Happiness: Hard to Hold on to?
We seek happiness, yet often find it to be elusive. Like the spring mist, it is hard to hold on to. Why is that? Well, thats the purpose of this article, to answer some questions and clear up some misconceptions about happiness.
Did you ever search a room for your eyeglasses only to discover they were propped up on your forehead all the time? Searching for happiness is like looking for glasses while you are wearing them. No wonder you cant find happiness, because it is not outside, but INSIDE you.
Every infant lives in a natural state of happiness. They are in awe of the world and experience joy with each discovery and accomplishment. Unfortunately, however, as they grow, they are subjected to an endless barrage of criticism from those around them. As a result, their psyche becomes filled with negative thoughts that prevent them from experiencing happiness.
Happiness, then, doesnt depend on gaining possessions, but on RELEASING the negativity that clogs our mind. When this is done, we will be free to re-experience our natural state of happiness. It is not what we have, but what we are; not what we possess, but what we enjoy.
How do you get rid of the garbage in your mind? Take vitamins, vitamins for the mind. That is, read good books. The psychology and self-help sections of your nearest library and bookstore have many excellent titles to choose from.
Some people believe that they will be happy when they graduate; when they get a job; when they get promoted; when they retire, and so on. Happiness, to them, is always an elusive goal that is expected to arrive some time in the future. But happiness is not contingent on things or events; it is not a destination, but a state of being. It is not meant to be experienced in the future, but at this very moment, NOW. Our past is dead and our future is unborn. The only time we live is now. So, the place to be happy is here; the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so.
Additional Tips on Happiness
Dr. Victor Frankl wrote, We have to learn that it doesnt matter what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us. In a similar vein, Henry Miller had this to say, Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
We must learn to surrender to the flow of events, to accept what cannot be changed. Did someone cut you off on the highway? Someone always will, you know. So why get upset? Anger just festers in your system and, like an acid, eats away at your happiness.
Happiness to man is what purring is to a cat. It is the feeling of contentment. It is the joy of being alive. Fish cannot see the water they live in, but if we remain aware, we can experience the ocean of joy we live in. Its in the chirp of the cricket, the rustle of autumn leaves, the wind on our face, the fragrance of dew, the glitter of a dragonflys wings, the warmth of a spring day. It is also the taste of our favorite meal, the sound of laughter, smiling faces, triumphant music, and a fiery sunset. Be aware. Look, listen, taste, feel, and smell. There are lots to enjoy and be happy about. A wise man once said, I asked God for all things, so I might enjoy life, but God gave me life, so I might enjoy all things.
Like all forms of life, our purpose is to manifest our potential, to blossom, to express our creativity. And when we align our actions with this purpose, we will experience happiness. We find greatest joy, R.J. Baughan wrote, not in getting, but in expressing what we are. Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.