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What is Happiness?

Group of Multi Racial People Jumping in the CityAs I looked for a good image to go with this post, I came across one with a sign post that says Welcome to Happiness – Enjoy your stay! Profound, indeed happiness as in the pleasure derived type happiness, is a choice you go to, and is a fleeting passing place to enjoy for a bit, and come back again to visit, lots :) However, true inner happiness is a different thing altogether.

Recently I watched a fantastic film called Project Happiness where a group of dysfunctional teenagers created a project and went on a quest to find answers to What is Happiness which took them to meet and interview various people, and finally His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself. When the question was put to the Dalai Lama “What is happiness?” His Holiness replied with “I don’t know” followed by his famous chuckle. I cracked up too! You see, that’s what’s so funny – the seriousness of this search. When you drop it all, there it is – happiness, try it!

One of the young men in the group had his light bulb moment and he realized then that the answer doesn’t come from the Dalai Lama. The answer is already within himself. Yay! I applauded for him :)

I learned first hand about happiness from not having known it in my past. I used to be one of the most miserable creatures on the planet. A real worry wart, I was one of those who worried about everyone and everything all the time. If there was nothing to worry about, I would worry about not having anything to worry about. There was a frown permanently etched on my forehead, even in my sleep I was deep in frown.

At those brief moments when I actually felt happy because all the stars aligned and everything marvelous was happening for me, I still couldn’t be happy for I would be unhappy that the happiness wouldn’t last. Aren’t you glad you never knew me in those days? It’s no wonder society gave me the honorary label of depression.

But I had a choice, or came to realize I had a choice – for to remain in that state was a choice. So I chose to search, just like those young souls in the Project Happiness film – to heal, let go, learn, recreate and reinvent myself, my outlook, my perceptions and my life. To have not known happiness has taught me all about happiness, that deep gratitude I now hold within my heart all the time.

You can find lots of books and articles written on how to be happy, or how to find happiness – with lists of helpful to do’s and don’ts which I will not repeat here. But I will just share a few simple words on happiness.

Happiness is acceptance, surrender and openness.

Acceptance – First of all, that it’s okay not to be happy at times. It’s okay that sometimes you feel downright sh*@, that sometimes life sucks, that your past is screwd up, that people are at times nasty, that this world is full of suffering and pain, that things go wrong, you make mistakes, others make mistakes, life hurts, great things end, people leave and you just want to cry and bawl your eyes out.

Surrender - goes hand-in-hand with acceptance. After you have that wisdom and courage to accept, it’s okay to let go of that thick armor and crust you’ve built around your fear and pain, let go of the resistance you’ve been holding onto all these years, and honor the bigger picture with reverence for the greater you. To realize that you really are just a minute little fleck of stardust in the real big scheme of things, so trust that big picture and let go. This vulnerability is healing and strength in itself.

Openness - Following acceptance and surrender, the only natural result is openness. For when you’ve accepted and surrendered to Life, your heart opens – then your life opens and your world opens! Connection, love and purpose start to reveal and flow with you.

Then you can’t help but step into pure inner happiness! And this is lasting happiness for it’s the all-encompassing state beyond the polarity of the emotion. The emotion of happiness that is the result of pleasure derived from external sources such as physical or material possessions, achievements and desires are fleeting because everything and everyone in our physical existence is impermanent, this is a fact.

Happiness is simply being fully in the present 

We hear this all the time. So easy yet so hard to do. But when you accept, surrender, let go and open up, this is simply your natural state – fully present in the moment. Monkey mind which dwells, chatters and is conditioned by the past has no place in the fully aligned present.

So drop it all, begin afresh fully here and now, and you can’t help but be happy. Not because there’s any particular reason to be happy (and there’s lots if you wish to count your blessings) but simply because you are fully here, and in that you are at peace, and peace translates into a kind of deep internal happiness.

Be Happiness itself.

- the Buddha

Would love to hear your thoughts and insights on happiness too, dear beautiful ones, so please share in the comments section below.

Have a wonderfully present week!







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