Friday, June 10, 2011


(I was inspired to write this post by my dear friend, author and spiritual maven Robin Easton, who always has something inspirational to say -- Naked In Eden.)

I don’t claim to have the secret to happiness. But for the past decade or so 
I’ve been hacking away at some of the gnarled undergrowth that makes that age-old mystery so hard to untangle. I’ve learned a thing or two. And though 
I keep hacking, it seems the more I do so, the less important the object of the quest becomes. Why is this? Here are a few of my observations to date:

Some people seem to think they need a darn good reason to be happy, like something extraordinary has to happen to them first. Otherwise, they figure, they'll just have to settle for either being unhappy or, perhaps, not feeling much of any-
thing at all. I feel sorry for those poor souls; that construct, it seems to me, is exactly the opposite of how the cosmos really works.

     The way Creation intended us to feel most 
     of the time—our default setting, if you will—
     is joy.

No, the way Creation intended us to feel most of the time—our default setting, if you will—is joy. What needs a reason is sadness, anger, fear and all those other lurking saboteurs of joy.

If there's no reason for any of those unpleasant emotions, or, more importantly, if the reason is one we can work our way around or through, well, then we're just stuck with what's left: happiness.

I'm not saying life doesn't throw us a curve now and then. Disappointments show up; we feel lost or out of control; loved ones get hurt or lost or pass away. Of course these events trigger powerful emotions; that's part of life. But, like so many aspects of human consciousness, we'd do well to recognize that these emotions—even staggering ones like shame, grief or hopelessness—are not the end of the world, but temporary storms on an otherwise tranquil sea.

In those periods of turmoil happiness may seem like it's nowhere to be found. But even though we're overcome with unhappy emotions, happiness is still there, in the background, just waiting patiently for its chance to take back its rightful place at the helm of your emotional ship.

So how do you believe in something you can't see? It takes experience, knowing that, as you've observed more than once, this too shall pass. It takes a sort of discipline—keeping your eyes and heart open, at least a crack, for the signs of hope and healing. And, as with anything we desperately want but can't immediately see, it takes faith, in ourselves, in others and in whatever we revere as our higher power.

        If I choose to start rolling back a layer 
        of doubt, regret or anger to see what’s 
        there, it helps if I expect it’s going to be 
        something good.

You may have heard me say that, in general, we see what we expect to see. This is as true in our own disposition as it is in Nature. When I lift up a leaf to see what’s under it, I don’t do that because I expect to find nothing. It’s as much an act of faith as it is of curiosity. That is, my chances of finding something increase in proportion to how much I expect to find it. The same is true of happiness. If I choose to start rolling back a layer of doubt, regret or anger to see what’s there, it helps if I expect it’s going to be something good.

When it feels like the earth's dropped out from under your feet, as if emotion's moved you away from your true center, getting happy again may seem like the last thing on earth you can—or even want—to do. At times like these, it may be all you can handle to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. But you must remember that peace and happiness are still there, and will eventually rise up to meet your faithful feet once again.

Once you're back on solid ground, you re-connect with your lightness of being. You again see your world as the ordinary, routine, often mundane, yet breathtakingly beautiful place it is. No reason. Just joy.

What barriers would you have to navigate in order to 
be happy for no reason?


Galen Pearl said...

This is a great post and is exactly what I think about happiness! Thanks so much for sharing the link in your comment on my post!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Thanks, Galen -- I'm glad my post resonates with you (though you've already put it quite eloquently in your writings!) It's good to be in touch with you.

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