BUILDING A LIFE OF HAPPINESS
A Six-Week Online Workshop
Before we take our final step, let us ask ourselves one question: what is this state of happiness we so desire? If each of us were to take stock, we'd probably find love, material wealth, good health, and the opportunity to make something of ourselves, at the top of the list of things we need to be happy.
We want it all, but more often than not, some element always appears to be missing. We have the money but not the love, the opportunities but not good health – and greater numbers of us are finding ourselves without any of the above. Why? Because we have lost the art of opening to receive.
Step Six: Letting abundance in.
Life is all about learning and growing, and every experience will encourage us to do precisely that.
We are like nature’s trees, however: none of us were intended to grow in the same way. Some of us were designed to grow as effusively as the beautiful bougainvillea, or as sturdily as the dependable oak, while others were designed to stand tall like the flexible coconut tree, or to be petite and accessible like the nourishing wild blueberry. So, we must seek our own paths to happiness.
Let's start by redefining the key ingredients:
Society so stridently associates love with that of an intimate relationship with a partner, that many of us feel unfulfilled if we can't find one particular person to share a rewarding life with. Love is the breath of life. We need it to exist. Paradoxically, though, when we spend all our time searching for a 'soulmate', or trying to mold a partner, who falls short, into the ideal of a 'soulmate', we may actually end up thwarting our own efforts.
Here is how it works: If we're not in an intimate relationship, or we're in an unsatisfactory one, we become frustrated, unhappy, and lonely. These energies then close our heart centres, and once our hearts are closed, love can't find a way in. So, what can we do?
Redefinition: Love is everywhere. Look around you.
- When we take nature walks, we can actually feel our heart centres opening up, as love flows out of us to the beauty we perceive around us. Believe it or not, love is actually flowing into us as well, when we feel nourished by the flowers and trees. Press your cheek against a tree, or touch a flower. Drink in nature's offerings.
- When we go out and willingly share our lives with others – with family and friends in need, troubled youth, abandoned elders – our hearts blossom with the flow of love, and where love flows, happiness follows.
- Love is also highly magnetic. When love surrounds you, it is much easier to attract the things you desire, including that special person you may be seeking.
Tuesday: Be open to receiving love from any source.
John buys a 40" HDTV, and he's happy with its size and clarity, until he visits a neighbour and find out he has a 50". Suddenly the 40" no longer satisfies, so he digs into his savings and buys a 52". Again, he's happy – until he visits a colleague and finds out she has a 60" HDTV. How many of us have found ourselves in this endless cycle of dissatisfaction with our possessions?
Until we understand the difference between material wealth and material possessions, that restlessness is likely to persist.
Redefinition: A material possession becomes material wealth only if it satisfies the following criteria:
- Whether we have five houses, ten cars, and a couple of airplanes, or simply a cottage by the sea, it is the essence of the possession that brings us joy and not the object itself.
- We can only be content with life, if we are content with who we are. If we are happy with ourselves, possessions which add to that happiness become material wealth.
Wednesday: Focus on the essence of your possessions - the reason behind your desire for them. Keep them only if they add to your happiness.
The conventional wisdom is that opportunities are lucky breaks. How many times have we been in the right place at the right time and thought, Wow, that was sheer luck? Well, it wasn't. The fact of the matter is, opportunities come about as a result of the choices we make.
Redefinition: Opportunities in life come by creation, not by chance.
- Sri Paramahansa Yogananda
- If we want to make something of ourselves, we must take the first step towards that goal . . . and the second . . . and the third, with the full knowledge that every step we take is leading us towards an opportunity waiting in the wings.
Thursday: Consciously take those steps. Trust.
I've left this for last, but it is the most important ingredient after love, because if we're not healthy, the rest won't matter. There is little I can say on this score that Dr. Oz hasn't said already, but I will say this much: we take better care of our cars than we do of our bodies. We wouldn't put bad gas, or cheap oil in our 'babies', or forget to top up the transmission fluid. Yet many of us dump 'bad gas' and 'poor oil' into our bodies without a second thought, and even though we're aware that our bodies are over 60% water, most of us forget to top up regularly.
We should really say, Thank you, thank you, thank you! to our bodies. These 'living vehicles' will give us more mileage than a car, even when we take less care of them. When they do eventually begin to fall apart, we find all kinds of excuses: Its part of the aging process, good health is only for the young, or, we're genetically disposed to ending up as scrap rather than vintage in our golden years.
Redefinition: Good health can be attained at any stage of life.
- Our bodies have an incredible capacity to heal and regenerate, if given the right environment in which to do so. A regime of regular stretching (flexibility = youthfulness), cardio exercise (our bodies were made to be in constant motion), fresh food (clean fuel), and time out with nature (to cool our teeming minds) will turn that clock back. How far depends on our commitment.
Friday: Let us all make a conscious effort to honour our bodies by treating them the way they were meant to be treated.
From Saturday onwards, go out and live what you've learnt about yourselves!
We have the power to bring abundance into our lives!
Let's use it!
Questions or comments welcomed*
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