Happiness. What is it really? Is it something that happens to us based on external events? Is is something that we experience based on external events? Is it something that we can possibly have control over at all? Can we choose to be happy or does it really rely on good things that happen to us?
The questions are purposely intermixed. Most people minds can be led down a particular path just on the power of words and suggestions. We automatically contemplate the words that are spoken, based on our own personal experiences.
As each of you reads those questions, you will have a series of thoughts and memories unique to you that will provide answers to those questions based on your own past experiences. Yet how many of you actually asked any questions when you read my questions?
Did anyone think to ask: why does she ask those particular questions? What is she intending by asking that? Why is Ewa using that particular choice of words? Is she wanting to lead us to a particular line of thought? Curiosity. Who still has it? :)
That last paragraph was just a little bonus for you because my real focus is happiness and how everyone perceives its existence so differently. Do you want to be happy? Better yet, does anyone want to be unhappy? Not too many takers for the latter I would imagine!
Yet how does one achieve happiness on their own? I recently helped a client who was looking for happiness and I asked them to do this exercise. I asked them to recall a time or event when they were extremely happy. To engage all of their 5 senses when they did this. Feel that happiness wit all your sense. Feel your body relax and your face break into a big smile. Happiness. It feels good.
That is it. There is your happiness. Now just feel happy with no memory. Broaden your smile, really indulge in that feeling. Show your teeth, take a big sigh, even laugh if you want to! What a good feeling. It can sustain itself all on its own by just feeling it.
And do you know how your happiness disappears? Just watch your thoughts. At what point does your happiness start to go away? It is one thing for the happiness to naturally subside in its intensity, but it is another thing for it to get wiped away in a tsunami of thoughts. Because that is how and why your happiness really disappears. It gets buried in that avalanche of thinking.
What I am writing goes further than suggesting that happiness is under your control and not at the whim or mercy of events external to you. Happiness is not the exclusive product of how somebody treats you or what they say to you. If somebody wants to walk under a heavy cloud that showers on them all day long, you do not have to stand underneath it with them.
What I mean by that is not that you physically move away, end a friendship or relationship, but that you step away from it emotionally by changing the meaning that their cloud has for you. That meaning is your own cloud that you are under.
When you choose the sunshine that is your happiness, it creates this broad space around you. The other person will either be curious and want to share in your sunshine and learn how to create their own sunshine or they will look for other clouds to hang around and merge with.
Happiness is a simple state of being, unencumbered by the challenges you have. It is a separate source of energy that is available to you at all times. All you have to do is to choose to stop thinking, if only for a few moments, to access it.
The best part about it? It may feel like an escape or even a diversion, but so many solutions and ideas are there for you if you stay in that space long enough. When you have your cloud or thoughts hanging over you those thoughts are all you can see and they are what you experience.
Choose to play with this concept so that it stops being a concept and starts working in your life. Whenever I speak I always speak from a combination of my studies and personal experiences, along with the experiences of others. These are not just concepts, but effective, working tools. Make this concept a tool of your own.
Ewa Schwarz B.A.