You might’ve heard the story of the guy walking down the street and sees another guy looking for something by the side of the road. “Hey” the first guy says,”What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for my keys”, says the other guy.
“Let me help you! Where did you see them last?”
“In my house.”
“Um, so why you are looking for them out here?”
“There’s more light out here.”
Seems like a silly story, yet it’s what all of us do. We seek for the keys to happiness and fulfillment everyplace but in our own house.
Here are some quotes, from people you’ve heard of:
Lee Iacocca, past president of Ford and Chrysler: “Here I am in the twilight years of my life, still wondering what it’s all about…I can tell you this, fame and fortune are for the birds.”
Jim Carrey: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
Elvis Presley: “All my life I wanted a Cadillac and now I have a whole fleet of them and they don’t mean a thing.”
These quotes don’t relay the message that you shouldn’t pursue material success or an abundant lifestyle, but they do indicate that those things don’t guarantee happiness.
We know that money doesn’t buy happiness.We know that “new stuff” provides a short period of distraction and pleasure but ultimately leaves us unfulfilled. We all have some sense, I think, that happiness and peace come from within. Why do we search for it everyplace else?
The answer: we search for happiness and fulfillment in the material world because it’s what we are most familiar with. We are trapped by the hypnosis of the culture which says that if we aren’t happy, something in the world outside of us has to change. From the moment we leave the womb, we are taught that the way to inner fulfillment is to seek outer well being. And the reason there is such insecurity, fear and unhappiness, is because the outside world will surely, always, absolutely do one thing, guaranteed: it will change. We fear that if our external circumstances change, we will lose our happiness.
We are all in hypnosis; we have all been hypnotized to believe that our happiness depends on what we do or what we have. Yet, in spite of all our technological developments, in spite of the incredible abundance of our culture, in spite of the plethora of activities, distractions and recreations that we can involve ourselves in, the number of people that can say they are happy is no greater than it was in 1955, about 30% of those asked.
That’s because happiness is a state of being, not a state of doing.
Happiness is Self Generated
Happiness is a subject that has been studied by folks with brains much bigger than that which I possess, and who hold much greater learning and experience. I am not qualified to tell you how to be happy. But from my own experience, I can offer this: prolonged happiness is self generated; it comes from within.
If this is true, then we must look within.Not just once, during crises, or when we are taking a seminar or reading a book, but constantly, ongoingly, as a continuing process of personal self development.
What you do can contribute to your happiness, can affect it, but ultimately, your happiness will come from making decisions based on your daily decision that happiness is what you want. Furthermore, you must decide for yourself what happiness means: peace, bliss, joy, absence of conflict, etc.
To work on oneself is quite distasteful to many; they consider a waste of time. Some only go there when they have reached absolute rock bottom and there is no other place to look for relief from pain and suffering.
Yet, I would suggest that this is our very reason for being. To know ourselves, completely and fully. It is in the face of the universal experience of pain and suffering that we are given the opportunity to attend to our inner selves. We ask ourselves, in our bleakest and darkest nights of the soul, “I am so unhappy, what can I do to overcome this?” Sometimes there is very little we can do.
So we are left to choose how we will be: strong, confident, courageous, compassionate, trusting, diligent, open, humble. We make a choice, we declare a state of being for ourselves: I will get through this, I will not let this get me down, I’ll just put one foot in front of the other, because I know that this too will pass.
We can also make the choice to be happy, knowing that making that choice will some times be excruciatingly difficult, and at times impossible in the face of pain, suffering, loss or mental illness. Studies show that older people are happier than younger people. Maybe because with enough life experiences we come to realize that there will always be chapters of pain and sorrow in our life, and that there are times when we will not be happy. So what can we do in the face of that except to make the choice to be happy as often as we can?
The reason I feel hypnotherapy is such a valuable tool is because it allows us to see clearly our own programming that no longer serves us. We have the opportunity, in a sense, to get dehypnotized from the message that our happiness depends on what happens “out there”.
I believe that if we look inside, with purpose and intention, we can get in touch with who we really are, the infinite, unchangeable aspect of our beings. This is the source real happiness. This search, this work will take something, and require you to give something up. Are you up to it? Are you up to being happy?
Ted A. Moreno
To hear a podcast of this blog, go to www.Tedmoreno.com/podcast.