Almost everything we do and pursue is motivated by the search for happiness. Yet we do not know what exactly happiness is or how to experience it. Consequently, it’s been confused with many feelings clouded by false promises and illusions. Happiness is a state of being. But it’s hard to pin down an accurate description of happiness as it is a state that you ‘feel’ and the words that we use for different feelings mean different things to different people. If you are authentically happy, you will likely come up with three predominant feelings - contentment, bliss and joy.
Authentic CONTENTMENT occurs when, without any attachment, you are able to accept everyone as they are and everything as it is, at all times in all places, at all moments! Authentic contentment occurs naturally when nothing and no one can disturb you; when you no longer ‘desire’ anything or anyone to ‘make you’...happy!
Authentic happiness includes a BLISS that arises naturally when we are internally free. And we become internally free when we have no attachment, no fear of losing. Watch and listen to the young starlings on a warm summer day as they learn to fly. They are ‘delighting’ in their freedom to fly because they are not attached to fear of falling down while flying. It’s a great metaphor for spirit, for our self.
Authentic happiness includes a JOY that arises naturally from deep within when you are engaged in the process of bringing your true peaceful and loving nature, your true state, into the world through your thoughts, words and actions. These are the primary forms that we all create when we realize that we ourselves are not a ‘physical form’ but the energy of consciousness itself.
In real life, our consciousness gets polluted with many toxins, we call beliefs. And we must watch out for them:
Toxic Belief No 1 - Acquisition makes me happy! We believe that if we acquire certain objects, certain ‘partners’, then we will find happiness. In reality, however, acquisition brings only temporary happiness but pollutes our consciousness by creating an attachment.
Toxic Belief No. 2 - Achievement makes me happy. This is the belief that has us continuously setting goals for using our time and energy in striving and struggling towards their achievement that delays our happiness until the goal is achieved.
Toxic Belief No 3 - Excitement equals happiness. Parents pass on the illusion that excitement is happiness when they take us to our first circus or match. They become excited and call it happiness so we believe them. Excitement is what happens when the water boils. The molecules are excited, they are agitated. But happiness is not agitation. Happiness is a state of contentment with a natural flow of joy from our heart into the world.
Toxic Belief No 4 - Happiness is dependent on others. We all know the moment when we have said, “I was so happy when you said that! You made me so happy.” Does someone else make you happy? It seems that way. We forget that we are ourselves responsible for our own state of happiness. When we make our feelings dependent on what other people, it’s probably one of the hardest toxins to eliminate from our consciousness.
Toxic Belief No 5 - Happiness is the result of attachment. “That’s mine; this is my house; my car; my money; my partner”. These are moments when we are really saying we need to be attached to things to be happy. But there will be frequent moments of anxiety, tension, worry and even panic as we ‘fear’ losing what we are attached to.
Toxic Belief No 6 - Happiness is relief from pain or suffering. Perhaps the most common confusion around happiness is when pain is confused with suffering. However pain relief can never be authentic happiness. Authentic happiness is only possible when we are able to accept the physical pain and differentiate it from suffering. Pain is physical but suffering is mental and emotional which is always entirely our own creation.
Toxic Belief No 7 - Happiness is only possible when there is success. Brilliantly conditioned, we believe that success equals winning. That include winning our survival! So we live in fear of losing, fear of not surviving, which creates many unhappy moments. Then we start to compare our successfulness against others successes, inducing more unhappy moments!Trying to be more successful today than yesterday, more successful than others, is what turns life into an ultra-serious journey, a joyless expedition, a discontented sojourn.
There are probably many more toxic beliefs contaminating our consciousness and sabotaging our natural state of contentment, our original bliss and our pure joyfulness,. But recognizing them, and realizing how they are inducing feelings of discontent, joylessness and frequent moments of grumpiness is the first step in the purification of our consciousness. The spiritual process of the purification of our consciousness includes the elimination of the toxins that have been absorbed along the way.
Adapted from Mike George’s article, “Have YOU Restored Authentic Happiness to Your Life?”© 2013