Happiness is your nature, it is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside- Sri Ramana Maharishi.
We do major heavy-lifting around happiness. We tie happiness with goals we would like to reach- the day I run that 10K I will be happy. When I get that promotion I will be happy. We also tie happiness to goals we should have reached- If only I had gotten my mother’s approval growing up, I would have been happier, if I had passed that exam/gotten that job I would have been better off today.
We tie happiness to yet another kind of goal, the goal of seeing others happy: How can I be happy if there are people in third world countries and slums of Dharavi that don’t even get a meal a day? How can I be happy if my family is struggling to make ends meet while I live lavishly? How can I be happy if my son has a mental illness? How can I be happy if my parents are getting older?
We also sometimes tie our happiness to yet another kind of goal, our triumph over other’s loss- If only I could make more money , be more famous, look more beautiful and be more smarter than her.
We tell ourselves a lot of stories. Stories about deserving. Stories about when to feel happy and when not to.
The idea that we can be happy only when we get somewhere, or reach someplace in our lives and in our relationships with others is a temporary kind of happiness. These are really just goalposts. When we get there we allow our inner happiness to shine, we give permission to ourselves to be happy. But because it is a temporary kind of happiness we need yet another goal to get to before we experience happiness again.
An intellectual discussion around happiness is for scholars and researchers.
What I know to be true is this, happiness is our nature. When we can embrace that in our present moment, the moment becomes magical sometimes, bearable at other times. We have done so much to move away from our natural state that we now need to walk back to that place, slowly and steady, with utter gentleness and compassion.
Practice is key to this path, to really trust this natural state .
We will slowly thaw at our old patters of believing that we deserve happiness only when we get something. We will open up to happiness that is present in the right now.
I invite you to journal about:
- What constraints have you placed on happiness? Or asked another way, when do you get happy?
- What do you feel in your body when you say you are happy?
- How do you feel mentally when you say you are happy?
- How do you behave when you are happy?
Happiness is our nature. The kind of happiness that we feel when we move from goal after goal is (an important) but temporary one. It does however, give us a clue into our natural state because in these moments we truly allow ourselves to be happy.
Write about it and share with us your insights in the comments below. You can know more about our mindfulness programs here