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.
That’s the fantasy, the story, the unexamined belief.
Well, there are two things you need to know about that fantasy:
- It’s NEVER going to happen. Negative emotions will never “disappear”
- 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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