First things first: Can you be happy NOW? The short answer is YES, you can. The long answer starts with defining what happiness is not and what it really means to be happy.
Happiness is not a place you arrive at.
Happiness is not something you achieve.
Happiness is not an occasion or an event.
Happiness is not the result of a certain amount of money in your bank account or a luxury car parked in your fancy house.
Happiness is not associated with weight or body mass index.
Happiness is not about whom you’re married to.
Happiness is not a feeling.
Now that we are clear on what happiness is not…
What is happiness?
Happiness is a state.
The dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy.”
According to Wikipedia, happiness is “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
And in the Bible, happiness is a commandment to get in a state of “good cheer.“
The Dalai Lama says that seeking happiness is the purpose of life. And I think we’re all on the same page. We’re all seeking happiness in one way or another.
I can’t count how many times I’ve just been so frustrated, felt so hopeless, and found myself exclaiming in pure suffering: “I just want to be happy!”
Can you relate?
Since “state” is defined as “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time,” it is easy to seek the state of happiness in the wrong places:
Possessions and Purchases
Paychecks or Profits
Prominence and Prestige
As a Student of Pain, I’ve realized that none of these “sources of happiness” were effective. Maybe you’ve tried them, like I have, and also realized that they did not yield any true hope nor healing , and instead, these fleeting external factors actually brought intensity to the pain we were already in.
Happiness does not come from the outside in, it actually radiates from the inside out. As many would say, “happiness is an inside job.“
Is happiness a choice?
Since we are all seeking happiness and can’t seem to find it, it may seem to simple to decide that happiness is a choice. Right?
Let’s be real for a minute. That sounds too easy – and if it were that easy, we’d all be happy.
I mean, when I’m in pain, I can’t just flip a switch and say “I’m happy now,” and BAM! I’m hopeful, happy, and healed.
What I’ve found is that what is definitely a choice is the deliberate practice of happiness.
If you’re thinking “What does that even mean, Elayna?,” you’re saying exactly what I would tell myself as I lay on my bed after days of depression and isolation when that thought would pop into my head.
In that moment, I did not believe I could choose to be happy about it, but I could choose something that would put me in a state of true happiness. You know, engage my senses into something that would put me in a different state.
Your happiness practice involves everything about how you live your life. When you live with clarity, focus, direction, and alignment with your passions
, your core values
, and your soul’s purpose.
Live Your Life by Tecumseh
Besides writing the “Live Your Life” poem, Chief Tecumseh (Tecumtha or Tekamthi) was a Native American mystic, warrior, and powerful leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy that opposed the United States during Tecumseh’s War and the War of 1812.
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
12 Ways To Live Your Life
When you live your life by a code that aligns with the divine being you truly are, you can be your own source of happiness.
What I realized is that Tecumseh’s poem shows at least 12 ways to live your life so that no matter what the conditions or circumstances, you can actually choose happiness in a moment.
Let’s go through them one by one!
Beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long.
Make service your purpose.
Prepare for death.
Always greet others.
Honor the presence of others.
Practice daily gratitude.
Live so you don’t have any regrets.
It’s so great that Tecumseh’s guidelines apply to every human being, and as you may have already noticed (because you’re enlightened like that!), there are others that are specific to you.
Your assignment today is to write down the 12 ways you will choose to live by so you can live a life you love and experience more happiness, for no reason, even if it doesn’t make sense, and even when life isn’t positive and it has to be a choice.
How will you live your life so you can be happy now? Share with us in the comments below!