From the time we are little, we are conditioned to seek pleasure from external sources. These may be people, events or things in our life. However, as we grow and evolve on our spiritual journey we come to realize that happiness does not come from the outside - it comes from within. True happiness, joy and contentment comes from personal states of being, and our own actions.
Happiness is not something ready made… It comes from your own actions.
Many beautiful messages have come from the Dalai Lama. The above quote perfectly reflects what I wish to share with your through this essay. It really expresses the idea that your happiness IS in your own hands. No one else has power over you or can affect you unless you allow them. In other words, your actions mediate what experiences you bring forth into your life.
Our Thoughts, Our Choices, Our Outcomes
Messages such as the one above, also promote personal accountability. Don’t wait for others to bring you happiness or get upset with them when they don’t. It is not anyone else’s task to bring you happiness.
- If you want happiness, act happy and be the happiness you want to see and have. If you want joy, act joyously to all you encounter.
- If you want health, make all your actions reflect health.
- If you want peace, act with peace to everything and everyone.
- If you want stability, act with stability, instead of blowing up and reacting to situations impulsively.
Whatever you are seeking, you already have. You just have to bring it out and into your life. As another teacher once said:
Be the change you wish to see.
Self-Created, Meaningful Joy
Remember that if your actions are shallow, you will get shallow results. If you hope to find happiness in material possessions and fleeting moments, you will find your happiness to be temporary and short-lived, rather than deep feeling and long lasting. In today’s world we look so much for instant gratification and then we wonder why are we still not happy or why did the happiness elude us so quickly.
The truth is no one ever got fulfilled in any long lasting, deep and powerful way from things like binge eating, a one night stand, a shopping spree, drinking the night away or stealing to get that item that was really wanted. On the other hand if your actions come from a deeper state of being you will get deeper, longer lasting happiness! It is therefore no surprise that the happiest people on this Earth are not the richest, or the most beautiful, or the most successful but the ones that freely give of themselves to the service of others. Their happiness is immeasurable if their actions comes from a genuine place. The key is not to give just to get, but give for the sake of giving.
It also goes without saying that just because we may be born into a wealthy or successful family, we are not automatically guaranteed happiness. Not at all. In fact it is those people who have to work so much harder at finding true happiness as many of them feel that they already own it and then get very disappointed and confused when they do not truly feel it.
Remember again, “Happiness is not something ready made…” Any one person, regardless of their situation, no matter where they live on the Earth can have it. It is never about what you own materially, but what you own spiritually. This is the material you build your own happiness out of.
To end off, here are some practical tips to put into practice the power of the above quote from the Dalai Lama:
- Instead of focusing on what your significant other did or didn’t do for you, focus instead on what you did for them.
- Instead of focusing on what your kids are doing wrong, focus instead on what you are doing right for them.
- Instead of focusing on your diminishing health, focus on how you are helping your body maintain its health.
- Instead of focusing on the credit card debt, focus on a strategy to empower you to stop seeking happiness in material things.
- Instead of focusing on getting a sexual physical encounter, focus on giving some love, kindness and empathy to others.
- Instead of focusing on acquiring success, focus on how you can empower someone else to feel success.
During anytime in your life, as you look for activites or people to occupy your time with to bring you happiness and perhaps take your mind off personal challenges, consider the above quote from the Dalai Lama and all the power it holds for transforming your life. You just never know when a few simple words will change the course of your life, but of course only if you invite them in.