Happiness is an Inside Job
Our True Nature
It seems to me that we spend a vast majority of our lives chasing after happiness in external places.
When we’re at school, we say to ourselves “when I graduate…… then I’ll be happy.”
And then when we graduate, we say to ourselves “when I get my dream job……. then I’ll be happy”.
And then when we get our dream job, we say “when I get a promotion…. then I’ll be happy”.
And then we turn to our relationships and we say, “when I meet my soul mate….. then I’ll be happy”.
And then when we’ve met and maybe married our soul mate, we say “when he stops snoring and waking me up in the night…. then I’ll be happy”.
And so you sort the snoring thing out, and you say “when I have kids….. then I’ll be happy.”
And then you have kids, and you think “when my kids go to school and I finally have time to myself….. then I’ll be happy.”
0r perhaps “when I walk the Camino, or go on a retreat to Bali, or be able to do fourth series Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, or put my foot behind my head….. then I’ll be happy.”
We can keep going on like this for a lifetime, chasing our happiness in external places forever.
It sounds crazy, right?
But it does makes sense to me why we do this. When we get something we want, something that we believe will make us happy, more often than not we feel an immediate hit of happiness. We get a buzz from it. But like all drugs, the hit soon wears off and we’re left wondering where we can get the next hit from.
So basically we become like happiness junkies, chasing the buzz from one hit to the next. And it’s exhausting. And kind of bewildering.
How is it that we can have achieved and acquired so much, but still feel miserable?
The reason is that our happiness is not in these external things. It’s not in the career, or the partner or the great house. If it were, as long as you stayed working, married, or living in your beautiful house, you’d be happy. All of the time.
But it doesn’t work like that, does it?
Pretty soon we habituate to this kind of happiness, and it’s gone. Or the thing that we’re happy about disappears, and our happiness disappears with it.
I like to think of this kind of happiness as CAUSED happiness. It’s caused by an external event.
The good news is that there’s another kind of happiness. A kind of happiness that resides within us all. A happiness that needs no external event and it cannot be taken from us. This is UNCAUSED happiness.
This kind of happiness is our birth right, and it’s our true nature. It’s within us all, whether or not we feel open to it and connected with it in any particular moment.
You’ve probably heard of this concept before, right? Anyone with a facebook account has probably seen an inspirational quote like ‘happiness is an inside job’. And if you’ve ever been in a yoga class or been in any kind of spiritual setting, you’ve probably heard something like this before.
It’s not a new idea.
But so many of us know this intellectually, but still we go about our lives as it it isn’t true. We know that happiness is within, yet we keep making the same mistake over and over again, but seeking our happiness in people, achievements and the latest gadgets.
We’re like Dorothy walking the yellow brick road, not realising that we have the power within us to return home at any time. In fact, home was with us all along.
To come home to our uncaused happiness, all we need to do is remember that it’s there. We knew this as children, but somewhere along the way, we forgot.
Life became busy, our parents and teachers had already forgotten so they were no help in reminding us, and we were saturated with advertising trying to convince us that our happiness was really in the product they were trying to sell.
And so slowly….. over time… we bought into the myth that happiness only arises as a result of external circumstances.
It’s time to take back our happiness. To reclaim what is truly ours.
A great job, a loving relationship, and the latest gadget can be wonderful things to have. But they don’t make us happy. Not the true, uncaused, deeply nourishing, unshakeable kind of happy.
In iRest we discover an inner joy that exists independently of external circumstances. This joy is always present, although it is sometimes hidden behind a veil of feelings, emotions, thoughts and beliefs (including the belief that our happiness is found externally). Through the practice of iRest we welcome and witness this veil, enabling us to access this inner joy more readily.
As these veils drop away, we find a deep and abiding happiness or joy. A kind of gentle contentment that feels pervasive and unshakeable. Then we nourish by allowing it to blossom into being, and by cultivating gratitude, imagining our entire being smiling and full of joy.
And when we open our eyes and step back into our everyday life, we bring the perfume of this experience with us, and a growing embodied understanding of happiness as our true nature.
Words by Dr Lauren Tober