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When Happiness Comes True

by Allan Hardman

Happiness is a state of mind, not something to be bought or earned.


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Happiness is probably the most sought after commodity in our Western culture, and perhaps the least attained. When we were little, our parents taught us what to do and be so that we would make them happy. Advertising tells us what we need to do or buy to make ourselves happy. The Lotto promises us life-long happiness, if we can just get the odds to work in our favor. Religions and spirituality practices promise us the ultimate happiness--if we can attain the perfection required.

What is this happiness we seek? Most of us have learned to treat happiness like a commodity that lives outside of ourselves, and we have learned how to go into the world to wrest it from the grip of the world. We know that if we have the right relationship, the right job and finances, a ski boat, a house, proper charity work, and the right attainments in our spiritual practice, we will be happy. 

Is this the truth? IS happiness a commodity that we have to earn? Does it live outside of us, teasing and tantalizing us, waiting until we meet its expectations so it will give us a little of itself? Or is what we seek the very nature of that who is seeking?

I believe that it is our nature to be happy. We came into the world happy. Delighted. IN Joy. We were the Source of love and happiness. Imagine your infant self as a channel through the veil that separates Creator from Creation, that Creator used to send pure love and happiness into the world. As an infant, you were that channel. People loved to relate to you, hold you, look into your eyes, and bask in the happiness and love pouring out of you. You had no opinions, no judgments--you were free to be yourself AS happiness and love.

And then you were taught to be unhappy. It is nobody’s fault; it is just the way of the world. We were taught to look outside of ourselves for the love, validation, and the happiness that our efforts would supposedly bring. We learned that we had to be good, we had to behave properly, in order to win the love and approval that would make others, and consequently ourselves, happy. We learned to see happiness, love, and approval as a commodity we had to bargain for, in a world where there was a limited supply. And we needed that supply!

We learned some very creative behaviors to earn that approval, or to just stay safe in its absence. Some learned to be Stars, the best at everything. Others became Invisible. Many learned to take care of others before themselves. Rebels turned their backs to the commodity game--and then played it with their fellow rebels. Perfectionists learned that if they could do everything and be everything perfectly, they would receive their share of love and happiness. And then we added the accumulation of stuff, friends, accolades, degrees, and the perfect tan.Still, underneath, there was the nagging sense that we are not really happy. Something is missing.

A major danger of this commodity-based happiness is that you can always lose the accolades or money or relationship that you believe is making you happy. The happiness can always be taken away from you. Underneath the (imaginary) happiness, there is the fear of losing it. The fear of losing our bravely won commodity creates the need to protect it, to make deals with others, to make contracts (marriage?) that assure us that our commodity can never be taken away from us. The fear remains, because we know that those deals can always be broken and they often are broken.
Commodity based happiness is a world-wide disease of the mind. Those that do not have the goods or attention that will make them happy, and those that just always need more, are constantly dissatisfied. If only we had just a little more money, a better relationship, a little less weight, or better behaved children, then we could be truly happy. And if we could make enough bargains and contracts to assure ourselves that we could never lose the things and rewards that make us happy, then we could relax and enjoy our happiness.

Many people are waking up, especially in middle age, to discover that they followed all the rules, they accumulated the titles and stuff and sacrificed their ideals and dreams so they could fit in and earn the right to be happy and it has not worked. They are not happy.

I would like to propose that we can never be truly happy until we recognize that it is, and always has been, our nature to be happy. Our true nature is a happiness that does not need to be won, earned, or bargained for, and it cannot be lost. We came into this world as that happiness. It is the truth of our being. We are still that channel of love and peace that the Creator of this magnificent universe shares with us. We are the source of love and happiness.

We were lied to about who we are. It is nobody’s fault, especially not our own. Now it is time to tell ourselves and each other the truth: We ARE the happiness and love that we seek. Let us rest in that love, and be at peace. There is nothing we have to accumulate or attain to earn or deserve happiness. We are already perfect in the eyes of Creation and Creator. Let us know this truth, and bask in the happiness that is us.

From that place of true happiness, let us then love, create, and accumulate for the love of Life. Let us release our attachments to the outcomes, and live with the passion and fun that Life and Creation are--in true happiness. May we let happiness come true.

Allan Hardman is a spiritual counselor and Toltec Master personally trained by Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. For more information visit his website at www.joydancer.com

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