What is Happiness?

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck

For many years I believed happiness is something I needed to achieve or bring about by fulfilling my goals/dreams, buying things, changing situations or circumstances.

I was chasing new relationships, new things, and new friends so I could become happier. The moment I had achieved what I believed I needed to be happy my happiness was gone in a very short while and left me disappointed. Again I thought that I needed to get another thing to be happy. Also the fact that I didn’t get some of the things I wanted to get in order to be happy made me feel dissatisfied and on some occasions even depressed.

The happiness I described above I call external (conditional) happiness. It is more instant, comes from things, possessions and other people like a new car, a house with a swimming pool, a new sexy boyfriend, a pay rise. All these things make us happy, but this type of happiness is temporary. It comes and goes. Also the moment the object or the person who brought this happiness to our life is gone the happiness is gone as well.

The happiness I want to introduce you to is internal (unconditional) happiness. This is more about how you live your life rather than what you achieve or possess. It is a state of being, an attitude which you can learn with practice. It comes from within and it is not dependent on anything external. It is permanent and it is always present.

For me, being happy is living my life with acceptance. It is about being ok with what comes and accepting things the way they are rather than wanting them to be different. It is all about owning our reactions and choosing our responses towards what life brings to us rather than resisting it.

Happiness is about being in the moment, appreciating what you have, where you are at and who you are in this very moment without wanting to be somewhere else, having something particular or chasing something new.

It is not an easy path. It goes against our conditioning and what we have been taught. It requires lots of discipline and awareness, but when you manage to become ok with something (especially something what is not comfortable) you achieve inner peace. Your life becomes easier to handle and you liberate yourself from the vicious circle of chasing the external happiness. It takes some retraining and reconditioning.

I think the crucial part of this approach to happiness is the ability to see the lessons and blessings in every given experience. It is about being able to appreciate even difficulties and pains for the value they are offering to us on the path of life. In every experience there is a lesson, and the more painful the experience usually the most important lesson is there for us.

Try to be present this week and say YES to things, no matter how uncomfortable they are. If there are here already wasting your energy to push them away makes no sense anyway, even though your ego will go nuts :-). Practice welcoming anything what comes your way with curiosity and the question: what can I learn from this situation? And once you have found your lessons, your life will be filled with ease and peace.

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