Happiness as a Spiritual Practice
It's not uncommon knowledge that we as westerners are happiness junkies. The self-help bookshelves are pilled with how to get happy quick fixes and step by step regimens. I truly believe that our intentions are the most pure when we decide we want to "be happier" or live happier lives. I think also, though, that like with many things our society does, we bastardize the idea of what happy is and completely pull the results outside of ourselves and see happiness as something to achieve, to find, to GET. Not all of this is bad or wrong, nothing is so black and white even though that way of thinking is seemingly easier sometimes, it is often paralyzing and blinding. There is grey area of every shade for all situations. For all of us.
With that said, I don't really know if you can get happy. You can become happy, you can feel happy, you can BE happy. You can lean into happiness. Scientifically proven, there is a base line of "happiness" that each of us have and it is different for everyone, based on genetics (nature vs. nurture - of which I would argue are one in the same.) To me, this is solid proof that there is no external seeking grasping that is congruent with Happiness, capital H. We have a medium, the center line of this state. This state is embodied. It is cultivated, it is nurtured, it is discovered, it is felt into. Happiness may not mean ecstatic or elated, as those are more manic emotions. Those are not sustainable emotions, and often, when we swing to high we fall even lower. Imagine a pendulum, one that is mesmerizingly dancing back and forth. When we swing it too far, it gets out of control and the hypnotic ease is now jolting and unsteady. Very similar are our internal guidance systems, or, our Emotional States.
If this is seen as accurate or true, then can there be an agreement that happiness in fact has very little to do with anything outside of your deepest, most true essence of heart and soul. Happiness is your most natural state, and is in direct relationship to pure consciousness. In the Yogic tradition, Purusha is the energy, the essence, the never changing and always constant state of aliveness, of in-touch-ness, of compassion and faith and truth that we all are made up of. Purusha is the soul. Prakriti, however, is matter, it is the solid, it is everything that isn't conscious. It is our thoughts, our memories, our desires, our intelligence. We as people who are alive beings are made up of both of these things. This is physics.
To my point though, there is an ability to return to fullness, to oneness, to completeness, within one's self, and to touch your individual consciousness with the entire cosmos. Think of your soul as a drop of water in the vast ocean of consciousness. Same. Individual, but same. It is hard to realize this is what happiness IS when we are so conditioned to look for more, constantly and frantically, outside of our own most precious Self.
To feel safe, to feel loved, to feel needed, to have purpose, to want to learn, to want to be wanted, to give love, to contribute, to participate, to feel success : these are all very important human needs and some would argue, what make up a meaningful life, and yet, without the intimate relationship you have with your innermost truth, your soul, your heartspace, your intuition (all same?) then will any of these other things make us Happy?
It's a probably not kind of answer. I believe that happiness requires a deep intimacy with one's self and this is not a commonality in our society. I think that if it were, maybe there would be a lot less suffering and pain; a lot less fear-based reactions and disasters.
I also believe that everyone's concept of happiness will feel different to them. It will require different things, it will need different attention. Of course what our lives look like contribute to this. I believe mostly though, that there is a lot of uncovering that needs to be done and instead of digging into every book that promises results (although many are wonderful and helpful) instead what if we just got a little more quiet. Listened into our heart's a little bit more. Paused a little bit longer. Breathed a little more deeply. Returned to our bodies a little more gently. Saw a little more clearly. Dropped into our Being a little bit more.
I wonder if from there, the external circumstances we wish for in our lives would start to be a little more friendly. There would be a little bit less fighting, a little more synchronicity, a little more flow.
Happiness is allowed to flow. It wants to flow. It wants to be breathed into your lungs, it wants to dance around your heart and fill your thinking mind with thoughts that are powerful and positive. Happiness wants to live in your toes, and fill your belly up and help you smile a little more authentically. Happiness wants to embody you.
Happiness is our most natural state.
Can we lean in just a little bit more so that we can begin to see more clearly what we all already have?