expressed magnificently by a remarkable woman who walked the highways of North America for nearly thirty years without a penny in her pockets to spread the word for world peace.
“Some people seem to think that my life dedicated to simplicity and service is austere and joyless, but they do not know the freedom of simplicity, I am thankful to God every moment of my life for the great riches that have been showered upon me. My life is full and good but never overcrowded. If life is overcrowded then you are doing more than is required for you to do.”
— Peace Pilgrim — “Her Life and Work In Her Own Words, page 51
The Ultimate in Happiness
Once we choose to be happy, and have ingrained the “Happiness Habit”, the only thing left to do is share it. The ultimate gift we can give someone is our happiness, which is actually an extension of love.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
— Buddha —
Happiness is a constant state and when we are not experiencing it there is resistance to what is going on in this present moment. Underlying this resistance is fear. We are denying what is naturally there by our lack of awareness. Our focus is directed to buying into the false images and ideas which we think are true. We are at effect rather than cause. We think what is happening “out there” is determining what we are experiencing within.
This upside down approach is not uncommon based on all the chaos and uncertainty which is prevalent in the world. It is up to us to take charge of our thoughts, recognize our power to create, and then simply focus on what we most desire. By keeping our focus on what we most desire, we will discover that what we want most, Happiness, has always been there and always will be.
We are then able to fulfill our function in life which is to share this happiness with others, as well as provide a little forgiveness along the way. When we do that it will become quite apparent that there wasn’t anything to forgive in the first place as we are seeing with a pair of “New Eyes”.
When our vision clears, we have opened the door to a whole new world which was always there. The cloud cover has receded and the sun shines brightly. At this point we are inspired and led by an “inner Guide” which is the part of us which never doubted a thing.
We discover that our happiness only increases by being shared, as we assist in awakening others to Who They Really Are. It becomes quickly apparent that the more we give, the more we have. Scarcity does not exist within this type of framework and mindset. There is nothing there to attract it.
The ways to be happy in life are not that difficult to understand. It is a childlike approach to life where we are open to new and wonderful experiences while seeing the best in others. We anticipate things working out just fine, and when we have some problem or challenge arise, we just dig in and deal with it.
There is no mystery at all to this type of simplicity. We have eliminated many of the false idols which we have worshiped on the altar of the “this is the way things are, have to be, and cannot change”. We have allowed our awareness to clear as we observe many of our former limiting thoughts, ideas, and beliefs retreat to the junkyard from which they originated. The Junkyard of Fear is no longer our friend and companion.
We have moved beyond all of this by rediscovering what was always there. Our happiness was merely waiting for our recognition and acceptance. Now that we have formed the “Happiness Habit”, we gladly share it with others because happiness is something that cannot be contained. Its constant state inspires us to Be the person we were always meant to Be, and to Be a Beacon of Light for other to see and emulate.
Peace and Love within the Light,
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