Sunday, March 6, 2011
The "Happiness" Project
With each passing day that I'm alive, I realize that the hardest thing to achieve in this life is happiness.
What I speak of is not "contentment" nor is it "feeling fine" but truly feeling a fulfilment and utter bliss toward both yourself and life.
What I am realizing is that each individual should create their own meaning of what happiness is. A laundry list, if you will, of what their own happiness is to look like and strive for that. I think we get caught up in what another person's perception of happiness is or what society says that we should define it as being. Yet, how could that make any sense at all. There is no logic in that theory whatsoever. If every individual is created uniquely different than how could we possible believe that what may be good for some MUST be good for all?
Putting myself through this "emotional/mental cleanse" has been incredibly mind blowing to say the least. I cannot tell you how many thoughts of clarity are being channeled to me through meditation. It can become utterly exhausting but refreshing all in the same breath. This week was especially draining for me. I've gone through many bouts of emotion and however uncomfortable it's been at times, I do realize it is all relevant and necessary for the "recovery" of my soul. During this process I have tried to have very little contact with others. With the exception of going to work, I try to fill my days with quiet. Forcing myself to focus on the noise going on in my own head. It's incredible what you can actually hear when you really decide to listen to your inner self. What I heard made me depressed beyond words however, it needed to be felt aloud.
I realized that I have been struggling all my life to achieve a level of happiness that others had set for me. I was trying to reach peaks that were not my own, but those in which society deemed necessary. I observed the lives of my family, friends and all those around me and tried to adopt them as my own. The second thing I learned was that what you allow your inner being to hear from you is far more damaging than what it can hear from the outside world. Your mind, your heart and your soul can only feel the peace and love for it that you guide to it believe. If you deem yourself unworthy, no other living thing could ever make you feel otherwise.
The Buddhists believe that happiness is our own responsibility - and completely within our control. That if we train our minds the body will follow suit. Therefore, if we are what we think, than our own happiness stems and flows from within us alone. A teaching so simple, yet so many of us never truly make the correlation.
We are so consumed with what society says that we allow ourselves to fall prisoner to it. We are so quick to mimic the lives of loved ones and those close to us because we see that it works for them. Yet, it's not what we ourselves may need in our own lives.
Think about it: How could anyone possibly know what makes me smile better than I? How could anything influence my perception of life unless I allow it? What is demonstrated to us visually and how our own individual mind's interpret that vision are two entirely different things. I think this is why none of us ever truly feel "content" within our own lives, because we are far too busy looking at what everyone else has that we don't - and feel sad about it. We are too brainwashed with what society believes we should all strive for to achieve happiness, that when we don't reach those stars we are failures. That when we don't meet the expectations of our families, friends or loved ones that we are unworthy. I believe that this is what I have been doing all the days of my life. I was poisoning my own body, mind and soul with those of your perfection and happiness instead of my own. No wonder I was failing. No wonder I was feeling unworthy or unloved. I've been in this state because I never bothered to ask the one person that mattered what they wanted. What they believed happiness meant for them. What they believed their dreams should be. that one person was ME!
Perhaps making/winning millions is not my happiness but making a humble living helping others is. Perhaps falling in love with a traditional man that society thinks is a great catch isn't my idea of romantic, but finding a man who loves every part of my existence is. Perhaps having a 3/4 story home filled with rooms that aren't even lived in is not my idea of wealth, but building a village of need is. Whatever it is, I must find and build my own definition of happiness and how I will live it will be my choice and mine alone.
“I would say happiness begins with being able to accept oneself and one’s situation in the world, so that one is not constantly in a state of inner turmoil, striving, strife, conflict. Those are the main things which actually prevent us from being happy” .... Rob Nairn, Buddhist.