What is Happiness?
I propose that happiness is the state of well-being.
For me, well-being is a state in which I feel my needs are met, and/or being met in a way that is congruent with my core values; a state of functional balance in which I meet my needs, and I have the freedom to explore my wants.
I drew the picture of the clown (above) as a gift to Daniel and Dianna, from the Raw Brahs after a long conversation about life, learning, and looking out for authentic opportunities for growth – for life experience.
I chose to draw the rodeo clown because having ridden bulls and horses in the rodeo, I have a real appreciation for the clown.
The clown is typically painted up in a way that expresses joy, happiness, surprise, excitement, and magic. The rodeo clown maintains that magical presence in the midst of danger.
Isn’t it a beautiful paradox that the man who looks the silliest at the rodeo turns out to be the one person in the event that must maintain his composure and deal with life threatening challenges, all the while making it all seem natural and joyful!
For me, learning to be like the rodeo clown on a day-to-day basis, not just at a rodeo event, is what happiness really expresses. Our lives are very much like the rodeo:
– We project out thoughts of success or fear forward to events that haven’t happened yet.
– We never know when we will hit unexpected bumps or when we may get thrown off…
– People show up for what may be the most challenging event of their lives smoking, drinking, doing recreational drugs, and eating garbage food.
– Some ride a bull and realize they have the power to move mountains in their life if they just focus on their dreams.
– People get hurt. Sometimes they recover. Sometimes they die, but the rodeo still goes on…
– Like life, lots of people come and go at rodeos, but most of the people complaining chose to be there.
Having spent well over half my life as a therapist and coach, I can state with confidence that the majority of people I interact with and help professionally suffer from repeated states of what is sometimes referred to as false happiness.
In my Buddha’s Cage diagram above, each of the bars represents something that we’ve attached our sense of happiness to, but have come to realize isn’t serving us; is not contributing to our sense of well-being.
In PPS Success Mastery Lesson 2. Self-Management, I have my students recreate Buddha’s Cage, putting a bar on the cage for each physical, emotional, or mental limitation they admit they are imposing on themselves.
When we look honestly at our cage, and realize that we are the most responsible for having put them there, it really shines the inner-light on all the times we’ve complained about how our lives would be better if only so-and-so would just….
Love represents giving of energy, connection and resources, and receiving it to re-give it again, completing the cycle of love.
When we have core values and the way we life is life affirmative, we are not only taking energy and resources in from the environment outside and around us, we are putting that energy back.
When we create well-being for ourselves by living healthy core values, we condition the energy and experiences we return in such a way that we add love back into the equation.
For example, have you ever noticed the difference between the food made by someone that cooks “for a job”, and someone who cooks because “they love to cook”?
Have you ever purchased a product made by someone who loves their craft and compared it to something made in a factory by someone who is doing what they think they have to do instead of what they love to do?
In my professional experience, I’ve found that a huge amount of people’s inability to create sustainable happiness in their lives is because they allow themselves to be governed by other people’s opinions and expectations at the expense of their own.
For such people, the pain they attribute to their inability to create happiness in their lives is often a necessary birthing process. This isn’t the birth from one’s mother. It is the birth of an adult from the body-mind of a child.
We need others opinions as children because we don’t have enough knowledge and experience to form our own effectively. By the time we reach 21 years of age, we should have identified the majority of the differences between “mom and dad’s values” and what we choose to embody as our own.
If an individual is unable to make the transition from depending on other people’s opinions for its sense of safety and direction in the world, or sense of self-worth, there will be many bull rides in their days and nights.
The problem is that most people don’t have “a clown” to guide them as they start creating and riding bucking broncos.
Each of us has restrictions to our natural flow of life-force energy that make us unique, special, and novel creations. When we have had enough bull riding, flying around, bouncing off things, breaking things, and keeping the crowd in an uproar, we begin to establish values that serve to create sustainable happiness.
Along the way, we learn that sustainable happiness requires that we also have:
– Sustainable farming and healthy food sources
– Sustainable water supplies
– Sustainable inner-health
– Sustainable environmental health
– A sustainable practice for cultivating love, compassion and empathy for ourselves as we learn and grow, first to become human, and then to realize who and what we really are.
“But when the hope is to know God inclusively–to realize the Divine ground in the world as well as in the Soul, temptations and distractions must not be avoided, but submitted to and used as opportunities for advance; there must be no suppression of outward-turning activities, but a transformation of them so they become sacramental.”
–St. Bernard (Perennial Philosophy A. Huxley)
I chose to end with this quote because in my life, I’ve found that sustainable happiness emerges when we reach a level of awareness in which we realize that life, our life, the world, and the Universe are sacramental.
When you wake up each day and realize that “you are in the church, or the temple of LIFE”, and live in such a way that you can both enjoy yourself, yet add some beauty to the temple of life – leave the garden just a little more beautiful than when you came – then a natural willingness to take responsibility for your own happiness emerges.
When you drink from the Divine well of life and know it, you become more conscious of what you put into it before drinking!
Those of you who feel ready to take responsibility for creating your own happiness will find the following resources helpful:
1. PPS Lesson 1 (This lesson gives comprehensive training on developing your core values)
2. PPS Lesson 2. Self-management: (This lesson teaches you how to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are stopping you from having a clear, congruent mind-state and how to “wash your brain of mind viruses”.)
3. The Last 4 Doctors multimedia e-book: This program has training on how to establish basic core values and is a simple, essential explanation of my 4 Doctor Living Philosophy.
4. 7 Practical Ways of Turning Challenges into Successes (audio)
CATCHING UP FOR THE PAST 2 WEEKS…
Well, as many of you are surely aware, I haven’t been putting up blog posts for two weeks now. Unfortunately, we maxed out our blog memory, again… We’ve also been having all sorts of technical challenges with this current blog system, which has made it a lot of work for my staff and I to blog efficiently.
I’m very happy that we decided to buy a new blog system and are in the process of uploading all the software and making all the changes now.
It just happened that the blog crashed right when Penny was beginning to move the C.H.E.K Institute to the new location. She and all our staff were tied up moving boxes, furniture, hardware, and all the stuff that piles up after almost 10 years in one location.
As soon as Penny and the new office, and electronics are all settled and functional, we will launch our new blog site. I will be doing a lot more video blogging.
It’s been quite challenging for me to write my daily blogs during the week, and still meet all my business obligations. I love to share, and I feel it’s important to share what we can as a means of expressing our love to others.
I will now switch to more video for efficiency and I hope you enjoy my blogs in video and other formats as they emerge.
RECENT VISITORS in HEAVEN!
The other day, I was writing away at my desk early in the morning and all the sudden, I had the feeling I was being watched. I looked up and this beautiful Mule Deer was standing right in front of my window.
I had my phone right next to me, so I grabbed it and took some photos right through my window from my office desk.
When I got up and moved closer to the window, I saw that there were two deer traveling together. I have seen deer off in the distance, eating leaves from the trees in the orchard across the way, but this was the first time they came into the yard to visit when we were here.
Being able to see the amazing variety of wildlife: bobcats, coyotes, deer, snakes, hawks, ravens, buzzards and all sorts of daily visitors as I work each day, is Happiness! I first had to “choose” to be here!
I hope you enjoy creating your happiness each day as you draw love from your environment and put love back in.
Love and chi,
PS: If you are interested in expanding your own sense of happiness, please join me here in HEAVEN for my upcoming Zen in the Garden Workshop, May 25. It will be an awesome day and I’d love to share the practicalities of managing your fire to transform your challenges and create the freedom blocks for your life!