‘Happiness is your natural state. You don’t have to do anything to acquire it, because you have it already’ says Anthony De Mello (one of my favourite spiritual teachers). So why don’t we feel that way then? I think a contributing factor might be that we apply an acquisition strategy to spirituality and self development. A ‘what can I gain from this’ mindset. A ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude. And so we go about ‘getting happiness’. We seek, we search, we look. Maybe it’s with that teacher with the big conferences, and they will share it with me. Perhaps it’s in this book, that book, this podcast. Oh, wait, what if it’s on a yoga Retreat, and I can get me some more happiness over there…
Happiness though is truly within us. And it always surprises and delights us when it’s available. And it’s not always at the moment we originally thought. I’m sure like you, some of my happiest moments have been my most humble. When I got married to my husband at an extravagant wedding that we hid as a huge engagement party, one of the happiest parts was when we were back at our hotel eating hot chips and club sandwiches in bathrobes. When my daughter recently broke her arm, and that sent out holiday plans sideways, some of our happiest moments were not on that planned hotel get away by the pool, but tucked up in bed watching Seinfeld at 10am, or laughing our heads off at the hospital because I got physically stuck in a security door.
Once we realise happiness is ours, we can stop the search, and just get about the business of removing all the barriers to that inner world and supply. I love a yoga retreat, I love a good book, I look an inspiring podcast, but they are all there to REMIND us and reacquaint us with our existing happiness, not give us an external dose of it.