Happiness will always bring out the best in you. You were born to be happy. Happiness is natural. It suits you completely. You look good and you feel good when you let happiness ooze from within you. Your step is light, your mind is free, and your spirit soars when you let happiness happen. The whole world responds well to you. – Robert Holden
This book was originally published in 1998. * taking a pause while recalling happy memories… hmmm let me see… I was in my high school sophomore class and… I got caught by my adviser during our periodical exams copying answers from my seatmate *
Ok, don’t relive the past… Not advisable!
This reminds us that we can relive the past, but we can only live in the present moment. We can go back to happy memories, but we can only experience happiness NOW.
Almost 20 years have passed and it got me wondering about the people back then, who might have believed in the idea of some future happiness and if they have arrived at this moment NOW. Hope they do.
For as long as we wait for happiness, happiness waits on us too… Not advisable!
This is what Happiness NOW advises and reminds us of.
Now was your treasure island, and you believed wholeheartedly that happiness was here and now, waiting to be seen. The more you believed this, the more you would look; and the more you looked, the more happiness you found. Here is an important key to happiness.
Robert shares a story about a student’s encounter with a Zen master who’s noted for his happiness. The student wanted to learn how he can achieve everlasting happiness.
The first time he asked, the master replied: “Attention.”
The student asked what to do next, and to this, the master answered: “Attention. Attention.”
The student asked for the third time, the master said: “Attention. Attention. Attention.”
What does the happy Zen master mean? Attention is the important key to happiness. Without attention, happiness is nowhere; with attention, happiness is now here.
The next question is where are you putting your attention?
Robert tells us that more than what happens to us, our perceptions, our thoughts, our beliefs, and our overall response are essential.
Happiness is our response-ability. In essence, we are the real key to happiness!
Back to the NOW
You are, in any given moment, either remembering or forgetting about your unconditioned Self, your true spiritual identity. Nothing else is really happening.
To be or not to be, that is not the question. Because we can never not be happy, we can only either forget or remember Who We Really Are.
Healing is remembering and unhappiness is a symptom of forgetfulness.
So whenever you find yourself unhappy, remember what helps you to remember.
What is it that helps you to love, to be real? Be that. What sets your spirit free? Do that.
There’s a saying, “If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future.”
If you want to be happy, go back to the NOW, where happiness was, is, and always will be.
Confused, or Conditioned?
Our confusion is conditioned. It is learned. It is a forgetfulness. It is in no way inherent to our unconditioned Self. To the unconditioned mind, happiness is natural; to the ego, or conditioned mind, happiness is special. To the unconditioned mind, happiness is within; to the ego, everything good is outside. To the unconditioned mind, happiness is constant; to the ego, happiness never lasts. To the unconditioned mind, happiness is free; to the ego, happiness requires suffering, sacrifice, and payment.
Happiness is natural to the unconditioned mind. That’s why we can never not be happy. We are naturally happy beings.
Is it not the case when we’re happy, we feel so good but we think it’s wrong? We’re confused.
Actually, we’re not. We’re just conditioned.
In a world where suffering is normal, happiness is not considered natural. “You’re weird” if you’re happy.
To be happy, Robert says that we have to be willing to undo and unlearn our misperceptions, false conditions, and fearful beliefs.
“If you’re happy, and you know it, clap your hands.”
You’re weird… I like you! 😉
The #1 Happiness Principle
This principle states that unless you’re happy with yourself, you will not be happy. This principle quite clearly has some far-reaching implications. It is pivotal to the whole subject of happiness. To understand it better, it’s possible to divide the #1 Happiness Principle into four main parts. Each part throws light on the fundamental importance of Self-acceptance and inner peace for experiencing happiness now.
Unless you’re happy with yourself, you will not be happy.
There are four main parts that comprise this principle:
- What you do. If you see yourself as “not good enough,” whatever you do will also be “not good enough” to you. You may be the most successful person and yet still miserable. Why? Because no amount of “doing” can compensate for a lack of “being.”
- Where you are. The outside world is simply a reflection of you. How you see anything is how you see yourself. In the words of Immanuel Kant: “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” If you can be happy with where you are, you bring that happiness with you wherever you go.
- Who you are with. How you relate to yourself is how you will relate with others. Two lonely people in the world can only make Air Supply more successful (I’m a fan btw!), but they can’t be happy in their relationship. Happiness is our responsibility. It’s too much of a burden for someone else to make them responsible for our own happiness.
- What you have. Even if you have a signed copy of Air Supply’s Definitive Collection, and a selfie with them to post on Facebook so you can have more likes, they won’t make you happy. Happiness is not for sale. Instead of having more credit cards, give yourself credit. Max it out!
You Don’t Deserve It
The belief that happiness has to be deserved has no power, other than the power you give to it. The problem is, you’ve learned to give it a lot of power. This single thought not only reinforces your belief in guilt and unworthiness, but it also contributes to almost every other major fearful belief about happiness. It contributes, in particular, to the work ethic, the suffering ethic, and the martyr ethic—three ethics heavily endorsed by our society. From an early age, we are all spoon-fed beliefs about how important it is to work for happiness, suffer for happiness, and sacrifice for happiness. The good news, however, is that it takes only one loving belief to undo an entire belief system based on fear.
One of the conditioning we have unconsciously learned is the belief that happiness has to be deserved. This again implies and reinforces our “not-enough-ness” so we think in order to be happy, we need to work for it, we need to suffer for it, we need to sacrifice for it.
Happiness is free. You don’t need anything to be happy. You don’t deserve it. Instead, you choose it. You will it.
Willingness is all it takes to be happy. Your willingness to see that you’re worthy; to let go of your conditioned beliefs about happiness; and to accept that happiness is natural to who you really are.
Joy is happiness of the spirit. It is “true happiness” in that it always stays true. This is the happiness that goes with you wherever you go. Whereas physical pleasures and life satisfaction are born and then die, joy is eternal and timeless—it is happiness now. This joy is inward, it is deeply intimate, a part of the fabric of your soul, and it is the amazing grace of your spirit. As such, it is constant.
There are three types of happiness: (1) pleasure, (2) satisfaction, and (3) joy.
Robert defines them as follows: Pleasure is the happiness of the body; Satisfaction is the happiness of the world; and Joy is the happiness of the spirit.
Pleasure is a form of happiness that doesn’t exist on its own. It requires an external stimulus — your crush, for example. It’s also non-universal. To each his own. Robert likes Barry Manilow, I like Air Supply, you like One Direction… just another example.
Satisfaction is a form of happiness that depends on the “contents” of your world. There’s a reason for your happiness. You’re happy because…
Pleasure and satisfaction are both in this world of form (material). The third is not of it. It’s of the formless (spiritual). True Happiness is of the spirit — the Joy of being.
Pleasure is what you do (doing). Satisfaction is what you have (having). Joy is what you are (being).
You are a spiritual being having a human experience, among which are pleasure and satisfaction. They come and go. But what you are is constant. You can never not be happy.
You are always happy. You’re just not always aware of it.
“You don’t know oh-oh! You don’t know you’re beautiful.”
Unhappiness is Self-deception—it is not a truthful state. It has nothing to do with your joyous, loving, unconditioned Self; it has everything to do with the ego—the thought in your mind that believes that you’re small, separate, unworthy, in exile, and have every reason to be afraid. The ego, born of fear, sees no spirit, no happiness, and no hope.
Unhappiness and fear feel real, but they’re not. They appear to eclipse the joy of your spirit, but they cannot destroy the spirit. Your spirit lives on, always free, loving, and happy 100 percent of the time. Unhappiness happens when you wander away from your true Self and “lose spirit”; true healing is simply a return to spirit, a return to love, a return to truth, and a return to joy. In truth, then, pain runs deep, but joy runs deeper.
Always happy? Then why do I feel sad, angry, or depressed?
Sadness, anger, grief, and other unhappy feelings are emotions. Emotions are experiences. BUT they are not who you are.
You may be experiencing sadness, but you are not sadness. You may be experiencing depression, but you are not depression. You may be experiencing anger, but you are not anger.
These experiences are all valid. Don’t deny them. Be with them. BUT do not identify your Self with them.
That’s what the ego does if you’re not aware — Self-deception. It deceives you, making you believe you are your thoughts, your emotions, your experiences, your pain, your past, your story… every-thing you’re not.
Everything will come to pass, and what remains is the Happiness that is always there, as you always are.
Decision is power! Decision, above circumstance, is the key to happiness now. Know, therefore, that your decision counts. You really can decide what sort of a day to have today. In fact, you already have. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can happen without your decision.
Every moment offers us a choice. And in each moment we are making a decision to choose Happiness or not. From Start Right Where You Are, we learned that to decide means to cut or to kill the other.
This also implies the importance of awareness. If we’re not aware, we leave the decision-making to our conditioned mind run by old programs and beliefs that sabotage our happiness.
Upon waking, we’re already making that decision. But too often, we decide what to do rather than what to be. We choose human doing instead of human being.
From now on, let’s begin our day with being decisions over doing decisions.
Let’s choose to be happy, to be love, to be awesome all day everyday!
Complimentary Medicine Therapy
Compliments are affirmations. Like sacred greetings, they bless both the receiver and the giver. A good way to strengthen any joyful quality in yourself is to first spot it in others. What you spot in others, you give life to in yourself.
Find it hard to see the awesomeness in you? Try finding it in others!
My suggestion: your crush! Why? You must have seen a quality in that person that made you like them.
Guess what? Those awesome qualities are also present in you!
So turn it into a healing practice: “Complimentary Medicine Therapy” (CMT)
Buddhists refer to it as “Sympathetic Joy.”
There are 3 stages of CMT Robert wants you to try:
- Write down five compliments you would like to receive from anybody. Could be your talents, skills, or values that fit you.
- Think of someone in your life (other than your crush) you’d like to compliment. This shifts you from judgment to acceptance to love. List as many as you can.
- Think of a person you feel is overdue in giving you compliments. Then, give those compliments to them. When we withdraw love from others, we also withdraw love from ourselves. Give what you want to receive. Happiness blesses both the giver and the receiver.
Heal someone today!
Leap of Happiness
It is only once you’re willing to let go of your illusions that truth can unfold; it is only once you’re willing to let go of your pain that joy can take hold. It is only once you’re willing to let go of your grievances that peace will reign; it is only once you’re willing to let go of your limitations that you will be free again. Healing is a letting go.
Happiness is a great big letting go!
It all comes down to where you decide to place your trust. Your unconditioned Self is unreasonably joyful because it trusts unconditionally. Trust is proactive. Whatever you trust in fully— and that means both consciously and unconsciously—it must come to pass. If, therefore, you trust fully in joy, it must happen; if you trust fully in love, it must happen; if you trust fully in peace, it must happen.
True joy is trust. It is a trust that you are, in spirit, already free and already happy.
Robert says there are two choices we can make: let ego or let go.
Why is it hard to let go? Because to the ego, letting go feels like losing. It feels like happiness is such a big risk to take. So we choose to hold on to ego. We choose fear over love.
We refuse to let go of fear until we can see love. We won’t give up our defenses until we’re safe. We cling to the painful past until we’re sure of a bright future.
But the truth is, happiness is a letting go. We can see love if we’re willing to let go of fear. We’re safe when we’re willing to let go of our defenses. The future is bright if we’re willing to let go of the past.
In truth, we are only letting go of ego, an illusion. We are letting go of nothing for Happiness!
Ego asks “What if I fall?”
Happiness answers “What if you fly?”
So let go, fall in love, and trust that happiness will catch you.
Take the leap!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Holden, Ph.D., is the Director of The Happiness Project and Success Intelligence. His innovative work on happiness and success has been featured on Oprah and in two major BBC-TV documentaries, The Happiness Formula and How to Be Happy, shown in 16 countries to more than 30 million television viewers.
Visit him at: www.robertholden.org