Finding Happiness
From STAGE 6: HAPPINESS

Finding happiness is something that interests an awful lot of people.

Putting the word “happiness” into Google keyword tool shows 5,000,000 “global monthly searches” for the word.

On Merriam-Webster.com – an online dictionary and thesaurus - the word happiness is currently in the top 10% of lookups.

Isn't happiness what we are all seeking or looking for?

So we are definitely interested in finding happiness and the online searches are probably just the tip of the ice berg reflecting lifelong searches for that elusive feeling.

In some ways the online searches reflect our notion that happiness is something to be found “out there somewhere”,   like the:

  • next relationship,
  • the next car,
  • the next vacation
  • that new job

these can all be goals  which we feel will contain our lasting happiness.

I remember years ago putting my life on hold in many ways to study for a professional qualification.

My life was one of postponed gratification.

I used the vision of finally getting the qualification as a lure to help me deal with what I found difficult.

I promised myself that I would be “happier” when the “pain” of putting life on hold was over. When I finally got there it was true,

  • worry turned to elation ,
  • this then settled to “happy”,
  • then “happy” settled to satisfaction
  • then… the next big thing.. .“I have to get a better job”.

That satisfaction then

  • turned to procrastination
  • this turned to worry
  • this turned to a new vision of “happy” which then was – “when I get that better job I’ll get a new house” – then I’ll really will have succeeded in finding happiness.

      

Looking Back

I now see this journey as being like crossing a wide desert.

In this "desert world" water equals happiness.

An oasis with water is where all that happiness lies – get to the next oasis and you will find it.

But you must move on and bear the pain of the scorching sun between the pools of happiness - oasis to oasis.

So what has a journey from oasis to oasis taught besides developing a “heroic” ability to put up with being somewhat less than happy for lots of the time on the journey?

It’s this - buy a canteen, fill it with water and use it to sustain you on your journey between oases.

Filling The Canteen

How to “fill the canteen” is obviously unique to each of us but a good starting point is to try and pay more attention to the seemingly little things that give you even a taste of finding happiness.

You may feel that these little things have little to do with your real life right now but they give you a sense of consolation even when the going gets tough.

You might recognise:

  • Looking at the stars as you walk from your car to the house after a really tough day – with another tough one coming tomorrow!
  • That piece of music that does more than distract you – you may not know its name but you feel something when you hear it.
  • That painting (by “what’s-his-name”?) that makes you feel calmer!
  • The laughter of your child from another room.

Oh! I can hear you say "that's nice but I'm far too  busy; get real".

The truth is that these “little things” and you do know  what they are, are part of your real life and always will be and you can make them the keys to happiness.

And the good news is that by paying more attention to them it is possible to allow them to grow and “fill your canteen”.

Key To Being Happy - How To Allow The Little Things Grow

You could be happy by paying more attention to the little things; but doing this is the hard bit.

Our minds are usually full of the everyday rush to;

achieve at work, look after our kids and try to deal with the all the noisy fears generated by our way of life.  

Mindfulness is a way of calming this often run-away mind chatter and allows a space where the important “little things” can be allowed to grow.

Mindfulness Is The Answer To Finding Happiness ---WOW

Mindfulness is about stopping – for a little time each day- and allowing things to be as they are in your life right now.

It’s about not making the phone call, not watching TV not running on that errand not worrying about tomorrow just for a little while each day. Be with yourself for a while and your world around you.

Stop for that short time, watch your breath and allow yourself to meditate on the “little things”;  perhaps that calm feeling you get from that piece of music or the joy you feel from your child’s laughter – really allow these feelings to be and they will grow.

“Mindfulness can also help us to appreciate feelings such as joy, peacefulness, and happiness which often go by fleetingly and unacknowledged”.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

So there is a way of carrying happiness around with us and not waiting for that big goal to be achieved to enjoy the feeling.

And the good news is that mindfulness does work – but you will have to work at it.

You will feel frustration, you may even feel like giving up but just keep showing up, keep starting again because the prize is amazing -- something 5,000,000 Google searchers are looking for every month.

 Finding Happiness  > Authentic Happiness

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