The “From Victim to Creator” sequence of blog posts also here on my website illustrates quite well the journey I have walked in radically changing my life. I have given up a lifestyle that was toxic to me. I let go of choices that, I felt, forced me to behave in ways that are not congruent with my Highest Good. I walked out on all that and transitioned myself to a new life in which I only ever do things that my heart and soul approve of. I live the healthiest lifestyle I can imagine. I am surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty. The work I do in Soul Re-Integration makes my heart sing: I LOVE to help others to replace their inner-pain with wholeness and peace… And I could carry on waxing lyrical in this way for many pages about the wonderful benefits of my new life. But while all of this is true… still I have found there to be something missing. I am not content and my life is, in some indefinable way, not whole.
I don’t write this to complain. Heaven alone knows, given my fantastic life, I am certainly not trying to get your sympathy! I share this with you because in this state of disquiet, I have found something very, very valuable. I share this with you so that you can gain from my experience. And here is what I have learned:
If something makes you unhappy and you stop doing it then you might stop being unhappy. But “not unhappy” is not the same thing as “happy”. So by all means stop doing things that make you unhappy but don’t hope that that will suddenly bring you great joy. This is, I feel, a trap many folks in western societies fall into. They work a job that they hate their whole lives so that they can retire and then be happy. They look forward to retirement with the anticipation that “not doing this lousy job” will make them happy. Alas, when they finally do shuffle off into retirement, instead of happiness all they find is emptiness. “Not doing the lousy job” is not the same thing as “being happy”. It’s just the absence of the lousy job!
And, of course, anticipating retirement is very far from the only such example we can find in all of our lives of the ways in which we believe we will be happy when some external unhappiness changes. For myself, I know I have waited and hoped for hundreds of things to end or change so that I could THEN be happy. Some of those things didn't change. Some of them probably never will in this lifetime. But this is actually irrelevant because, just as the example with retirement, an unhappy circumstance changing or ending is not the same thing as me being really happy.
So then what DOES make us happy? I, for one, really and truly believed that I would be constantly happy (or at the very least constantly content) when I found myself living the simple, self-sufficient lifestyle I now live. And, yes, it is true there is much enjoyment to be found in many of the things I do. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I got from building my own home. Last week Lisa and I finally finished putting up the last of the fascias. The house is finally, officially DONE. And we built it! It’s a great feeling. But that doesn’t actually “make me happy”. Besides the “nice feeling” when I actually think about it… I’m still just me and I still find myself feeling victimised by seemingly baseless negative emotions fairly regularly.
And here, finally, is the realisation I wanted to share with you. After receiving some inspiration in a mediation, I finally got it. The “stuff” in my life… the things I do, the things I own, the place I live, the people I associate with… all of that “stuff”… I used to think it was this that MADE me happy or sad, fearful or joyful. But it isn’t. It’s just STUFF. I realise that it is me that CHOOSES how I am going to feel about that stuff. The stuff just is what it is. How I feel is up to me.
I concede absolutely that I would find it harder to choose to be happy if I had no food or was in constant pain or some other similar situation. And in just the same way I would probably find it more difficult to be happy living in the city doing a corporate job than I would living out here in the forests offering healing and writing books. Sure! But what I have found is that if I am waiting for my external circumstances to make me happy then I will be constantly disappointed.
Perhaps this is the underpinning for the “always more” mentality so prevalent in our consumerist, wealth-obsessed society. As long as we believe our happiness comes from stuff… and as long as we aren’t happy right now… we are likely to hope that we’ll become happy when we have more and more and more stuff. And so an insatiable hunger springs up. Insatiable because it is NEVER enough. No amount of stuff will ever actually make you happy.
I should probably mention here that I am not hoping (or even wanting) to be ecstatic all the time. That’s unreasonable. I am also not wanting to avoid genuine and appropriate feelings such as, for example, grief over the loss of a loved one or compassionate sadness when someone else is struggling. I am not looking to create some kind of spiritual “happy pill”. When I say I want to choose “joy”, what I am talking about is being able to find the bliss in the moment of Now when there is no reason not to feel that. Instead of finding all kinds of random negative emotions arising as I often do... and more especially... instead of finding sense of emptiness and a feeling of unbelonging as I equally often do.
So to this end, I have created my recipe for happiness. It’s doesn’t hold anything really NEW. I’m sure you’ll have seen these kinds of ideas before. What is really new FOR ME, is that I am finally willing to commit myself to the process and journey of living my life according to these principals. Here they are:
Zingdad’s Recipe for Happiness
1. Choose to be happy. Make the choice right now. Re-make that choice every morning before you get out of bed. Re-make the choice whenever you feel yourself slipping into a negative emotional frame.
2. Find ways to create the feeling of happiness inside your being. Learn to self-emote. Learn to be joyful and grateful right here, right now.
3. Discard the things that actively make you unhappy. Especially those things that that you feel are incongruous with your soul’s purpose.
4. Follow your heart and do what your soul calls you to do.
5. If you find yourself to be blocked, if you find you cannot move past something or if you are unable to change a situation in your life that is making you miserable then you probably have some deep soul-work to do. Get help with that… shift that blockage (consider, for example doing a Soul Re-Integration session with me or find another spiritual healer to help).
6. Release the expectation that anyone or anything outside of yourself will make you happy. Only YOU will make you happy. So return to 1: Choose to be happy!
(I will, in follow up posts, elucidate upon each of the above points. Each one represents a great deal of process and understanding. But for now all I wanted to do was to share the outline with you)
And so this moment marks the point where I will begin living by this recipe as a personal experiment. I will apply these principals to my life with firm commitment and let you know how it goes!
Finally, strangely, I feel for the first time I am ACTUALLY invoking my own creator nature. I am finally contemplating truly creating something out of nothing. I am creating my own happiness de novo.
Imagine the power of that! Imagine being able to always be happy. Imagine being able to share that with others. This, surely, is a prize worth winning!
Watch this space to see how it unfolds for me (sign up for my free newsletter to be updated when new material is released)…