This question was posed at a spiritual retreat I attended this weekend. No one answered as the conversation shifted to other topics, but perhaps like many complicated questions of importance, the asking may matter more than the answering. Of course, it got me thinking.
It’s easy to feel happy when things are going well. Or at least it should be easy. Still, people often find ways to complain about life when they have home, health, companionship, comfort, freedom and more. Imagine those who are happy that have much less. Imagine those who lose basic comforts but remain happy. The experience of happiness is clearly more subjective than objective.
Is happiness in your life dependent on what you have, or is it sourced deeper? Does your happiness spring from a deep aquifer or does it flow near the surface – a shallow stream that is easily dammed or re-directed?
Deep happiness doesn’t feed from success, possessions or external stimuli. Deep happiness is a state of the soul. It comes from recognizing and letting go of circumstances beyond one’s control. It doesn’t become weighted by petty dramas or scandal. It thrives on universal connectivity. Deep happiness is to be at peace in a way that external circumstances can’t alter. It’s a quiet stillness at the core that is grounding and inspires gratitude. It’s a hard-won trust in feeling like a part of the ecosystem of life.
Life will always be challenging, but through groundedness it can become easier to see what isn’t worth the effort. The toxic relationships. The things that will never change. Forces beyond influence. Cease the shadow boxing and improve what is within reach. It may very well be that the only thing within reach is yourself, and that’s okay. Get beneath the noise and find your quiet core.
Being fully in control of oneself means controlling one’s perception of the world, one’s attitude, one’s outlook. On the individual level, you have just changed the world by focusing on the only think that you can change: yourself. Carry the peace with you at your core, and let it emanate from you like a ripple. Drink from it as a deep pool, let it spring forth.
How deep is your happiness? How deep can you go beneath the noise?