Mind & Spirit: NST Life & Times: 08/02/2011
ARE you happy? Everybody wants to be happy but how many of us are truly happy?Why is happiness so elusive to us when it is a everyone’s desire to be happy?
It is such a paradox. Happiness is a natural occurring feeling, yet we relate to happiness as something special and rare. Our conditioning has taught us to cloud our experience of happiness with fearful beliefs, scepticism and endless misperceptions.
Some of us are afraid to show our happiness for fear of being thought of as arrogant, selfish or juvenile.
We fear that too much happiness will defile our professional status or ruin our chance of being promoted at work. We think that being overly happy will upset others, draw envy or invite rejection.
What is happiness? Real happiness is overcoming our negativity and beginning to count our blessings so we can experience the mysterious beauty of life. It is about learning to surrender, release the need to control and allow our lives to unfold in its own unique and organic way. It is about becoming fully human!
Look at the society we have collectively created. Most of us are too focused on our promising futures to be happy now.
Our busy schedules keep us in the constant pursuit of goals, we think have the potential to fulfil our insatiable thirst for success. We become overly engrossed in the chase for happiness outside of ourselves and we forget to let ourselves be happy now.
The ego’s conditioned thought is that something is missing and we look for the missing piece of the puzzle to bring us salvation. Nothing in the world can make us happy. Happiness is a choice that only we can make. Hugh Downs once wrote: “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”
The potential for happiness has been with us all along. It is the very nature of our unconditioned Self. As quoted in A Course of Miracles: “It is hard to understand what ’The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word ’within’ is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven is you.”
When you are truly happy, you are radiant and you function fully. Most importantly, you feel loving for the essence of happiness is love. You are genuinely kind, generous, open, warm and friendly. There is no fear, no doubt and no anxiety where there’s true happiness. You are uninhibited and not restrained by dogma or beliefs. You are fully present in the moment and not lost in the past or the future.
Here are three simple steps you can take to awaken to the happiness that is our birthright:
1. Celebrating and gratitude
We experience joy when we celebrate and give thanks. When we help others, we feel goodness and grace all around us. When we dance in life with gratitude and peace, our hearts open and we feel life’s energy flowing through our body. The human spirit was meant to dance, sing and o celebrate life. We crave this form of expression and cannot do without it.
Take time each week to gather with like-minded people to celebrate the good in life and give thanks for life’s blessings. These weekly rituals help to uplift our consciousness. Spend an evening chanting, drumming, praying, singing or dancing to nourish your heart.
2. Rise above drama
Shakespeare told us that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”. Life is 95 per cent drama and five per cent essence so we live primarily in the drama. We take things seriously and spend our time reacting unconsciously to the events in our lives.
If we step off the stage for a moment and watch the drama unfold, we would realise how absurd we can be sometimes. We must learn to focus on what is really important and let the rest slide off our shoulders. We must find ways to find clarity and peace in our lives. Finding a daily routine to get centred and process our feelings is an essential aspect of caring for ourselves.
Meditation, walks in nature, physical exercise, keeping a journal and deep breathing exercises are ways to connect to our essence daily.
3. Keep it simple
Our job in life is to show up and to do what we can today. Don’t set huge, unrealistic goals that you can’t achieve.
Try to stay out of your head where you are building empires and conquering worlds. Return into your heart and just put one foot in front of the other.
When you go up into you head and start getting anxious, take a deep breath and tell yourself “it is all right that I don’t know how this is all going to turn out because I know that I am doing the best I can in this moment”. Then give yourself a break and be gentle on yourself. Continue taking deep breaths until you begin to relax.
May joy light up your heart and dance in your eyes! May it spread like wildfire to everyone who share your life!