How to Find Happiness

Posted on November 19th, 2012

Finding happiness in life is much easier than flying a kite—it doesn’t depend on external conditions. Even a skillful kite flyer can’t get a kite up in the air unless the conditions are right. On a windless day, kites can’t even leave the ground, never mind soaring into the sky.

Finding happiness isn’t like that. It is entirely within your own power, independent of external circumstances.

People are often unaware of this. Instead, we use our energies searching for happiness through pursuing the right conditions—success in a career, more money (lots more!), the perfect partner, a bigger home, a faster car, a more exotic vacation, prestige or fame, building an impressive image through doing good works.

These can all be reasonable goals, and they do offer satisfactions. But they have little relation to happiness, except for the brief pleasure of achieving a goal, which disappears quickly. If you follow this path with too much dedication—seeking greater and greater accomplishments—you will end up chasing dreams which yield less and less happiness. Instead, you are likely to feel the anxiety of having to maintain the position you have acquired.

The key to finding happiness isn’t reaching for more. Instead, happiness comes from seeing what you already have in a different way.

The easiest way to appreciate this difference is to imagine that everything in your life is only on loan to you for the moment. It’s all still here, but you don’t own it; it’s only here right now. This means, for example, rather than thinking of your home as a possession, an extension of yourself, experiencing it as something immediately present in your life, for you to use and to enjoy. From the appreciation of this, happiness grows.

This will work even when external circumstances aren’t going the way you want them to. The next time you’re stuck in traffic, rather than getting caught up in frustration or anger, accept your fate of the moment and find what’s enjoyable about it for you, even if this is only the view out the window.

You’re still in the same position you were in, but try this and the world around you will begin to light up, a magical presence which is here for you right now, to be enjoyed in its full beauty and freshness. There is great freedom in this way of seeing, and happiness arises spontaneously.

Posted in Change | Individual Counseling

Please remember, this is a blog. It is not psychotherapy or treatment of any kind and is not a substitute for the individual treatment you can get from going to see a good therapist.