This is an article that has been cooking for a little while now but a couple of recent triggers have called time and asked that this be shared.
One was the reminder of a quote from the wise Thich Nhat Hanh: “There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way”. The other was an event which affected my old home town a couple of days ago.
The quote from Thich Nhat Hanh is true, to an extent. Happiness is the way, but we do also have to find our way to ‘the way’. Our journey to reconnect with happiness is our way to the way, which can feel challenging at times. Certain conditions, such as neurological issues, can affect our reconnection but that is another article in itself.
When prompted to ask more from the wise and generous Animal Realm about “What is happiness?” they began by showing me that it is a combination of more than one thing.
It is emotion, feeling and experience. Happiness is a state of existence encompassing these emotions, feelings and experiences. Pleasure and joy can incorporate and be created by each of these, individually or combined, but happiness is more a state of being, an existence.
Many of us think we know happiness. We have all experienced moments which have made us happy and, when reconnecting with those memories at a later time, we reconnect with the emotion of that moment, but is that real inner happiness? The Animals explained that there is more to it than that.
[On a brief side-note: the words joy and happiness are often interchanged and there is a difference between the two. I will share how they have been explained to me, with happiness as a state of existence and joy more of a temporary emotion connected with an experience. They can often be understood the other way around, with joy being the deeper of the two. Whichever resonates with you, go with that. They are words, designed for the purpose of communicating how we feel. For the purpose of us actually experiencing the two, it doesn’t make a difference what we call it, the experience still exists as it is meant to.]
When people share “I just want to be happy” they can often be searching for an external stimulant which may come in the form of travel, a partner, child, job, home etc. Whatever it is, there is a ‘thing’ which becomes a target or goal to reach. That’s when happiness is often mistakenly adopted as a ‘thing’ to obtain. The search for the elusive ‘happy thing’ to bring us happiness can then become a one-lifetime or multiple-lifetime mission. To expect one obtainable item to be our ticket to happiness is when many people, instead, discover disappointment.
If we are not truly happy, the illusion of happiness will continually shift its identity.
It’s not that those targets and goals will never help us achieve happiness. They can be what our Soul is requesting for us to fulfil our purpose which then helps us reconnect with true happiness, but for them to ‘bring us’ happiness is a thought process which requires shifting. It implies we want to passively receive happiness instead of actively utilising these tools and experiences to rediscover it.
Our place of happiness exists because we choose to allow it to, not because something, or someone, triggered an emotion or feeling. That is joy, the quick fix. Joy can sometimes distract us from acknowledging, nurturing and developing that deeper level of existence in happiness and it may become addictive.
We adapt our human needs and live for that spike of emotion, using it as an energetic plaster to cover and hide deeper emotional wounds and our Soul’s needs.
Through the process of releasing belief constraints, fears, allowing love and establishing boundaries, we heal those deep wounds and find no further need for plasters. We simply enjoy the joyous moments while existing in true, inner happiness.
Happiness is an existence in love. When we are deeply happy, we connect with the love for ourselves, everyone and everything around us. Joy comes from, and can fluctuate with, external influences, gratifications and pleasures, which are all experiences intermingled with happiness but only fleeting.
Moments of joy, thrills and excitement throughout life will provide a fix we feel we are needing but our search for happiness will continue after the effects of that experience have worn off. Other moments in life will resonate deeply within us and they are the ones to recognise as experiences for developing our true happiness.
While chatting, the Animals suggested to see happiness as flowers in a vase of water with the vase as our physical body and the water our energetic, or inner self. If we allow the water to become stagnant or the vase to empty, the flowers will wilt and die. They have nothing to nourish them. If we neglect ourselves and forget to nourish ourselves from within, we leave nothing to nurture our happiness.
The key to happiness is in recognising which moment acts as a plaster and which waters our flowers.