Saturday, May 25, 2013

Four Ways to Lasting Happiness

So many of us are unable to find happiness that doesn’t just quickly fade away. Try as we might, it seems to escape us. If you’re like most people, you know this feeling. Just when you think life is going your way, bam! Something or other happens. Or maybe you feel happiness is always outside your grasp, so you can’t even lose it because you don’t really have it in the first place. Either way, there is a solution. But first you have to understand that the fundamental mistake we make in our search for happiness is that we look for it in the wrong place. We expect to find it in the circumstances of our life. We look to objects, events, people, and places to give us happiness. But all the happiness we find in the outer world is fleeting. The satisfaction it gives is temporary. If we want lasting happiness, we have to turn instead to our inner world. This secret has been known within spiritual traditions around the world for centuries. Now it is becoming known by ordinary everyday people, such as yourself. Many people shy away from their inner world, thinking it is mysterious and possibly dangerous. They don’t realize it holds peace and joy and endless happiness. To find this happiness, you need to take a giant step and bridge the gap you have unknowingly created between your inner and outer worlds. The first way to bridge the gap and find happiness is to start becoming more aware of your emotions and reactions, on a minute-by-minute basis. Pay attention to what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Be totally honest. Only by becoming aware in this way can you accept the full range of your feelings and let them go. Rejecting your feelings keeps you stuck in an old cycle. However, acceptance allows you to free yourself from what happened in the past and opens you to new levels of happiness. The second way is to change how you perceive and respond to events in your life. If something bothers you or makes you angry, see if you can look at it in different light. For example, maybe you’re angry that a friend cancelled a date, but instead you can use the time to meet two new friends. Train your mind to transform negative emotions into positive emotions. This lays the foundation for deeper feelings of trust, love, and happiness. The third way is to heal past emotional issues. Don’t let them fester and disturb your peace of mind. Forgiveness of yourself and forgiveness of others are the key to doing this. You may want to write a letter to someone you need to forgive. Even if you don’t send the letter, notice its healing effect.A final way is to listen to your heart and follow your intuition. It may seem to you that your mind is saying one thing and your heart something else. Learn to distinguish the difference. But don’t stress over it, either. Often I suggest people flip a coin if they need to make a choice and aren’t sure what their intuition is saying. This may sound radical. But I do it, and I suggest you give it a try. Once you learn to trust your intuition, you will find answers arise spontaneously and the happiness that has eluded you shines forth.



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