What does happiness mean to you? What does it look like? If you were to try and describe happiness or explain to someone what it feels like, what would you say?
It is so easy to lose touch with what true happiness really is, and to think that it is an experience caused by things in the outside world. In a world where there is so much external stimulation and so many messages telling us what it is we need to be/do/have in order to be happy, it is easy to become confused.
While I am well aware of the power of creating happiness from the inside out, lately I too have fallen prey to the 'when i have' way of thinking. This type of thinking prevents us from being happy now as we convince ourselves we will only be truly happy 'when I have' that next thing/event/circumstance/person/opportunity etc.
So on this sunny Sunday morning in Sydney I have felt the need to explore the concept of happiness a little. Out of nowhere I felt drawn to pick a book off my bookshelf that I have not read for years. I first came across this book in 2005, and I have suddenly had an urge to re-read it. It is called Absolute Happiness and it is by Micheal Domeyko Rowland.
In this book he explores happiness as being a feeling. An internal feeling. Sure, outside circumstances can trigger this feeling, but the actual root cause of happiness is inside of us. It is an internal experience that we actually have the ability to control based on our thinking.
How would you explain what happiness feels like? If happiness really starts inside of us, why do we need to wait until something changes outside of us for us to feel it. Why not bypass all the external stuff and go straight to the source. I encourage you to take some time to think about what happiness feels like to you. I did this exercise this morning, and this is what came to me.
What Happiness Feels Like To Me;
- Ease, flow and effortlessness
- Appreciation of what I see around me
- A warm bubbling sensation inside
- An open heart
- Joyful thoughts
- Pleasurable sensations
- A knowing that all is well and perfect, just as it is
- One-ness and connection with others
- Deep breathing
- Inner bliss
- Seeing beauty in everything
- Centredness and Presentness
Completing this list, made me realise, that defining happiness actually makes it alot easier to experience. I realised that I can actually create that feeling of happiness anywhere or while I am doing anything. I can bring the above qualities in to my work environment, in to my driving experience and in to my home life. I can work with my mind to cultivate these thoughts and feelings of happiness at any time.
The Cause Of Un-Happiness
I also realised that the only thing that causes un-happiness is when I am thinking thoughts that are in opposition to the things in this list. It is when I choose to engage negative thoughts and attach to negative emotions.
If happiness feels like contentment, then I will feel unhappy when I am thinking thoughts about how discontent I am with certain circumstances in my life. Or, if happiness feels like a one-ness and connection with others, I will feel unhappy when I criticising, competing or fighting with someone else. Furthermore, if happiness feels like peace, flow, softness and ease, I will experience unhappiness when I am stressed, being controlling, forceful or anxious about things.
Happiness Is A Choice
The cause of happiness and un-happiness is inside of us. It is an internal experience that we can control. Happiness is a choice. It is a choice to interpret the world in a certain way. It is a choice to engage in certain emotions. It is a choice to perceive an event in a particular light. We have the choice.
True power lies in understanding that the outer world does not need to have any effect on you, unless you allow it to. Anything can happen around you, and it is up to you to decide if you will allow it to alter your inner state of happiness.
Truly happy people are not manipulated by external circumstances. They know where the source of their happiness lies, and they know their real work is not to change the outer world to make them happy, but rather to control their inner state no matter what the outer world bring them.