Looking at a Larger Reality:
WHAT IS THE SOURCE
OF YOUR HAPPINESS?
I appeared the other day on a globally broadcast panel discussion with Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith and Bishop Carlton Pearson and we were asked a series of extremely interesting questions. I thought it might be fun to share a couple of them:
- What is the secret of happiness?
- What is the meaning of life?
In answer to the first question I told our interviewer, “The secret of happiness is not to require it.”
My answer to the second question: “The meeting of life is the meaning we give it.”
Let’s take a look at the first of these responses here, and see if you agree.
I have learned in my dialogue with God that happiness is not something to be sought-after it is something that we are. It is our inherent nature. It is our deep identity. Is a word we have given to an energy that we feel in a certain way.
This energy is the fundamental energy of the universe. It is the primal force. It is the Essential Essence. It can be called by many names. Love is one of them. Happiness is another.
Because happiness is who we are, any effort to find it or to seek it is, essentially, on its surface a denial of our True Identity. By denying that identity, we push its manifestation further away from us.
I happen to wear glasses, and if you are a person who also wears glasses, I am sure that you and I have shared a common experience at least once in our lives. I am sure that at least once you and I have gone looking for our glasses while we were wearing them.
This is a classic example of ignoring what is true even as we are looking for what is true. It is an example of seeking that which we cannot find no matter how hard we try, because we are looking for something that we already have. We won’t find our glasses anywhere because we are looking right past them — indeed, right through them — in our effort to find them.
In the same way, we cannot possibly find happiness if we are looking outside of ourselves, because it is inside of ourselves that happiness resides ––– for the clear and simple reason that happiness is we are.
The best way to experience happiness, then, is to express it. To “express” means to push out, squeeze out, press out. It does not mean “to take in.” Happiness is not something that we gather, it’s something that we spread. And if we spread it wherever we go, we find ourselves experiencing it at a higher level than we might ever have thought possible.
Happiness is not something that comes to us, it’s something that comes through us. I know this sounds elementary, but I’m going to share it anyway. Happiness does not come from things. Proof of this can be found by simply observing the life of people who have acquired many things and are still unhappy.
As I said, I know that sounds simplistic and maybe even a little preachy, but it must be said nonetheless if we are to explore this topic. Because if we are to both learn and experience the secret of happiness, we must start at the beginning.
Happiness does not arise from something outside of us. It emerges from something inside of us — sometimes as our reaction to that which is outside of us, and sometimes as our creation of that which we would like to see outside of us.
Let me tell you about the highly New Age hot dog vendor on Coney Island. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He goes around saying to people, “I’m the New Age Hot Dog Vendor. Let me make you one with everything.”
People smile and say, “Okay, make me one with relish, lettuce, onions, pickles, mustard, and catsup.” He does, then hands it to them. Then he charges them a crazy amount, like $7.77, so that no one can hand him precisely what he wants. When they give him a $10 bill, or two 5’s, he thanks them, turns and wheels his cart away.
“Hey!” the people inevitable say, “where’s the change?”
“Change,” the vendor announces, “must come from within.”
So must happiness. When we imagine it to be coming from outside of us, it can disappear almost as fast as it arrives. When it originates inside of us, it remains with us much longer. Indeed, it can remain with us for a lifetime. Or certainly, for most of the moments of a lifetime.
How to experience the happiness that is naturally who we are, how to find the happiness that resides within, remains the key question for many, many people. We’ve already supplied the answer here. Give it away.
There is a second way as well.
Gratitude. And we’ll talk about that next. I’m going to explore this topic of happiness over the next several entries here. It is intriguing and even perplexing to many. I’ve been asked by more than a few people to really dive into it.
I’m happy to do so.