Happiness can feel so fleeting. One minute we have it, the next minute we’ve lost it and we then try to figure out what we need to do or change to get it back. But this relies on a misunderstanding – that happiness is something we get from the outside world.
I’m sure you’ve already heard that happiness comes from within. But no matter how many times we hear it, it still feels elusive and still looks like it’s coming from external circumstances. Our cultural misunderstanding is reinforced hundreds of times each day because almost everyone believes we live in an outside-in paradigm of psychological experience.
Happiness, along with joy, gratitude, and love, come from within because every experience of life comes from within. The only thing we can ever experience is our thinking in the moment. Feelings of happiness are the shadow of thoughts of happiness. Feelings of sadness are the shadow of thoughts of sadness. Regardless of the form of the experience, it only ever works inside-out.
Moment to moment, thought is creating our experience and consciousness is making us aware of the creation. Moment to moment we feel what is on our minds, not what is in our lives. If we have anxious thoughts, we will feel anxious. If we have happy thoughts, we will feel happy. And when our thinking quiets down, we default into a beautiful feeling of peace and contentment.
Your anxious, sad, happy, or joyful thoughts are not caused by anything external; they’re not coming from ‘real life’. We have a collective social and cultural misunderstanding about what is the cause and what is the effect of our experience. That external happenings cause certain thinking in our minds is a myth we fall for everyday.
We’ve been taught our whole lives that some situations and circumstances are inherently unhappy ones. We can try to cope with them, numb from them, or change them but we certainly can’t experience a natural happiness while they’re occurring. Not death, not divorce, not debt.
We’ve been taught to believe our minds are like cameras, collecting snapshots of life the way it truly is with little, if any, subjectivity. The truth is that our minds function more like paintings, our thoughts are the paint creating an image on the canvas we call “reality”.
Rather than the cause being the situation and the effect being our thinking, we start to wake up to the fact that the cause is our thinking and the effect is that we experience that thinking as our reality. We are constantly creating our personal realities, we always have been and we always will be.
Fortunately as human beings peace of mind is our natural state. When we live in a clear mind and a light heart, good feelings are felt automatically. We will still always experience our thinking but when that thinking settles down, as it naturally does, we just feel at peace.
We feel at peace without having to do anything or rearrange the outside world in any way, and that, to me, is true happiness.