Greetings beautiful people,
As we enter the second half of the year, I am amazed at how the last six months have flashed by. I was looking at my blog I wrote in early January. That feels like a moment ago, yet so much has happened since and as I read the blog, it is as if the past me is stepping into the future and reminding me of some important basics. One of those basics is my own sense of “happiness” and how the happenings of the year so far have affected it.
I feel there is this battle within of ego based happiness and a higher sense of “happiness”. When the ego is the master it has its own idea of what will make me happy. It has this craving for the “drug” induced happiness, the flood of dopamine and other bio chemistry “happy” drugs that surge through my body when I get something that the Ego chooses for me. Ego based happiness is that “I will be happy when………”. For example, I will be happy when I get that job, I will be happy when I have that perfect relationship, or I will be happy when I have enough money. The problem for me is that my happiness in this case is based on some exterior event or happening. It is great to aspire to that perfect job and relationship and to be financially free, however when the ego seeks this to be happy, it puts a condition on happiness and with these expectations our happiness is not in our own hands but in something or someone else’s hands. A very volatile place to keep one’s happiness.
Not only does the ego based happiness look outwards for that feeling of happiness, but when it gets what it wants, it then forgets very quickly what it has, and searches for the next “kick” because I have what I want now, I want more. For example, we get that new car, it is very exciting, but after a few months we may be looking for the next vehicle on the market or instead of focusing on the beautiful vehicle and enjoying it, now focusing on the misery of the debt we incurred and how to pay it off.
A higher sense of “happiness” is where I take my happiness from others hands and put it into my own. As I do this, the swing of the pendulum of happiness becomes less of an arc, swinging from euphoria to depression to euphoria and so on. There is more balance and peace. The question is then, are we not searching for more tranquility and peace in the face of whatever comes our way and not happiness as convention teaches us?
How do we go from Ego based happiness to holding happiness gently in our own hands and keeping ourselves in this space of gentle joy and peace no matter what we face in life?
I would suggest it is about expectations. To let expectations be our guide as to our levels of happiness can result in more sadness that happiness. Life may not be able to keep up with our expectations of what should be, and besides, our expectations can change by the minute, so how does it know what to give us? It is about dreaming what you want out of life, sure, and making those gestures towards that dream, but then letting go as to how things turn out.
Understanding why we want what we want to make us happier, may also be a big clue as to the source of the Ego based needs. Understanding our needs in a deeper sense allows us to address the root cause not the symptom. I would suggest that the ego only knows how to address the symptoms. As we search within as to the “why’s, we may discover that our base fears are the root cause as to why we want certain things to be happy. For example, fear of loneliness and having a sense of low self-worth may be the drivers behind our choices that search for happiness elsewhere. This may require we work within rather than “out there”.
As the wise sages of time have suggested, happiness comes from within. This is where I find my happiness in my own hands. Searching out there for happiness can be like searching for that paper clip on a beach. We may end up so busy looking for it, we forget to enjoy the feel of the sand, and the view around us and one day regret not having more appreciation for what we had in that moment – life. Gratitude, forgiveness and most of all accepting what is, are healthy grounds to begin the inner work necessary. I think this is what Marianne Williamson was alluding to when she quoted “Ego says, once everything falls into place then I will feel peace. Spirit says, when I feel peace, everything will fall into place”
I leave you with a beautiful Sufi story dear readers.
A famous Sufi mystic, Rabiya, was searching for something on the street outside her small hut. The sun was setting and darkness was descending, as few people gathered around her. “What have you lost? What are you searching for? Perhaps we can help,” they said to Rabiya.
Rabiya said, “I have lost my needle.”
One amongst the people said, “Well, the sun is setting now and it will be very difficult to find the needle. Where has it fallen? That’ll help us narrow down the area on this big road. If we know the exact place, it will be easier to find it.”
Rabiya told them, “It is better not to ask me that question — because, actually, it has not fallen on the road at all. It has fallen inside my house.”
Everyone started giggling as if she was joking. Then a skeptic says out loud, “We always knew that you were a little insane! If the needle has fallen inside the house, then why are you searching for it on the road?”
“For a very simple reason: inside the house there is no light and on the outside a little light is still there,” Rabiya replied.
The people laughed and started dispersing. Rabiya called them back and said, “Listen! That’s exactly what you are doing: I was just following your example. You go on seeking bliss in the outside world without asking the most fundamental question: where exactly have I lost it?”
After a pause, she continues, “You have lost it inside, and yet you are looking for it on the outside for the very same reason — your senses are outward bound, your ears hear sounds on the outside, your hands touch things on the outside. That’s the reason why you are searching outside. For a very long time, I was also just searching on the outside.
But the day I searched inwards, I was surprised. That is where I lost it and that is the only place it can be found.”