Anyone can learn to experience happiness from within - whether you have the 'right' relationship or are seeking one, whether you have lots of money or not, whether you are healthy or have physical challenges. Happiness from within is not dependent on what is going on in your life.
We believe that if we get the new car, find the right partner or figure out our life purpose, then we will be happy. What we don't realise is that by looking for happiness on the outside, we overlook the happiness that already exists within us, right here, right now, irrespective of our life situation.
There once lived a Sufi mystic named Rabiya who was known in the village for her eccentric behaviour. One day she was spotted on her hands and knees outside her house looking for something.
Seeing her, some passing villagers enquired: "What are you looking for?"
Rabiya answered: " I am trying to find a sewing needle I dropped.
One of the villagers asked: "Where did you drop it? Maybe we can help you find it."
To which Rabiya replied: "I dropped it inside the house."
Bemused, the man asked: " If you dropped it in the house, then why are you looking for it outside in the street?"
Rabiya said: " As the sun has almost set, there is not enough light remaining in the house to find it ….so I am looking for it here where there is still light."
Thinking she was crazy, the villagers asked: " How do you expect to find it here if you dropped it in the house?"
Most of us are doing the same when it comes to happiness. We are looking in all the wrong places. Our attention is directed outwards when what we are seeking lies in the opposite direction.
This is not to say that we won't experience moments of happiness from experiences on the outside - moments of pleasure, moments of satisfaction - but that it will be of the fleeting type that comes and goes.
Pleasurable experiences that make us happy are inevitably followed by painful experiences. What satisfies us in one moment becomes dissatisfying in another.
The happiness from within is not dependent on anything on the outside. It is the eternal ground of our being and has no opposite.
If you doubt that happiness can be experienced right now, exactly as your life is in this moment, then ask yourself the following questions:
What is it you believe needs to change in yourself or in your life in order for you to experience happiness?
Now ask whether you ever experience moments of happiness despite these conditions not being met. Of course you do!
As long as we believe something needs to different before we can find happiness, we are judging this moment as not enough and therein lies the key to experiencing the happiness from within.
The moment we stop looking and allow this moment to be OK exactly as it is, we discover that happiness is already there, waiting to be recognised. It has always been there. We have been too busy imposing conditions on how it should look to notice what is already there.
Through deeply ingrained habit, we give so much of our attention to the endless movements of the mind - desire thoughts, comparison thoughts, past thoughts, future thoughts as well as all our ideas of what we believe happiness SHOULD look like.
Happiness is there but we are elsewhere, engaging with our busy minds. It's a bit like looking for the glasses that are sitting on top of your head.
I am not necessarily talking about the "jumping for joy" kind of happiness. We could also call it inner peace or simple contentment.
When the water of the lake is turbulent and muddy, we are unable to see the treasure lying on the bottom.
Quieten the mind and the treasure which has always been there becomes visible.
The happiness from within is not something distant and hard to attain. In fact, it is so intimate that we easily overlook it. We just need to peek behind the curtain of the mind and it is there!
The thinking mind is only part - a small part - of who (or what) we really are. Through stilling the mind and discovering what remains in the absence of addictive thinking, we access a boundless, eternal Presence which is the ground from which everything we desire springs.
It is not necessary to change or fix the mind in any way to experience the happiness within. What we we do need to do is to change our relationship WITH the mind and stop giving it all of our attention - to withdraw our focus from the turbulence on the surface and put our attention instead on that which is ever-present and doesn't change.
There are several pages on the site which describe how to achieve this, including:
Return To The Top Of This Page: The Happiness From Within
Return To: Authentic Happiness
Return To The Homepage: Finding Happiness
suggested article by Ed Shapiro: 7 Ways To Find Inner Happiness