Think You Know What Makes You Happy?

27 Jul

Sit down, get quiet and ask yourself this simple question: What do I need in order to be happy? You might answer: A promotion! Losing 20lbs! A Husband (or wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.)! A divorce! A million dollars! Fame, success, fortune! The list may go on and on.

I ask because I was sitting on my couch this morning with a million thoughts going through my head, trying to best direct myself on the path of happiness. Now, I wasn’t consciously thinking, “How can I be happy?”, I was really thinking, “I need to write my blog teach more classes eat better exercise more get more Facebook friends have more private clients get more blog followers do another teacher training take a yoga workshop go on a yoga retreat YADA YADA YADA!”

Stop. Why on Earth was I thinking all of these things? Yes, it’s true that in order to continue doing what I love for a living I have to make money, and in order to make more money I probably do need all of those things. But when I break it all down and really get to the core of what I want, I want to be happy. I want a feeling state. That is it. I want a state of mind that feels like freedom, like joy,like connection and like the buzzing blissed out sensation I get after a great yoga class. I want to feel like that all the time, and to me that pretty much feels like happy.

The truth is, being a successful yoga teacher will make me happy, but not because of the reasons I sometimes tell myself. Being a yoga teacher in general makes me happy, because it is what makes me feel alive, joyful and filled with purpose. Again, happy. When I look around it is so apparent that most people have no clue what will really make them happy, and that is why we chase money, material items, looks, youth and success. Because they all come with the promise of a feeling state, a feeling state that is our birthright, one that we all long for and are connected to our humanity by. Our intentions are good, our methods are often very, very bad.

So next time you tell yourself you need (fill in the blank) to be happy, all you really need to know is that thing probably won’t MAKE you happy. You have to cultivate this happiness inside yourself, and bring it out into the world and let it shine. Cultivate that happiness by witnessing the moments in your life that you truly feel peaceful, content and at ease in your body and your mind. Maybe those moments spontaneously occur when you are immersed in the moment doing something you love, free of self-consciousness and judgement. I find they occur when I teach and practice yoga, or am deeply connecting with another human. Clothes, success, nice cars and a well-paying job are fun parts of life, but will they make you happy? In my personal experience, for a while they do. But as soon as they go away I need more, and that’s not lasting happiness. Lasting happiness comes from the work I do from the inside out.

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