About Happiness

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In my previous post I mentioned that I write to allow for the encounter of thoughts and ideas that, hopefully, inspire personal growth in others. I also write because I hear a lot of distorted stories out there. I very often listen to stories of what happiness is or is supposed to be. Stories under tags such as “nothing is perfect”, “you can’t have it all” or “get real and do what everyone else is doing”. Then there are those other more personal stories people share, with the hidden tags: “it’s pretty bad, but I’ll just pretend everything’s ok”, “why isn’t my life what I expected it to be, I’m trying so hard after all”, “I know this hasn’t been working out for years, but hope never dies” or “I know it’s pretty sick at times, but it’s the same for everyone, isn’t it?”

I’ve started reading this book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that deals with practical ways of achieving happiness. A book based on long-term and wide-spread research. I’m only thirty pages into book and it looks promising. I invite you to read it. What I’m going to share about happiness in the next lines is definitely nothing academically researched and it comes from purely subjective, yet authentic experiences. Though entirely personal and thus of no value to some, I am sharing these thoughts with love and confidence.

Though I’ve awaited to feel happy for many years, once I came closer to the desired state, I learnt that it’s nothing I expected it to be. I became aware that:

  1. There are straightforward techniques to achieve a state of happiness, yet we will not learn them in school or by being exposed to the misleading ideas imposed by society.
  2. You can fast-forward your way to happiness by embracing your greatest fear(s).
  3. Happiness can be embraced by cultivating awareness.
  4. It is in the grasp of every moment that happiness lies, regardless of exterior events.
  5. Happiness becomes ordinary and extraordinary at the same time, once you begin to experience it.
  6. Happiness is not a state of high. The high state is opposing the happiness state.
  7. Any experience can bring happiness as long as it’s observed with a detached mind.

Here it Goes 

  1. There are straightforward techniques to achieve a state of happiness, yet we will not learn them in school or by being exposed to the misleading ideas imposed by society.

I have to say that it makes me angry to see that while being educated in school we are taught so many things, yet we are not told how to put them in perspective so that we can achieve a desired state from each experience we create. Here’s a kid who can teach us a thing or two about happiness despite his young age.

There are lots of useful tools out there that can help us live life in a happily balanced state. Some of these tools can be accessed through NLP, mindfulness, spirituality and so on. They often talk about the same things, but coin them under different denominations. Don’t hesitate to go and research with an open, playful, yet objective mind.

I’m not a “give me some tools and I’ll make it happen” kind of person, but more like “tell me a story and I’ll see what I can do with it”. Yet, I started thinking in terms of practical steps to achieve balance on a daily basis after reading a few books by Neale Donald Walsch. You can have a look at this one and this one.

  1. You can fast-forward your way to happiness by embracing your greatest fear(s).

This is the method I trust most to be the surest way to help us improve the way we experience life. But it’s also the most terrifying. As we grow up and try to find our place in society, we are often misguided by its demands and get the vicious habit of deceiving ourselves and this inevitably leads us to living unauthentic lives. Lives that have a frame and a structure, lives that we were told we are supposed to be living, but lives that are based on a constant state of self-deceit and avoidance of our authentic truths.

We often begin living unauthentic lives by doing what we were told we were supposed to do instead of following our own intuition. Once we are far along that path, it becomes so hard to call things for what they are. It can even seem destructive to face the naked truth. Instead, we do what we’ve been taught to be the “healthy” way to go about it: we laugh it out, we don’t mention it, we reframe it in a deceitful way, we look for distractions or we chain it up in a dark little corner and hope it will never break free to come and haunt us.

Learning how to be true to ourselves about the circumstances of our lives is a complex discussion topic, but I believe that one way to start doing so is by calling things for what they are. “This situation I’ve got going here doesn’t work for me.” Don’t panic, don’t fret, don’t make rash decisions. Just label it objectively. You don’t even need to talk about it, but frame it truthfully and if you think it helps, write it down. If after a while you have a long list of what doesn’t work for you, well, it might begin to be a little more obvious what you need to do next.

  1. Happiness can be embraced by cultivating awareness.
  2. It is in the grasp of every moment that happiness lies, regardless of exterior events.

Looking at your life objectively and impartially will help you to cultivate awareness.  You may begin to see the causality of the most important events in your life and where you have contributed or not contributed to design your life the way it is. You may also grasp that other people in your life have helped you to co-create your reality, but they are not responsible for it. This may also lead you to see that life is composed of moments, that each one is equally important and that in each moment it is you who decides what will happen next, it’s not the people in your life, nor the circumstances that surround you.

  1. Happiness becomes ordinary and extraordinary at the same time, once you begin to experience it.

Funny thing that I want to share related to the “ordinary” aspect of the happy state. Once the quality of how I experienced events in my life had improved, I started seeing a bunch of synchronicities. I would talk about something and it would pop up in an unexpected place almost immediately. I would sing a random song with my favourite singer by my side… “Moon river, wider than a mile,” and as we spent some time enjoying a coffee, we would notice the shop nearby called Moon River. On another strolling and singing session… “I came across a fallen tree, / I felt the branches of it looking at me,” and in the midst of a bars and restaurants district, a few meters away on our path, lay a huge cut down tree. Pardon my trivial digression, I believe happiness to be intrinsically linked to randomness too. Grin!

Aside from the synchronicities, it also became easier to manifest what I wanted in my life. I would just call it forth and wait to receive it and undoubtedly, if it was the right thing, it would appear in magical ways. What I call “miracles” made their way into my awareness. I felt more connected to life, to people and to the Force that makes things happen.

But the main point is that although magical things seemed to be happening all around, the moment they did, they became ordinary, yet still maintaining their extraordinary quality. They were ordinary because they were real and extraordinary because they were so unlikely and unexpected.

  1. Happiness is not a state of high. The high state is opposing the happiness state.
  2. Any experience can bring happiness as long as it’s observed with a detached mind.

Points six and seven are very much interdependent. A detached mind will help you frame events in your life in a neutral way and it will provide a balanced view of both happy and sad events. The you that is becoming aware of how you feel – high, low, neutral – is the part of yourself that you need to get in touch with. I believe that by looking at events in our lives in awareness, with a detached mind, we can receive each and every one as a blessing.

I have beloved friends who come and tell me, “You know, I’m happy right now, I’m high and excited, and I don’t care what else is wrong in my life, I just feel happy, I don’t know why.” And then comes the desperate clinging to the high state, after which follows a very low moment. Once we associate ourselves with our transient emotions, we make everything in our life more complicated that it needs to be. It works against us.

Final Thoughts

To end with, I would like to share that I believe we can’t be happy generally if we don’t learn to be happy with ourselves. Happiness is a gift we give to ourselves. No one, absolutely no one, can make us happy before we become happy on our own.

But how do we know if we’re truly happy since sometimes things are ok, sometimes they are not, but hey, it’s not too bad overall. Well, I have some questions for you to reflect on:

  1. Do you feel safe on a daily basis?
  2. Are you aware that the good and the bad in your life is mostly your own doing?
  3. Are you able to thank Life with an open heart for all the events in your life, past and present?
  4. Are you working towards your goals actively knowing that nothing can get in your way?
  5. Do you often experience a feeling that things in your life are falling into place in unexpected ways?
  6. Can you embrace changes (of ANY kind) openly, no matter how they make you feel?
  7. Do you think you could still be happy if absolutely everything as you know it in your life would take a 180 degrees turn?

If the answer to the questions above is yes, I’m happy to know you’re happy. If the answers are still not clear, no worries, you are on the right track and I can feel that you are ever so close to receiving all the gifts of happiness you so rightfully deserve. Just keep going, trust and don’t make decisions out of fear.

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