“Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess.” That’s the opening line from Ken Dodd’s song ‘Happiness’. And don’t you think that it really is true…that happiness is the greatest or at least one of the greatest gifts we can possess. But happiness is not something that you can really ‘get’ or even ‘create’ in the normal sense. It is something that you emerge from inside your self. You have it already and in the words of Ken Dodd, you have to ‘tickle happiness out’ you can’t put it in. Just by appreciating that happiness is in fact the original nature of my soul means that experiencing happiness suddenly becomes an awful lot easier than it might have been before.
Here are some ideas on how to emerge and experience a life of happiness based on my own journey. It’s not that I never become unhappy, but when any form of unhappiness comes there’s an understanding what’s caused it and how to remove that cause.
Before I sleep at night I think of 5 things to appreciate no matter how small or insignificant they may be. I also think of at least one thing I’ve learned that day and one thing of ‘magic’ that I’ve experienced. By the time I finish this little routine, that really only takes a few minuets, then I’m feeling really good and happy. It’s a great way to go to sleep as the mind set you have on sleeping affects the sleep and the mind set in the morning
On awakening It’s also good to start by appreciating whatever you can, no matter what. The longer and more often you get into a state of appreciation you cannot help but to feel happiness and indeed peace and comfort inside.
Every time I have completed something it brings a feeling of happiness and personal empowerment. Every time I gave up on something or just get slack in my efforts it brought unhappiness and dis-empowerment. That is why I now do my best to get really clear and ask myself by looking myself in the face: Do I really want to do this thing? Will I see it through to the end? Will I push though obstacles when they come? That is do I want the outcome enough? Asking these questions has saved me a lot of heart ache and headache by not starting ideas that in my heart I know I’ll give up on when the going gets tough. This then frees up time and energy to focus on the things that you really want. As you become increasingly consistent you find that a well of peace and deep trust in yourself grows. Self respect too.
This really follows on from being consistent; it’s a natural result. However, even if you don’t think that you have had much success in your life, take a look with a new vision; a vision to see success. There are so many things that you have had success with. They may be small and perhaps inconsequential, but they are successes. Things like making a nice meal or a cake, painting a door, tidying a room, etc. There are so many things. The wonder is that as you start to ‘see’ success in your life, it emerges a feeling of success that then helps to manifest further success. All this brings forth a deep feeling of happiness with it
Although being poor is sold to us as though it were a virtue, in fact I don’t know of much happiness when you have to constantly struggle to make ends meet, when you’re holding down two jobs, when you have no free time for family or leisure as there are too many bills to pay, etc. Now, by rich I don’t mean ‘money grabbing’ but being abundant. Enough money to live as you want and to do what you want. But also abundant in every aspect: in relationships, health, environment, etc. Of course we are dealt a certain ‘hand’ from the pack of cards of life, but how we use that hand is up to us. Being aware of what is there rather than what isn’t there brings a natural feeling of happiness.
‘Love is like oxygen. Not enough and you’re gonna die’, as the song goes. Love, like happiness is an inside thing. But love can be experienced by giving it; by being loving. How to do that? By finding at least a little love inside the self and nurturing that loving feeling and sharing that with others. Then as I love, I get the reciprocation in the form of loving feelings from others to me and also love for the self. This growth or expansion of love within leads to a lot of happiness. Conversely without love there’s loneliness and no happiness.
The one who gives is happiest. It really does feel better when giving, doesn’t it? The more we give, especially the non-physical things such as love, good wishes, appreciation, just a smile, so the more happiness grows within. The return from others is going to happen anyway although when it comes will have to be seen. But what’s important is that the self feels abundant, full, empowered and vibrant just by giving from the heart. This is true wealth and as such is real happiness.
Purpose and Meaning in Life
Without a purpose we are like ships with no rudder, aimlessly wandering on the ocean of life. Now, purpose does not need to be something huge or great such as Madam Teresa’s or Gandhi’s but in our own way we need a purpose that we can align with. Your purpose may be to be a great house keeper, a really good teacher, a good worker, a great wife/husband. It may be to find spiritual truth and share it with others. You alone are the judge of your purpose. With a purpose you are able to put all your resources in one direction, there is power and meaning behind your words and deeds, you move towards a state of congruity. All this manifests as inner happiness that is naturally revealed in your life. You feel good and look good. You know what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no to.
There are several kinds of happiness but in essence there are two. One is physical based happiness and the other is spiritual based happiness Physical based happiness is still dependent on the stability of people, things, events, health, life condition etc, whereas spiritual happiness is the ‘eternal’ state of the soul. It’s found by considering that you are a spiritual being within the body who is playing a role in the physical world. It’s what you are and needs no support or endorsement. But it does need discovering and focussing upon in order to emerge from deep within. Once found and emerged though, that happiness is powerful and constant.
There is a saying that the mother of peace and happiness is purity. First is purity, then peace and then happiness. Purity is to be true to yourself, to understand and know yourself on a spirituality level, to focus your intellect in meditation to further deepen that purity, As you go deep, beyond the effect of superficial thoughts and even feelings, your soul starts to become calm and peaceful. Your thoughts are less as your focus is inside not outside. This yoga heals and cleans the souls and spiritual honesty and cleanliness returns. You feel powerful and inspired. This continues as a feeling of great happiness. ‘I’ve found what I’ve been looking for’; this sound starts to emerge from within and so naturally you are very happy about it.
There’s a saying that ‘the one who’s honest dances’. It means that when we are honest in our dealings and with our selves there is lightness and happiness. You don’t have to remember what you said to others as you know it would be truth. You can look yourself and others in the eyes and keep your head up. There’s so much dignity and happiness in being honest. It’s not just physical honesty such as not lying or cheating, but also to look deep inside and remove the traces of doubt, insecurity, laziness, forcefulness, etc from within. The more honest I am the deeper and clearer I can see inside myself. This offers great opportunities for transformation. How could there not be happiness when this happens.
Living in the past destroys happiness. It also removes you from your power and destroys your discernment power. It becomes a habit that if you allow it, keeps on pulling on your mind till you can’t help yourself but to think of all the old things: regrets, repentance, re-designing what happened, what if’s etc. One needs to understand the damage caused by falling into the past and learn how to keep the mind and intellect under control. This can be done by feeding the mind good positive thoughts, thoughts of attainment and happiness. A palliative care nurse once wrote that after caring for so many dying people she noticed that there were patterns of regrets and in men the biggest regret was about working so hard and not spending much time with family and leisure activities. It’s a great encouragement to live in the present!
This is by no means the complete list of how to create and maintain happiness, but it’s the main points that I’ve been thinking about recently. Hope you enjoyed this article; I certainly loved writing it. Very best wishes to you..