The following article is my version of sustaining happiness. It works for me.
I suggest that most of us have a common desire for the consistent presence of this emotion called “happiness” – a sense of well-being and lightness. According to Eckharte Tolle, from ‘A New Earth’ he claims the 3 healthy emotions in a day need to be: 1) Acceptance, 2) Joy, and 3) Enthusiasm; this may be his version of “happiness”.
In my younger years operating with introspection, melancholy and dissatisfaction, I believed I needed to find more happiness. I searched high and low for what that meant for me. Actually, what I really wanted was stillness of mind…I didn’t really know that was my happiness. Fortunately, I discovered a definition for my desired mindset in the form of a Buddhist Vipassana 10 day meditation retreat: “EQUANIMITY”: mental calmness and composure particularly in a stressful situation. In other words profound acceptance and non-reactivity and non-attachment.
Rudyard Kipling prescribed this state of non-attachment to things and situations in his Poem “If” – “To treat the impostors of tragedy and victory the same…” So, the minute I add meaning to anything from my unconscious filter of judgments from the past and beliefs, my happiness will be threatened.
Now I had found a name for my happiness. It would take a few more years to feel it mindfully daily and self practiced to choose it willingly. To be it.
Here are the keys to sustaining happiness or equanimity:
Know your Truth – all the answers are within you in regards to the type of person you want to be and the type of path you want to journey on. We all need a purpose and we need to create that purpose. There are ways of discovering and refining this creation with facilitated programs. Dream forward plan backwards.
Heal sabotaging patterns – You know your patterns. You also have the answers to heal within you. In the end, you can understand the pay off you have been getting by refusing to see all sabotage is from attachment and a sense of separateness. Seek help if necessary.
Foundation of self-esteem – provided by your integrity, values, beliefs, spirituality and environment. When you are on a journey you need a solid foundation or self-esteem, which is what you think is true about yourself.
Self-care rituals – Self-care is not selfish, the world needs you to be your best. The Dalai Lama calls it compassionate wisdom. Make sure you are enhancing that self-esteem through nurturing your inner peace with meditation, prayer of affirmation (evidence supporting actual neural pathway changes) and exercise.
Environment – Ensure every environment you find your self in is supporting who you are. It is important to have a “Bat Cave” a special place for re-booting and planning.
Clarity of Vision – imagine a picture that represents where you want to be, using all your senses eg. image, feeling, smell etc. The bottom line is if you are on the right path maintaining happiness is much easier.
Cause and Effect – There are always things happening in your life that you cannot control, you can always control how you respond. What is in your own best interest? What is the level of quality you want to respond with?
Focus – Each challenge is a part of the quest. One small step at the time. Patience. Give yourself what you need to nourish your Soul. Embrace failure as an important lesson your journey.
Giving Back – Find ways of giving back – You cannot have a better feeling than when you give back. It makes your heart feel full. You start attracting like-minded people and it gives you a feeling of connectedness. “Takers might eat better but givers sleep better.”
Courage – What controls you? Fear or love/courage? If you take the unknown to the known, you become more confident. When you start feeling courage, you automatically get more courage. If the fear is not there, your goal is probably not big enough.
Self Talk – You become what you think about yourself and importantly how you talk to yourself. Are you thinking about what you don’t want or what you want?
Authentic Self – Don’t laugh at that joke that is not funny! Honour yourself. People pleasing is a behavior that is manipulating to avoid conflict; a need to seem nice. Copying or wanting to be someone else is never going to work. Live your life and your purpose not someone else’s!
Spirituality – Nurture yours. There is the World of Divine Truth and then there is the World of Humanity (energy exists first in spirit and then it materializes).
Gratitude – be grateful for any challenge given to you and welcome any learning’s.
Whatever your version of happiness is, make your search for it part of your daily life. It’s not about doing it right or wrong, it is about keeping your eye on the ball. Don’t let yourself be distracted from this, everybody around you benefits. Make it non-negotiable.
Written by: David Elsey