When I did a search to see if I could find anyone who talked about this, I came across some works of the Dalai Lama and the ‘Art of Happiness’. Where he stated that even though our happiness is influenced by what we have and what happens to us, the source of long term happiness in mental. Being that it is mental, the most effective way to seek happiness is by training our minds, which is a gradual, life-long process. “The practice of Dharma is a constant battle within, replacing previous negative conditioning or habituation with new positive conditioning. ... Through training we can change; we can transform ourselves." [page 43]
The ‘Death’ involved is the death of limiting beliefs, thought patterns, behaviours, things that we have always done in the past. We all have a certain method of operation that was developed along this journey of ‘growing up’. For the most part, it has served us well, as I assume that we are all (for the most part lol) well-adjusted members of society. We get dressed, go about our days, do some work, feed ourselves, have relationships, take care of our loved ones, provide for ourselves and compared to some areas of the world, we really have nothing to complain about. But are we truly Happy?
I like to people watch, whether I am in a restaurant, in the park, walking down the street, in the grocery store, on public transit or wherever…..Observation is one of my strongest skills (has been since I was a kid), and I like to watch how people conduct themselves and relate to those around them and I have to say……..the majority of the behaviour and interaction that I see is NOT that of a Happy society……..and I used to be right in the middle of all of that.
When you think about how the path of your life has been going up until this point, I can’t help but cue up Dr. Phil with his famous, “How’s that working out for ya?”…….when I actually took some time and looked at how things were going in my life and asked myself that question…….it wasn’t working out that great. Sure I had a career, I survived a failed marriage, I had friends, I had a decent relationship with my family members, I owned my own condo, paid my bills, did volunteer work……..but at the end of the day, when I came home at night, when I was truly honest with myself…….I wasn’t happy. I felt empty, alone, unfulfilled, desperate for change, but what? When I allowed myself to feel those feeling, then I would get that part of my mind nattering at me, “what are you complaining about? Look at all that you have! There are people around the world that would kill for what you have.” So I would feel guilty for thinking that way, and push it aside and continue with my regular M.O……..and I think that most of us get caught in that trap.
It took a catastrophic event for me to actually STOP and realize that I could not continue down this path that I was on……..and I truly hope that you don’t have to get to that point, as I wouldn’t want to wish that on anyone…….but I want to encourage you to take stock of your life. Put aside all the things that you have accomplished, all the material things that you have worked hard for and accumulated, all the ‘trappings’ of life and just look inwards……..what do you feel? Sit quietly, close your eyes and ask yourself, “what am I feeling?”…..and then just listen….What are the first words that pop into your head? Don’t force it….just let the words and emotions bubble up. Keep going until you feel empty…….maybe even set your phone to record as you say what each word is as it comes up, in case you really get on a roll! What were your predominate words? Were there words that came up several times? Did the words have emotions attached to them? After looking at that list, how do they reflect what is going on in your life? Does your emotional world match or is it at conflict with how you show up physically in the world?
If you cannot say that you are truly living a life of pure happiness, in EVERY aspect of your life, then I would suggest that maybe you want to take a look at that. Maybe you have some old thought patterns, limiting beliefs and behaviours that are ready to be put to rest. Are you ready for those negative aspects that have been controlling how you show up in the world, to be put to ‘death’? Are you ready to see what life can be like after that ‘death’?
I have seen a lot of people say, “just BE Happy!”…….sure, you can put on a happy face, and act like everything is perfect……..but what does that prove? I did that for decades, and it nearly actually killed me. Living a life of integrity, where what I say, do and believe are all in alignment, is SO important to me now and I encourage you to do the same. Once we deal with all the mental and emotional “stuff” that has accumulated over the years, and do the work to release it, all that is left is Happiness…….as that is our true essence.
Over the last couple of years, I have done a lot of personal work on my own, and have had great results in changing how I think, believe and perceive the world, but I know that I have some deeper limiting thoughts and beliefs still holding me back, those programs that are constantly running in my mind and I am SO ready for them to go to their ‘deaths’. So over the next little while, I am looking forward to some mental and emotional ‘funerals’ happening, as I work with someone who is highly trained at helping people move past their ‘stuff’ and discovering their Excellence. I cannot wait to see what life will hold after these ‘deaths’ occur.
I am looking forward to the ‘rest of my life, being the BEST of my life!’