Radical Approach to Happiness
I happen to have had three near death experiences, and obviously lived to tell about it. Now, I don’t recommend such dramatic means to attain a ‘self-realization’ of a sort; there are probably better ways to go about it. But it was the way I had to go–and I did learn a few things by poking my head behind that curtain, that I’d like to pass along. That way, maybe you won’t have to go to all that trouble yourself.
Unfortunately, most of the time each of us does end up having to learn things the hard way. We tend not to learn quite as much from good times (other than gratitude–which is great) as we do from bad; or at least not with the same effect as we seem to get from dealing with adversity. In my experiences I learned this much for certain – we are spiritual entities traveling through this life, in these bodies, in order to evolve spiritually. Very simply put, our growth comes from what we contribute–what we give to life; what we learn to give up that blocks us from what we can be in life; and what we get from life–what we need to learn…and none of that is particularly easy.
It is nice to avoid the hard stuff, as much as possible, and to find happiness–and to hold on to it, as much as possible. Even if you don’t believe in the kind of spirituality that I experienced (ouch) myself, you can probably still agree that living a ‘spiritual’ life may give you a much better shot at finding that happiness. It’s just the difference between knowing it can be done, and finding a practical way to go about it in these chaotic lives of ours that can be so hard. So here are three of what I call “Tips for Happiness” that may provide you with some (less painful) shortcuts:
First Happiness Tip
Radical Kindness is an amazingly enjoyable way to channel all the positive energies of life into a very happy direction. And it’s so easy to put into practice! Simply be as sincerely kind as you can possibly be to everyone you meet–right across the board. From clerks to co-workers; from fellow commuters to commanders of industry. Avoid being judgmental in any way–that includes gossiping, or comparing yourself to others–and watch what happens! Within twenty-four to forty-eight hours, your life will completely transform. In fact, you may hardly even recognize the new world you occupy.
Life will pick you up and carry you along in an undercurrent you may have never realized was there all along–just under the surface of your everyday routine. It’s the invisible fabric of kindness and compassion that’s alive inside of each and very moment–if you energize it with your sincere open-heartedness. You’ll meet the very nicest people that way (and way more of them than you expected, too)!
Second Happiness Tip
Radical Forgiveness may not be quite as much fun, because we need it when we’re dealing with the particularly difficult parts of life; and it is a kind of duty–a diligent practice that we need to willfully maintain. But boy, the pay-off is huge. When we recognize that life is equally tough for everyone, and that in a way, we’re all sharing exactly the same challenges, we can start to let go of the hurts we feel others have caused us, along their own (often painful) path. Radical Forgiveness just means choosing to let go, over and over if necessary. To set down someone else’s baggage, and carry on happily down your own road, free as a bird. As light as a feather.
Even though our nasty egos often get their panties in a bunch for completely imaginary reasons, it doesn’t mean that people haven’t really been inappropriate to you. That will happen. It doesn’t excuse them. It just means that you don’t need to let their karma determine your own; not allowing their pain to define your life. Take that action and forgive them–radically–like throwing open the bolt on a door, and walking through it, freely, into your own future.
Third Happiness Tip
Radical Surrender doesn’t sound like a strategy for winning happiness, but the way I mean it, it is. As with Radical Forgiveness, it doesn’t mean to capitulate to some truly oppressive aspect of life–on the contrary! This form of surrender isn’t what happens when you lose, it’s what happens when you want to redefine success as something that’s more than momentary. While it is, you might say, the result of being over matched (by life, in a matter of speaking), it’s really the sanest strategy imaginable.
There is a power, alive in the universe–and in all of our lives–that propels all happiness, all accomplishment, all serenity. It’s the power that makes a wildflower grow through the cracks in the parking lot. It’s what gives us the miracle of breathing, of feeling, of being. And it’s there all the time. It is the “winning team,” and you’re on it–unless you don’t want to be. Unless willfulness banishes you to your own lonely path. Surrender, radically, and allow yourself to become part of that team, that happiness that’s there waiting for you all the time.
So there they are–my three ways, my three shortcuts to getting where you’ll find happiness in this (or any other) life…without having to go around the long way around (I hope).
Blessings on your way!
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