If 100 or 1000 people were polled and asked, “What do you want most out of life?” I'd, guess that the number one answer would be some version of, “I want to be happy.” Perfect answer because it's general; universal; we've all experienced it and want more.
Happy is such a happy word.
It implies a state of well-being; of peace; of light-heartedness with moments of pure joy. Who wouldn't want that! Who actually has that? How many of us stop to reflect on what happy really looks like? How many believe that consistent happiness is even possible? At best, happiness is fleeting… until something happens that we didn't want to happen or something didn't happen that we wanted to happen… and then we're sad, or frustrated, angry or worried. And there goes our happiness.
If someone were to ask me what my definition of the spiritual journey is, I'd answer, “The path to happiness.”It's custom made for each one of us and no matter how much our body changes, the path always fits. We can't get lost or mess it up no matter what the path looks like. Why? Because the happy we want to get to is with us every step of the way. Turns out we didn't have to get anywhere to have what we already have and can never lose. We just have to clear away the brush that's grown thick all around us to see that the path is right here, right now. It's a path we walk alone — yet connected to everyone and everything as one big Oneness.
When I truly got this — that I am what I am searching for — that's when everything really began to shift.
Things that used to bother me, rarely did anymore. If something happened that I didn't want to happen, it upset me for a day instead of a month, or two or more. People who push my buttons are seldom around me, and when they are, I can see past their persona, bless them and walk away… or not. I eat when my tummy rumbles or in celebration with others. I rarely overeat because I don't like the feeling of being full, and so my weight takes care of itself. If my body doesn't feel good, I rest and focus on re-connecting with the Spirit of me.
Sometimes I still forget that in truth, I am united with the Source of all things, whose will for me, and all of us, is happiness — perfect, consistent happiness. And so instead of shining the light that I am and bringing joy to myself and others, I get lost in the drama, the story, the pain, and for a while I suffer… until I remember the truth. And then it's as simple as thinking, “Oops… I forgot who I am!” to snap me out of my trance…most of the time.
I always know when I forget who I am because I'm not at peace.
I don't feel good and the world I see reflects that. It looks darker, even if the sun shines; it's less vibrant, less promising and rather dull. And so for a time I'm not happy, but that time, when the world I see is layered in shades of grey, gets shorter and shorter. Now I know that, “This too shall pass”. I relax more. I let myself be instead of beating myself up… unless I do. And if I do, eventually, when my tantrum is over, I end up feeling grateful. Something painful in me was allowed to come up where I could look at it and then, let it go. I can surrender it to Spirit, whose job it is to heal my wounds; to correct my misperceptions and replace them with miracles; to forgive me because S/He knows there's nothing to forgive; to comfort me until I can see the situation differently and recognize it as the gift that it is.
Coming out of the darkness is painful, as we all know, but when its purpose is healing, it becomes a cleansing kind of pain; a transformative kind of pain; a wonderful exertion that brings us through the process of becoming… like the butterfly breaking out of its cocoon; strong, beautiful and free to fly wherever it chooses to go.
A Course in Miracles says that happiness is assured for everyone, but cleansing of all our past ideas, concepts and erroneous beliefs, is needed first.
When I can see my pain as simply what's in the wash cycle, it takes on a noble purpose with a happy ending, and this is how I can see pain differently.
I know I'm healing because the intervals of suffering between happy are shorter and shorter.
And my reasons for being happy are getting further and further detached from being circumstance dependent. Most days I'm happy for no particular reason but simply because I know my true nature, and ironically, that creates, even more, reasons to be happy. Once we know that there is no separation between us and the Source of all things, we begin to get a whiff of the power that's within us…and then nothing is a problem without a solution. That's when I feel safe — carefree even. And this makes me happy.
If you're not happy because you have to lose 20 or 30 or 130 pounds, or you haven't found your soul mate, or you're unfulfilled at work, or you have a debilitating disease and something has to change before you can be happy… know that you've got it backwards. Those conditions are your story, unfolding according to yesterday's nightmares.
Wake up to who you really are, and watch those nightmares fade away as nightmares do in the light of day.
Giving our power for how we feel away to any outside condition makes us a victim of circumstances. When conditions are good, we're happy. When conditions are bad, we're not. Knowing how unpredictable life is, this seems like a difficult and insecure way to live, yet this is precisely how most of us do live…until we don't.
Life is a very fickle friend because we are.
We get glimpses of this connection, this at-oneness, and then we lose it and get lost once again in the details and dramas of our lives until the pain gets so bad it gets projected out onto something that will get our attention: 30 pounds to lose, a lost job; a scary diagnosis. And in that moment of vulnerability when we just know we can't go on in the same old, same old way, we ask for a better one. This is when healing can begin.
Light can begin to seep through the creative horror stories we've projected out onto the screen of our lives and this is when we can begin to see the stories as the illusions they are… and this is cause for celebration, not unhappiness. Now we can be grateful for the roadblocks that made us uncomfortable enough to get our attention and we can begin to clear them away so we can finally move past them. We're grateful because we're healthy enough to have let this sore spot, this problem, this sickness, this wound come out where we can see it instead of letting it fester and grow in the darkness of our unconscious, hidden from recognition.
Happiness is our birthright.
It is promised to us because it's the truth of our nature. It can't change, only be hidden from view. So if it takes 30 pounds or cancer as the decoy to get us to recognize our true nature…then we all owe our gratitude to all of the many and varied decoys that rise up and wave a flag of peace, forgiveness and healing and offer the promise of everyday happiness.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” —Denis Waitley