What is “happiness”?
It’s a silly word, really. What does it even mean? Anyone can be happy. You just need to win 5 bucks on a scratch-off and you’ll be happy for a few minutes.
Happiness isn’t what people really want. We really want peace. We want to know that everything is going to be OK. We want to know that tomorrow something isn’t going to happen that will make us feel bad.
Here are a few definitions of peace from Merriam-Webster:
– “a state of tranquility or quiet”
– “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions “
– “Peace.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
It’s easy to be at peace when everything is going great. When we have the money, people, time, and everything we want in life is exactly the way we want, peace is easily attainable.
But that’s rare. Most folks will never experience a time when everything is exactly the way we want it to be. So, we have two choices:
- Control the world so it is exactly how we want it to be.
- Stop allowing our circumstances to determine how we feel.
Number 1 is pretty futile. It means that we do everything we possibly can to make the world around us act exactly as we want it to so that nothing bad ever happens. But this is how most folks approach the matter. They have the false notion that if we can just have circumstances exactly as we want them, we’ll attain peace. So the pursuit is toward controlling circumstances.
But we all know that’s a futile endeavor.
That leaves us with #2, which is to remain at peace regardless of what happens in the outside world. When you realize that peace is available to you, regardless of your situation or circumstance — all the time, no matter what, you’ve conquered life.
When you find peace internally, the external world no longer controls how you feel. Therefore, you no longer have to proceed through life concerned with how events are going to make you feel.
That’s freedom. That is real, true freedom.
So how do you do this? It’s pretty simple, but it requires unlearning a lifetime of programming. But here are a few tools that will put you on the right path.
1. Regular meditation.
Meditating trains you to find peace and control the thoughts that fly through your head. It doesn’t happen quickly, but with time, it helps you to learn how to access peace anytime, regardless of your external circumstances.
2. Giving up vices.
We constantly turn to vices like alcohol, sex, junk food, TV, Social media, weed, Internet junk food and so on to deal with the external influences of our lives. Pick the one you turn to most and eliminate it for 30 days. This forces you to deal with your emotions in a different way.
3. Be You.
Do what you want to do. It may take some time to unwind your life as it currently is, so you can rebuild it how you want to, but start small. Start by identifying some small thing you can start or stop doing that will make your life closer to how you want it.
This isn’t easy. It’s about retraining yourself to think about life and do things in an entirely different way. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all overnight. Just take one step today.
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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post
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