“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.” ~ Dada Vaswani
Is there “more” to happiness?
When it comes to being happy, is there something beyond the momentary, superficial emotion that we can hope for and attain?
I was recently asked this question during an author interview on BlogTalkRadio’s Inspiration Nation. Host Teresa Morrow wanted to know how to feel happy when facing tough times and life challenges.
Having spent a lifetime pursuing the Art of Happiness, I was delighted – or should I say happy – to respond to this critical question.
When life doesn’t deliver its best, here are a few keys to experience a deeper and more meaningful level of happiness:
1. See yourself as a beneficiary rather than a victim
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
Despite the nearly infinite number of circumstances we can encounter in life, there remain, ultimately, just two lenses through which we choose to view ourselves: victim or beneficiary. Personal experience becomes a reflection of that internal belief. If we choose to see ourselves as victims, our experience will prove us correct. But if we choose to see ourselves as beneficiaries, then experience will ultimately deliver us pleasant miracles and unexpected gifts.
2. Make the choice for happiness and repeat as often as is necessary
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Sooner or later, we all encounter a loss, death, disappointment or separation. What we choose to do about these encounters determines their impact on our life. There’s a time to grieve, but arising from our low place involves an active choice. The mind needs continual training and “reminding” to move from one view of reality to another. Keep choosing happiness – over and over again – until the mind is retrained and responds accordingly.
3. Find happiness internally rather than pursuing it in outward circumstances
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
~ Denis Waitley
If you’ve ever sought hard for something to buy, gain, acquire or attain, you’ll admit that the high doesn’t last very long. Those of us who insist on finding happiness on externals are setting ourselves up for anxiety and emotional instability. We’re happy one moment when things go our way, we’re disappointed or crushed when things go awry in the next. To experience the “more” of happiness, keep your mind focused on values and attributes that are positively endowed – like goodness, peace and joy. Your emotional roller coaster will eventually be replaced with the gentle wave of a deep river from within.
4. Trust in the wisdom of time
“Wisdom is justified by her children.” ~ Jesus Christ
When we hurt, we want immediate answers. We demand explanations for our losses, failed desires and crushed dreams. This is where the happiness rubber meets the proverbial lifetime road. By suspending our own perspective and the narrow scope through which we view current circumstances, we can begin to trust in the longer and broader picture of a grander scheme. This is often the place where our surrender to a wiser Source becomes our anchor and our trust. Time may be delayed, but grace, wisdom, compassion and other unexpected bounties can ultimately be gleaned as our eyes look toward a greater plan than the one we presently see.
Learning to trust in the wisdom of time brings us full circle. When confronted with life challenges, we must always ask ourselves the foundational question: Am I a victim or a beneficiary?
The answer we choose ultimately delivers itself back upon our belief.
May the heart of happiness be an ever-dawning place of peace, refuge and joy for you – in the good times and the in-between times too!
Maura Sweeney is a Podcaster, Author and Speaker
Her mantra is “Living Happy – Inside Out!”
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