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Life : The beautiful storm
Happiness and fifteen steps to doing happy
Life, the beautiful storm
Ok, I nicked this title from a car advert, but it is a great line isn’t it?
It’s an even more powerful line if we set it into opposition with the concept of happiness or conversely unhappiness.
One of the challenges of some ideas about being happy is that they seem to suggest that by managing certain aspects of our lives, and in particular the things we strive for, we will be successful and thus happy.
The productivity gurus seek to reach us to do more things in less time and seem to imply that success will follow. Of course, in some cases it may.
Other ideas about achieving happiness are linked to doing those things that make you happy. Again, not a bad idea as far as it goes, but possibly limited and overly simplistic.
Likewise the idea that by simply abandoning all material goals and looking for a richer connection with the spiritual aspects of life and the universe is simplistic and misses the point of being alive.
I think that we need to fundamentally look at what we mean by “happiness” and “being happy”.
It’s not about consistently walking around with a broad smile on your face, saying that every cloud has a silver lining and that problems in our lives are because ”we’re out of tune with our higher selves”.
I do attend and have spoken at New Age and Mind, Body, Spirit events. These are wonderful places where a veritable buffet of spiritual ideas, practices and dogmas are presented to the seeker of enlightenment.
They are places where you might find some truly inspired and inspiring people. They are also places where you can witness superficiality, an abundance of ego and purveyors of various elixrs of happiness, salvation and instant empowerment The McMystics who sell enlightened with large fries and a chocolate shake.
Happiness isn’t something that can be bought,
True, inspired teachers can share techniques and practices that can help you discover your happiness, but they can’t sell it to you no matter.how many levels of spiritual happiness courses they offer.
Of course there are ways to experience joy and happiness and on the whole they are immensely practical.
The Buddha spoke of the”middle way” to enlightenment. Not the way of the aesthetic removed from life and not the way of the materials totally absorbed in life, But a way that required no dogmatic belief, but a willingness to explore approaches and techniques and find the value in them for ourselves.
Facing the Facts
We are living in a world where everything is changing, all of the time,
Life is about change and impermanence.
So if your path to happiness is about trying to control and contain this beautiful storm then you’re on a hiding to nothing.
Some writers seem to present “happiness” as being a static thing which can be attained by those who manage to achieve the things they set out to achieve:; those who are successful.
The problem here is that what is considered as being successful now, at this moment, will be different next week, next month, next year. Hence those who follow this practice are always chasing after something that is ever changing.
Success is a transitory thing, it is impermanent and thus an illusion.
Be able to respond to the challenges, curved balls, upsets, losses and pains that life presents is an important part of finding what we can call happiness.
Far from ignoring these things and try to convince yourself and others they are irrelevant, there is the need to acknowledge them; see them for what they are and find a way to reflect then respond to them.
If we face a great sadness and smile our way through it, not acknowledging our reactions to it, then we are not being honest.
Happiness is not about pretending that other emotional states don’t exist. It’s about knowing ourselves well enough to recognise them and let them pass.
If life is a beautiful storm , then we too are beautiful storms.
Fifteen Top Tips for Doing Happiness
1) Know yourself and be aware of your feelings, moods and emotions
2) Recognise that your feelings, moods and emotions change
3) Realise that you have a choice about which of these you focus on
4) Reflect before you Respond
5) Act in a considered way
6) Realise that you have a choice about how you act and react
7) Know that tomorrow’s storm or calm is directly related to todays actions
8) Learn to recognise when you have the power to create change and when you dont
9) Understand and practice acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness
10) Live in the Now, practice mindfulness
11) Challenge your own preconceptions, biases and judgements
12) Seek and enjoy every learning opportunity
13) Listen more than you speak
14) Enjoy stillness, silence and your own company
15) Enjoy friends, experiences, happenings and random acts of kindness
Thanks for reading
(Life the Beautiful Storm is also the title of a book by Mster Constured. X (2020))
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