Part One – Being Happy
To look at JOY, first I will look at “What is Happiness?”
Some descriptions are below. If you want to know what Happiness is not, you can always go to a page of my “Peace in Practice” website, where I posted a Table showing categories of Feelings, which show happiness feelings (as below) AND the not so happy feelings see – http://www.peaceinpractice.iinet.net.au/feelings.html
So, right now if you are feeling the C’s – calm, confident and cheerful, then you are happy!
Even a wise person (can’t remember who) once stated that HAPPY does not necessarily mean feeling-
- On top of the World
- Deliriously happy
- Couldn’t be happier
- [ add your own term for extreme happiness here ]
I got to thinking, no really what is Happiness? Wouldn’t I know it if I was happy? What if lurking behind the mild happiness of calmness, confidence and cheerfulness, there’s a tinge or a hue of sadness? Surely that is not being Happy?
This of course led to other questions of myself, like “Why is there a sadness?” and “What are you going to do about this hue?” Yes, YOU, Her Majesty Me said to herself.
I answered myself “Life is full of ups and downs, a lot can happen in a minute, feelings range from worry or anxiousness or sadness to feeling elated, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
It’s normal or healthy as a human being to be in touch with one’s feelings, and perhaps the key for me is not to expect elation or perfect happiness in any moment!
I am very analytical. Attribute this to my having a stellium (4) Planets in Virgo, and anyone who knows a little about the Virgo “types” in Western Astrology, will be aware that Virgos like information and can like to be organised, planned and detailed. I could add “fussy, too ordered, have high expectations, like perfection …. “ but I have been down those paths and consider that with age, I have learned that other path-ways are better.
So, more about what Happiness is, for me.
Happiness is satisfaction in the face of negativity and push.
Happiness is being grateful for what I have got.
Happiness is accepting my good fortunes.
Happiness is accepting my challenges.
Happiness is not overly worrying about the future, present or past.
Happiness is knowing or feeling that I am worthy (of what I want, as long as of course it is not harmful or destructive to the “other”)
Happiness is tapping into the field of bountiful possibilities and potentials, and feeling comforted by the thought that Life is fluid and malleable, and I am in control of steering my own Life in the direction that I want.
The last realization has come to me after 54 years of being a human being. I started this blog when I turned 50 and this year in September I turn 55. J Age is what is made of it, you are only as old as you feel. I am a young 55.
I was very happy when I was a child at Primary School before I turned eleven. I still remember playing girl’s games, “elastics”, Hopscotch, “British Bull-dog” (which was eventually banned) and myself being the naturally elected leader, organizing make-believe dramas.
Then “Life got in the way.” A cliché, but a good one I think. The Life that intervened ostensibly with my natural happiness was labelled Racism, Sexism and Child Abuse. This on top of being inter-country adopted. There I was swimming in a frightening ocean, metaphorically speaking —- away from my birth family and my country of origins (I am Chinese but my birth parents lived in Malaysia) —– and subjected to not nurturing happenings within my own community and adoptive family.
I recall the times that I sat on the bus, gazing into the happiness stream, at blissful moments when I was a teenager. I was then in touch with all that was and is within the infinite field of possibilities. It comforted me and made me feel confident and cheerful, so I was happy. These moments sometimes even exploded into outright Joy, when I was feeling as happy as I could be.
It is this Joy that I am gently shepherding myself toward.
Joy is not on my list of descriptions of Happiness, and this is because I believe that true deep happiness is joy, or that joy is true deep happiness. Joy is Happiness, and Happiness is Joy, they are interchangeable.
It is hard to describe but after a while, after the “hard knocks” of 3-D Life, if you engage in self-examination or how you interact with others, and if you question how you manage yourself and your relationships, and accept your responsibilities for your choices and mark out healthy boundaries, and if you step away or move away from what intrudes upon your boundaries, or you can alter or influence the boundary stepper to stop stepping, then you will achieve at least a mild level of constant happiness.
At some point you may reach a certain level of happiness that will catapult you into the happiness stratosphere, which is if you like, a “band-with” or a frequency or a spectrum of rainbows and brightness, of joyful possibilities, where you will STAY or reside, and there will be no turning back.
Life is hard for each and every one of us.
“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”, is a quote that I like. I also like “The teacher and the taught together create the teaching.”
My observation is that there are signs or markers that will tell you that are heading into the happiness stratosphere.
When you no longer feel obliged or itching to post back or comment a counter-active or ego-based response to a text on the internet.
When you no longer engage in “tit for tat” by email, when someone disappoints you or doesn’t understand you — and you don’t give back what you think you got, meaning you don’t reply telling them that, No THEY are the idiot.
When you no longer pin your happiness upon winning the Lottery because what if you don’t win the Lotto?
When you realise that you have a Higher Self or a Soul which has a way of guiding you to what you need.
When you feel glad, calm, cheerful, confident, excited, comfortable, pleased, relaxed or satisfied 90 percent of the time.
When you stop fighting yourself – when you dis-engage from the “push-pull” encounters between individuals and groups, realising you can just observe and respectfully accept a person’s good intentions, while asserting your personal boundaries (through perhaps just stating your opinion and not adding to it or trying to galvanise support for your opinion; or through avoiding a person, or not speaking much to a person, without storing up resentment or feelings of revenge; and if you really can’t get away from them, as the Dalai Lama says, stand up for yourself and tell the person what you think and / or feel, or take other forward moving and legal and ethical action to keep your boundaries intact, like looking out for another job or contacting the Human Resources / Personnel section).
And this also:
When you accept that you are enough.
You no longer need to fill the hole that you have experienced, because the hole was never there. It was just a bucket of longing for approval, of feeling not loved enough, of self-expectations and of “push versus pull”. You realise that YOU created this “bucket” and that you have allowed yourself to grow spiritually so that you no longer have a bucket to try to fill and you are not even a glass half full, but you are a diamond in the rough.
You are complete and full, you have spun happiness from the raw fabric of living, and it is enough.
Soak up the Happiness Stratosphere.
Part Two – Successful and Happy
People will urge you to be successful, and “success” is a goal that likely your parents, family, teachers, business and the government have told you to achieve. But what is “success?”
The basic premise of “to succeed” is to complete a goal or an objective, nothing more or less. So consider that you are SUCCEEDING just by being you …… you are a living human being doing just that, being a living human. With each breath that you draw, you are succeeding as a wonderful work of biology with the atoms and molecules and energy that comprise you all working together to drive your bodily and spiritual functions, in harmony with the environment around you.
This is the success of the human design, that keeps you “ticking” and moving.
Movement is a characteristic of living beings. Human beings do things and the Dalai Lama says that the purpose of all human beings is “to be happy.” We are happy when we have happy emotions and feelings. Unlike plants we do not stay rooted to one spot, but human beings are capable of traveling distances and interacting with each other and their environment, and manipulating things to a vast degree.
Sometimes we get lost in succeeding with our material substances. The movie “Six Million Dollar Man” showed that we had the technology to re-build Steve Austin and the mind boggles at just how much a million dollars of technology can achieve now …… but what about our succeeding spiritually?
If “success” is to complete a goal or objective, then we might like to look at the origins of human life and the collective purported meaning of human life or the purpose of Life, from a spiritual perspective. To many being happy means having a lot of physical material things, but they don’t realise that the tangible visible things surrounding them, sometimes drowning them, are merely representations of concepts. Life and what happens in it is all metaphorical, for example you may love beautiful things and keep adding material beautiful objects to your Life erroneously thinking the next one will really make you happy. Guess what? It makes you satisfied thinking about getting it and even when you actually get it, it will make you happy for a few moments.
But it may be a transient happiness, a pinch of satisfaction and comfort, but no pause for gratitude or wonder and if it is not the right fit in the puzzle that is your Life (e.g. you have over spent or you are obsessed with buying) then it is only half a Happiness.
To me, being “successful” also means being spiritually successful, and this over-laps with being materially successful, but is actually more than the latter. Spiritual well-being means not harming the Earth or any living being while having one’s words / thoughts / energy / actions and interactions / plans being all in alignment or agreement. Mo Gawdat talks about the Happiness Equation – that Happiness is Our perception of Events being equal to our Expectations.
So if we have no expectations, we can perceive an event as “just is” or from a neutral view-point. For example, if you feel that a person is rude toward you — try to let the belief or the thought about this to be as fleeting as possible, or don’t have the thought at all. Try to replace the thought “so and so is so rude” or “she / he is wrong [ or replace with another un-savoury word ]” with something like “I honestly don’t feel good at what she / he did / said” or “That doesn’t make me feel understood” THEN give yourself space and time to yourself ( either walk away to a quiet spot or freeze your thought and park it for working on when you can get to a place of privacy ) AND question –
“What is going on here?” Now is the time to have a little secret and quick talk to yourself, as in the hypothetical example, you say to yourself “She rudely said to me when someone gives you a task to do, you had better to do it”. Let hurt feelings and injured or scared thoughts run through you like quick-silver, let them be rain-drops that slide off you ….. you may feel indignant or angry or frightened or intimidated. Acknowledge this is how you fleetingly feel, but don’t store it, release it and let it go because it is not a helpful state of being — these emotions only serve to help you make an instant decision or choice based upon your observations and thoughts of what you perceive as real. Dwell fleetingly upon the energy behind what the person said or did – perceive from that person’s point of view – perhaps “Oh well she thought she was doing the right thing, she has an abrupt manner with everyone, I don’t like her manner.”
Be aware of your boundaries and your capacity for feedback and for interaction — if she has said something that really upsets you, perhaps she has kept repeating her thoughts / opinions about something, then don’t’ stay mute. As the Dalai Lama says, if you feel it is safe to do so, stand your ground and speak up in a polite or civil manner, for example you could say “Wait a moment [ person’s name ] it feels like you are being pushy when you speak like that.”
Now here’s the “kicker” — if you don’t feel strongly enough and safe enough to assert how you feel about their behaviour, it is crucial then not to store up your hurt feelings which will only fester away and burn resentment throughout your energy field, hindering you for a long time to come from being in equilibrium or finding peace and contentment.
So as it is quite often the case, if you are introvert and reluctant to respond, or you can’t find the right words to say at the event or happening that disturbs you, remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can. Make the choice to store away facts or data NOT the emotions associated with it, and know that the best decision or choice is, as the song in Frozen goes …… LET IT GO.
I now have a little honest confession to make. I am said to be a naturally sunny, happy and positive person, and I know that I am. However, a couple of years ago at work, I found it a lot easier to tread along the maudlin 3-D collective treadmill, the pathway of complaining and feeling animosity toward others. Faced by people not saying or doing things to the utmost state of perfection that I would have liked, I looked at the energy behind or within and realised that those involved were just stressed and muddle-headed and really meant me no harm; BUT I decided to judge those people and to feel a resentment toward them and to gripe about these people.
If I had made the choice to think about each person’s experiences and personality or the style that each had, and about the wider and global environment, and how I would best healthily interact with them, things would have been a lot easier for me when I left that workplace and …… walked straight into another place …… where things were just the same, in terms of people not meeting my expectations !!
Spiritual growth (“spiritual success” if you want to label it thus) occurs incrementally just like our physical growth, and sometimes in “stair-steps” meaning you go up a level but the highness and broadness of that step can vary. I look at sources on the internet of “energy alerts” to see what resonates with me, about the global or collective energies (see my Page “Energy Alerts”).
Fortunately for me, I have worked on my spiritual growth for quite a while and made a conscious choice years ago to try to not have so many expectations or so much expectation. Not easy for someone who has 4 planets in Virgo and tends toward having high expectations of herself and of everything else. I am living the equation that indeed the less expectation that I have, the more neutral and calm I am, which leads to feeling satisfied and content and thus happy.
I can then perceive an event as either a building block of my reality ( something that I have co-created in order to manifest my own version of reality or truth – of feeling / thinking / being a human being ) or as “food for thought” which must be correctly digested so that I can move forward with a healthy and positive reaction for all ….. and this to me, is success.
Success is being alive and happy. Happy means taking it as easy as you can (not being a “bull in a china shop”), being at ease with what you’ve got, and not having expectations, while having a level of material and spiritual comfort and interests and experiences which you enjoy.
Joy is deep or vast happiness, and is your birth-right and yours if you want it.
Some links to resources which have helped me.
Other great books that I have read can be found on my Fascinating Animals blog –
Happiness is not looking for the silver lining but is spinning the gold to start with