How Can I Find Happiness? – Part 2

 

A few months ago we examined the question of “What is Happiness?” from the perspectives of many different individuals. Last month I researched the question of “How Can I Find Happiness?” and found considerable agreement from a wide range of people regarding the importance of these factors. But there is also extensive agreement on several additional factors contributing to happiness that provide food for thought.

For example, Detachment is listed as important by many well-known figures:

  • “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
    ~ Henry David Thoreau (1803–1882; American writer & philosopher)
  • “To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content.”
    ~ Confucius (551 BC-479 BC; Chinese philosopher & reformer)
  • “Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”
    ~ Dale Carnegie (1888-1955; author and trainer; author of How to Win Friends and Influence People)
  • “Most successful people are unhappy. That’s why they are successes – they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice. . . . The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.”
    ~ Agatha Christie (1890-1976; English mystery author)
  • “Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all.”
    ~ Gautama Buddha (c. 563 BCE – 483 BCE; ancient Indian spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism)

And, of course, there is the flip-side of the relationship between happiness and detachment as well:

  • “You want to know why it’s hard to be happy? It’s because we refuse to let go of the things that make us sad. . . . The unhappiest people in this world are those who care the most about what other people think.”
    ~ Lupytha Hermin
  • “The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”
    ~ Tom Robbins (1936-; US author)
  • “Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.”
    ~ Bertrand Russell (1872–1970; English author, mathematician, & philosopher; Nobel laureate in literature (1950); Conquest of Happiness, ch. 1, 1930)

 Think of the people you know who seem to wallow in or relish their unhappiness. As Maitreya would say, “What a waste of energy!”

Another factor mentioned in finding happiness is Trust.

  • “Trust is letting go of all that is negative and allowing the Divine energy of the Creator to fill your life and bring to you the happiness, success, financial reward that is yours by right.”
    ~ Maitreya (Channeled by Margaret McElroy, Maitreya Newsletter, March 22, 2010)
  • “It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
    ~  Samuel Johnson (1709-1784; English author, critic, & lexicographer)

Both of these quotes can be viewed as variations on Detachment: Maitreya defines detachment in terms of trust in the Creator, while Johnson sees trust itself as a virtue in spite of the possibility of its betrayal.

Finding Harmony with Your Higher Self is another important factor in finding happiness:

  • “Taking the spiritual path is about finding happiness within and without.”
    ~ Maitreya (Channeled by Margaret McElroy, Maitreya Newsletter, May 31, 2003)
  • “A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer of the man with his surroundings.”
    ~ James Allen (1864-1912; British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of self-help movement)
  • “Nothing in nature can hurt us when we are happy and in harmony, on the contrary all nature is there for our use and our enjoyment.”
    ~ Dr. Edward Bach (1886–1936; British physician, homeopath, & spiritual writer, best known for developing his Bach Flower Remedies; The Original Writings)
  • “The only thing that makes the difference in the way you feel right now is the thought that you are thinking right now. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got; there are joyful people with no money, and there are unhappy people with lots of money. How you feel is about how you are allowing the Source that is You to flow. So when we talk about the Art of Allowing, we’re talking about the art of living; about the art of thriving; about the art of clarity. We’re talking about the art of being who you really are.”
    ~ Abraham (Collective consciousness of Spirit as channeled by Esther Hicks; excerpted from the workshop in Ashland, OR on Saturday, July 20th, 2002)

     In essence, happiness is the natural outcome of spiritual development, of raising one’s vibration.

Finally, Growth is also mentioned as a factor in happiness:

  • “Life should be enjoyed, and we will teach people that life is fun, laughter, happiness and fearlessness. It is our intention to teach this as much as we can to those who wish to change and to learn [i.e., grow].”
    ~ Maitreya (Channeled by Margaret McElroy, Maitreya Newsletter, March 4, 2006)
  • “Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.”
    ~ Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973; U.S. novelist; Pulitzer Prize & Nobel laureate in literature)

     And what is “growth” besides finding harmony with one’s Higher Self?

  • “Each soul in its lifetime will go through happiness and joy, sadness and sorrow, all of it designed to help the soul to grow and move on.”
    ~ Maitreya (Channeled by Margaret McElroy, Maitreya Newsletter, October 12, 2009)

Happiness is not only a result of growth, it (along with unhappiness) is also a tool to achieve growth, or harmony with one’s Higher Self. Thus, Happiness and Growth are essentially synonymous.

In summary, the thoughts of all these people suggest that there are many ways to find Happiness in one’s life:

  • Discovering your Purpose in life
  • Serving Others
  • Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Living in the Present Moment
  • Detachment from things that make you unhappy and detachment from happiness itself
  • Trusting that all is well
  • Working to Find Harmony with Your Higher Self
  • Working to Grow in every aspect of your life, especially spiritual growth

There is much food for thought in these quotes, but the clear suggestion in all of them is that Happiness is our individual responsibility. It isn’t anyone’s job to make us happy. Only we, ourselves, can do that, and it is a choice. Think about it: ARE YOU REALLY HAPPY? If not, what are you going to do about it?

But what about the question of JOY? Is it different from happiness? If one is happy, do they also need joy? We’ll take up these questions next month.