The Meaning of Happiness (Part 1)
Last week I signed up for a self-development course called “Creating Happiness: The Sheer Joy of Being Alive”. After the first session I realized most of us have absolutely no idea what happiness is!
Our homework was to notice when we are happy and when we are not. Notice the environment, our bodily sensations and reactions. In other words, get super present to what we are experiencing.
I learned that my happiness is still dependant on everything that happens outside of me and to me. The number of the scale. The number of students in my yoga class. The amount of praise I get from my peers, my parents, my business partners. The number in my bank account. Where I live. How well my clothes fit that day. How much energy I have when I get up. How sunny it is in the morning. The list goes on and on. How many of you notice this as well?
When these things happen I notice my stomach relaxes, my chest opens, the crease in my forehead softens, and I get this warm and fuzzy feeling rising up from my feet all the way up through the top of my head. This chain reaction is what I’ve been calling “happiness”.
What’s more interesting to observe is I become so addicted to these sensations that I fervently search for or create outer experiences to re-generate this awesome internal high. And while I’m consumed in this ‘dog-chasing-it’s-own-tail’ adventure, I totally miss out on everything else happening around me, on all other possibilities of true happiness.
Which brings me to this discovery… happiness is an interpretation. A label we’ve given a set of sensations we feel to some external event. Do we actually have any idea what happiness is?
I’m starting to think not. How about you? If not, the question now becomes what is happiness? And what do I / you really want? What are we really searching for? I’ll have some answers for you in the next newsletter. In the meantime, I encourage you to engage in this same inquiry, take on the same homework, and then send me your thoughts and insights! firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and light always,