I know, this is a difficult question to start with. Many people talk about happiness but how often do we really reflect on whether we are happy and satisfied with the life we lead? On top of that, what is happiness after all? It is such an abstract concept and it can mean so many different things to so many different people. My own concept of happiness has changed over the years. Happiness is no longer a target, a place, a person or a result. Happiness is the way; it became part of reality by itself. It is always available because I no longer equate happiness with a distant destination. I now see it as a state which like sadness may fluctuate in intensity but is always present and available as long as I consciously choose to tap into it.
I can’t say this is the best way to approach life. I believe, however, this change in my perception has helped me a lot with reducing suffering and unnecessary misery, because I choose to look at my thoughts and emotions as a constant stream or flow of energy. They come and they go, and I have the switch to manage this flow, which gives me inner peace. In other words, I act based on the assumption that you have to have some rain to see a rainbow unfold in the sky, and you ought to experience the negative in order to savour and cherish the goodness in both life and in people.
Can you imagine if we were happy all the time, and if suffering didn’t exist? We wouldn’t learn about the full spectrum of human nature and experience. Nonetheless, I also believe we aren’t meant to suffer endlessly and just for the sake of suffering. That’s an old misinterpretation of the meaning of suffering, much imposed and spread by Religion in general. The old story tells you that Man fell out of a supposed paradise or sacred place due to sinful actions and, therefore, we are all “stuck” on Earth paying for that and that’s why there is suffering. This sounds very sadistic to me and it doesn’t resonate with me. I believe, however, that we experience high contrasts throughout life not as a punishment but as a way to learn that challenges and hardships are road signs which, if well interpreted, lead us to find our way “home”.
And what is “home”? Home is that beautiful place in which you are who you are, fearlessly, and where you feel safe to follow and pursue your intuition and inner voice. We have been purposely disconnected from our inner wisdom as a way to be easily controlled and conditioned by a social system which demands blind obedience to a set of rules, norms and traditions in the name of social cohesion. To follow this system, you must be disconnected from your own needs and natural aspirations, which can only speak to you through intuition or that gentle inner voice that you were made believe to be wrong or silly. It is about time, however, that we reconnect with our whole self.
To put it in another way, it is time to be – and to be is to witness the incredible connection between our thoughts, emotions, and actions as well as the value of being whole. Once we realise everything is deeply connected and interwoven, that our energy influences others and vice-versa, our perceptions of reality shift and we finally have the chance to be truly empowered as a species. We no longer perceive ourselves as limited and separated beings. We realise instead that we are part of something much bigger. I find it beautiful that “home” happens within us when we understand we are more than what we physically see with our eyes and standard senses. Home is the return to a deeper connection with the whole and the major organising principle of everything. The more we follow our intuition and inner guidance, the more we hit that blissful state and “place”.
As we keep learning to listen and tune into ourselves, home becomes more and more anchored in the present moment, until it eventually becomes our default mode once again. The biggest challenge or opposing force is, I believe, the pervasive programming we have been all subjected to as a species in the modern time. Instead of empowering each other’s full potential, we have been taught that we have not the capacity to teach ourselves, and that only logic and reason are the golden standard to make decisions in life. Nothing could be further from truth.
Intuition is the capacity to teach ourselves and to use our inner guidance in that process. Such wisdom allows us to know where to go next. So, let’s go back to my initial question. Are you happy? Don’t answer it based on what society and your family told you happiness was. Find your own meaning of happiness by looking within and by paying attention to that subtle form of intelligence which is your intuition. Deprogram your mind and heart. Get rid of automatic behaviours and start questioning your own motives. What makes your life worthwhile? What makes you alive? And most of all, how can you get rid of old beliefs and stored negative emotions which only keep you stuck in a black and white movie version of life? Turn the world off for a moment and go within. You will be surprised by the power of connecting both your heart and brain’s wisdom.