How To Be Happy – Part 1

That’s the zillion dollar question everyone wants the answer to – how to be happy?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, underneath all our goals and wants is the desire to be happy.

If we do experience what we’d call “happiness,” it doesn’t last.

None of the experts, and I do mean none of the experts, has a sure-fire recipe that works for getting it back when it disappears.

Most experts on happiness – and when I say experts, I mean doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, self-help experts, authors, anyone that claims to have expertise on how to be very happy – say there are positive emotions and negative emotions.

The negative ones are bad and we want to get rid of them. The positive ones are good and we want more of them. That’s the party line.

Here’s the unexamined fantasy about how to be happy …

If there are positive and negative emotions, and happiness is one of the positives, then the only way to always be happy is find a way to make all the negative emotions disappear.

how to be happy

That’s the fantasy, the story, the unexamined belief.

Well, there are two things you need to know about that fantasy:

  1. It’s NEVER going to happen. Negative emotions will never “disappear”
  2. Making negative emotions disappear is not what authentic happiness is all about

What does happen, then?

What is authentic happiness all about?

Lets take a brutally honest look.

Life, or what I call The Human Experience, has two spheres of experience to it. I now call those two spheres “Story Space” and “Inner Space“:

Story Space is where all the people are, all the places are, all the things and objects. Story space is everyone and everything that appears to be outside of you. It also includes your body.

Inner Space, as the name would suggest, is the space that appears to exist inside of you. You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. Nobody else can see or touch it. It’s perceived as a vast inner space inside of you.

What are emotions? It’s impossible to describe accurately, but the best I can do is call them “movements of energy in Inner Space.”

There are times when the movement of energy in Inner Space appears to be pretty quiet. There are times when the movement of energy appears to be stronger and more intense. There are times when it’s so intense and strong, it’s almost like a hurricane or tornado inside you. That’s how the big emotional storms always felt to me.

In your daily life, as it relates to emotions, there’s a constant movement of energy in Inner Space. It’s never at rest when you’re conscious, even when it seems to be.

It’s constantly moving, just like the sea, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water are always moving, even if they appear to be still on the surface.

The inner movement of emotional energy has an infinite variety of expressions.

Music is a really great metaphor for this. Music has an infinite variety of expressions. It’s all just “music,” but we call certain expressions jazz, rock, classical, pop, new age, etc.

We learn to freeze and then break the constant flow of emotional energy into pieces. We label those pieces with words like anger, depression, happiness, and peace.

We judge the pieces and labels by calling them positive, negative, pleasurable, painful, like, don’t like, hate, love.

We accept those labels and judgments as true. And then, the freezing, breaking into pieces, labeling and judging goes on autopilot.

Boom, boom, boom, lightning-fast so we don’t even realize it’s happening in daily life.

Would it surprise you to hear that most of this gets “programmed” and locked into place when we’re kids, and then runs on autopilot for years, decades, lifetimes?

And we forget that we’re the ones who “did it” — that we’re the ones who convinced ourselves we were “unhappy” most of the time!

That ends Part 1 of the How To Be Happy series.

In the next post, I’ll continue the discussion by revealing the big key that opens the door to finally being able to answer the question, “How can I be happy all the time”?

I’m going to be releasing a lot of blog posts in a series like this. To make sure you see all of them right when they come out, be sure to subscribe by email or RSS by looking to the top right of this page.

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    New York Times bestselling author, renegade, globetrotting speaker, coach and entrepreneur. Love it, hate it, letting it sit, whatever, please share your comments below. And, if you resonate with what I shared, please share this post with others, however you prefer to share. Thanks in advance. :)

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    16 thoughts on “How To Be Happy – Part 1

    1. This firt blog in your series is the clearest I’ve EVER heard anyone explain emotions and how very much they are on “autopilot”. This message really touched a place of “truth” inside me and I want to spend some time rereading your words and the next blog on the issue of happiness. I have always suspected that there really was not such thing as permanent happiness so sought contentment as a goal. The truth for me is that the emotion FEAR feels like the one most predominant in me and it seems to cause a lot of discomfort that I often label as “unhappiness”.

      • Cool!

        This is really quite a fascinating and surprising topic.

        I’ll give you a few other tidbits to allow to incubate within you.

        If you dive into the intense so-called positive and negative emotions, the pure, raw experience isn’t all that different. You’ll hear more about this in Part 2.

        For example, the pure, raw experience we call “anger” isn’t all the different from the pure, raw experience we call “excitement” — except in a story we tell ourselves about it.

        Similarly, “peace” and “boredom” aren’t all that different, except in a story.

        On and on …

    2. Robert, you are in my prayers, meditations and thoughts as a wise Guru, a wonderful teacher! You speak the absolute truth. Even if I didn’t know it before you speak it, I know it when you speak it because it resonates as truth. I am very grateful to be before you as a student.

      • Mitch if what you wrote, was ment to give appreciation to yousself for the great messanger Robert you (and I) created, I totally agree with you.
        If you really think you are a student – sorry to tell you, you are still not on the track you think you are;-) and nothing, at least so big, will change for you.
        You are NOW what you wanted to be for now and to be a student is obviously that experiance. Enjoy it and if you choose otherwise……
        But YOU are NOT a student:-)
        And my message is indeed a message from YOU to Mitch!

    3. This is great stuff-accepting judgments and labeling them as true and putting them on autopilot is how I had been living my life. I have read lots of stuff on happiness and after reading your book I am having a lot of ahha moments regarding happiness.

    4. Thanks Robert once again for the great insights. It’s like we are so conditioned on this “labeling” thing.

      For example, a chair can’t just be a chair; it’s grandma’s favorite and brings up all this stuff from when she was alive or it’s where I used to do my homework as a kid or………..

      Recently I have been flashing back a lot about prior episodes during this lifetime, and seeing how my perception of it right this moment does change the past and how I feel about it.

      As far as happiness is concerned I don’t really think about it a lot, other than to spend time daily in gratitude regardless how I am feeling. It’s more important for me to stay present and not run away no matter what is going on inside or outside.

    5. Dear Robert,

      You inspire with your fresh take on emotional energies. I love that you are supporting the experiencing of all emotion, with out judgement.

      Time to review Phase 2 magic 🙂

    6. I don’t have problem with happiness. I don’t search for it, I don’t analyze it. It is not in me – it is me. Once I released myself from emotional attachement to the outcomes, I just am. I cannot explain the state but I feel it – calm, peacefull, just nice. Once I believed that one has to have mindset to be happy – but it is not true. The truth is we are not happy because mind is on the way. It is hard to explain, same as if I try to explain love or how mango taste. one has to experience for oneself. The truth is we are happy -always – but majority of us don’t know it because of the mind. When Robert helped me to see the cloud, everything changed (Thank you Robert).

    7. Hello Robert,your book is amazing the truth will set you free…..this information is setting me free its what I new to be true,thaks for the blue print to live FREE !!!!

    8. It’s cool to think that I could think that I am actually learning about what happiness really is when I really am not. And I don’t have to feel jealous of others who seem to have gotten to “enlightenment” first before dumb old me did. Not having free will is wonderful, I don’t have to feel inferior to others who seem much more knowledgeable and successful than I am. I’m realizing that my character seems to have been written to appear to be extremely fear-based and lazy and ineffective.

    9. Fantastic article. I recently have been introduced to your work Robert, and to me, it appears you’re helping out the people who “missed the day when they were teaching this at school”.