How to BE Happy
Being authentically happy is not quite as straight forward as it may appear. There are three essential steps.
Step One is to ‘see’ and dispel the many myths and illusions about happiness. (The Mythology of Happiness)
Step Two is to explore the deeper meaning of happiness in order to induce and affirm three realizations.
Realisation One - That happiness is not something that comes from outside our self. Authentic happiness is not a dependency on anyone, anything or any place. Happiness is an inside job!
Realisation Two - That happiness is not excitement. Most of us learn to believe that our happiness is stimulated and so we search for the stimulation of our own favourite brand of happiness. If we have been doing this for a long time it’s not easy to break free of this habit as there is likely to be some form of addiction to something, someone or somewhere.
Realisation Three - That happiness is not an occasional high in contrast to an occasional low. Authentic happiness is not an up and down affair. It is a stable and consistent state which is only possible when the three forms of authentic happiness – contentment, joy and bliss - are fully understood.
And that of course is Step Three.
Authentic Happiness is Undisturbable CONTENTMENT
Contentment is only possible when we re-awaken the awareness that everything near and far in the world around us is exactly the way it is meant to be in this moment now, and that there is only this moment now.
Not so easy when we realize we have spent our entire life avoiding being fully present in this moment now. Avoiding the present is the ego’s way of killing our contentment by attempting to escape into the future or wallowing in the past.
Contentment is only possible when you are able to accept everyone as they are, at every moment, in every situation. That means an end to judging or resisting others, an end to complaining and blaming, an end to trying to change others and world events. Not so easy after a lifetime of armchair judgment, resistance and the rejecting of others.
That doesn’t mean just sitting back and doing nothing. It means the re-awakening and the acceptance of self-responsibility and seeing how self-responsibility is inextricably linked to world responsibility. In other words, it is only when we cease to project what we think and feel onto others and create actions aligned with what is true within our self that we can make the most effective contribution to the world.
And when others are seen to be NOT acting in alignment with what is true in them, our response is not one of judgment and condemnation (which kills our contentment), but one of compassion and understanding (which maintains our contentment).
Authentic Happiness as Unbridled JOY
Joy is only possible when our life energy (the self) flows out into the world, free of the desire for any part of the world to flow towards us. As creative beings our deepest joy is when we are being creative and when our creativity is aligned with the truth of ‘who’ we are (identity) and ‘what’ we are (nature). This is not so much to do with the limited creativity of painting and poetry etc., but the creation of our life. The purpose of life is not to ‘get a life’ but to create our life.
That means realizing that we are primarily designed to give of our self wholeheartedly at every moment. Not so easy when we realize how halfheartedly we may have ‘learned’ to live our life. Half-heartedness happens when we want something for our self. Half of your heart (which is you) is focused on bringing something, or someone to you, so only half is going out as giving. And half of that often carries a ‘condition’ with it. This creates an inner tension that becomes the ‘killjoy’ of most lives.
In truth, life (the self) is not designed to want anything. Life needs nothing, you need nothing. Your body needs food, shelter and clothing, but ‘you’ need nothing. If there is a need, it is to see and realize the ‘opportunity of living’ which is to give of our self, to give well, to give accurately and generously. That means ‘creating’ the most appropriate response to meet the needs of people and the world around you. When we do then there is the presence of authentic joy. A joyfulness that comes from inside out.
Some may say that to give give give is to be blind to those who would take advantage of our generosity and that it will make you more like a joyous fool than joy full. But they are likely to be still living from a belief system that says life ‘owes’ them.
One of the signs of the presence of joy is when the awareness of time passing recedes into the background. You stop looking at the clock. True joy can only be known beyond the consciousness of time, like the innocent universe of a child at play, before it learns that it has to be home in time for dinner… or else! Then it runs home not out of joy but out of fear.
Question: What or who do you ‘use’ to disturb your contentment and why?
Reflection: Assuming you didn’t use these situations/people to disturb your self what would you think, feel and do differently?
Action: Practice both the questions above at the end of every day this week.
C Mike George 2010
Edited extract from The 7 Myths of LOVE…Actually!