For many years, I simply wasn’t happy. On the surface, however, I had everything. Good health. A thriving business. A few good friends. Good family life. I see clearly now why I wasn’t happy though….
I tied my happiness to external things and events.
I wasn’t authentic.
I wasn’t growing spiritually.
I was tethered to outcomes and expectations.
I was attached to other people’s behavior and acceptance.
I wasn’t in control of my own narrative — meaning I didn’t understand how to have power over my thoughts.
In other words, everything that determined my life state was OUTSIDE of me. Through my embrace of Buddhism, mindfulness, minimalism, meditation and yoga, I learned the real secret to happiness…it’s all INSIDE!
My life now is 180 degrees different as a result of obtaining this knowledge. I now have a wonderful friend network. I love my work. I pursue hobbies and new learning that I find interesting. I live every day as it’s my last. I understand the power of controlling my thoughts and am easily able to acknowledge them and gently send them on their way.
One of the most important discoveries for me has been the power of surrendering. That we really aren’t in control of our lives in an external sense. That whether you call it God, The Universe, Buddha, etc…has a plan for us that we simply can’t, or shouldn’t, try so hard to control but to surrender to it. And that the more you do so, you see the beauty of how your life and those around you simply unfolds. It’s never without suffering or pain, but relaxing the control we all try and place on these events can bring less stress and much more happiness. In addition, if you do look for the meaning and lessons in each of these situations, you will see they are real opportunities for self growth. I also believe that life is governed by cause and effect and the laws of karma so choosing to be happy, kind, healthy, full of gratitude and compassion, only attracts those things to you.
I have many friends and people I love who sadly aren’t happy. They were me a few years ago. And I see it in their faces. I hear it in their words. They make reference about a spouse who says or acts in a way they don’t appreciate. Their work isn’t fulfilling. They are easily disappointed with others. Their expectations of the way things should be is never met. Their life state is dominated by negative thoughts.
It’s why I started writing this blog. To share the things I have learned to maybe then have some small influence in people’s thinking and to help spur some changes in their lives, leading to more joy, gratitude and happiness.
But I am just one guy, on my own journey, and doing my best to lead a happy life. So when I find and discover something that is so much bigger, more meaningful and even deeper than my own words and life experiences can articulate, I find it important to share.
I recently re-watched two documentaries, Happy and Happy People, which I was so moved and inspired by and I wanted to share them with you. I remember watching them when they first came out a few years ago, and because I wasn’t in this current life state, I think that, while I enjoyed them, I wasn’t in a position to really get the message. But when I watched them again, it really, really hit home.
Both documentaries show how living a simple life with minimal “things” but maximum joy and laughter…how doing things you love and living with compassion…how being kind and having friends…is really the secret to happiness.
I hope you will watch them. And if you saw them already, maybe think about the way I viewed them the second time and hopefully it will lead to some breakthroughs for you in your search for happiness. After all, you don’t have to look too far to find the answers to living in a true state of happiness — they are with you right now inside waiting to be discovered.