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Happiness in an Inside Job
Posted: 9/17/2013 | Happiness Comments
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Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

Lasting happiness is the result of paying close attention to, and becoming conscious of, what's going on inside of us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It's all interconnected.

When we seek happiness only from sources outside of ourselves, it's a happiness that's temporary and fragile. It disappears in an instant if someone says something that upsets us or our circumstances change.

When we look for happiness in easy answers, and quick fixes, the instant solutions we find may feel great for a little while, but they usually can't be sustained. So we end up searching for another quick fix, and then another, all leading us to temporary happiness.

In our quest for happiness, if we jump over or bypass our problems and emotions using hard or soft addictions, spiritual states, philosophies and practices, excessive physical exercise, and over-intellectualizing, we experience tremendous inner conflict. Perhaps we don't even know we have an inner agitation causing us to want to avoid. The willingness to explore our unexamined shadow selves and unconscious mind begins to free us from the grip of what is unconsciously driving us.

Our potential for lasting happiness lies in the consciousness in which we hold life, with all of its burdens and pleasures. In our willingness to face the reality of our life, as painful as that might be at times, we have the chance to clean up our issues, and heal faster, and deeper. All this allows us to relax into the Grace that is always available.

Our problems, however unpleasant they may seem at the time, contain the unprocessed and unexamined thoughts and feelings that, if left alone, keep us from our lasting happiness. That's why the pain, emptiness, and longing we feel can be our greatest gift--it can motivate us to examine parts of ourselves that have been overlooked, forgotten, or hidden. It's the irritant of sand in the oyster, which is the impetus for the precious pearl.

There is psychological and spiritual work to be done, and it's our path to freedom and lasting happiness. Whenever we experience an inner discomfort in our life, often something from our past is being triggered. If we explore the pain arising in that moment, and see it's from the past, we'll eventually see beyond our everyday limitations. The alternative is to continue being triggered, acting out of our pain, and endlessly repeating the cycle. Until we address our past, it will keep rearing its painful head, asking for help and healing.

Lasting happiness comes when we can hold all our feelings, including grief, anger, loneliness, and shame. When we are able to meet what shows up in our lives, we will have strengthened our ego, and we can then relax and be truly happy. Otherwise, we remain afraid of life, painful feelings, and never actually realize all of our potentials.

As we willingly look at what arises, we begin to uncover our reservoirs of confidence, strength, courage, maturity, receptivity, optimism, and hope that lead to more fulfilling relationships, financial freedom, meaningful work, success, our passion and purpose, and the lasting happiness we've longed for.

Doing our inner work creates lasting changes that lead to lasting happiness.

The first chapter of my book is all about happiness. You can read it here.

Please share you thoughts about lasting happiness. Your comments make a difference for us all.


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