I have come to discover through personal experience that happiness is a moment-by-moment event. Happiness is not some fixed state, but it is an ongoing process. What do we even mean by happiness? Here is one definition that I like a lot: Happiness is a moment-by-moment feeling of well-being.
As human beings, we are constantly searching for this feeling that we refer to as "happiness." All living organisms desire to feel good and are continually searching for how to feel good. Unfortunately, when we are not feeling good, and often chronically not feeling good, we turn to destructive habits, such as over-eating, over-drinking, over-TV watching, just to name a few.
We become tense and frustrated, angry and even upset. The worse we feel, the worse decisions we make, and the less we get what we want in life. And then the worse we feel. Pretty frustrating, right?
Fortunately, there is a way out. And it starts with generating feelings of "well-being." These feelings of well-being can be just a thought away, quite literally. We can make choices as subtle as picking another thought to improve our state of mind. We can also take actions that will help improve our mood.
So how does all of this talk of happiness and well-being relate to Intention? Intentions are most effective when you set the intention, and then get out of the way. Let the universe handle the details. The universe will orchestrate the fulfillment of your desires, but if you are attempting to control the outcome, you will completely miss the orchestration that the universe is conducting.
Now for those of you who have been pursuing a spiritual path for a while, this is not news. Spiritual teachers have been sharing this news for years. And yet there is always the question that is repeated over and over again is, "How do I let go?"
It is a question that is usually asked with pain and much frustration:
"How to heck to I let go of something I really, really want?"
" How can I get what I want if I let go?"
" Won't I lose my desire?"
" Won't I not get it?"
" Isn't the whole point of fulfilling my desire having the desire in the first place?"
" And how am I supposed to let go of it anyway?"
I understand the frustration - I sincerely do as I have been in a very similar place. Yet I have discovered a beautiful thing: you really can let go. And the more you let go, the more you can allow, the easier everything will be and the more you can allow the universe to handle the details for you.
So here are a few suggestions on how to let go, and I am going to tie it back into happiness:
* Know that you can change your STORY any time, any place. For example, when you find yourself stuck on something, a negative thought, a negative feeling, a negative behavior, remind yourself that you can drop that negative thought, that you can let go of the negative feeling, and then focus on feeling good. In that moment, ask yourself "What can I do to make myself feel good?" (What will make you feel good will change depending on the circumstance, but always ask yourself, "What will make me feel good right now?")
Here are some suggestions that I have been using in my own life:
- Step away from that computer! Seriously, we all recognize that technology is amazing, but when you spend long hours in front of one, it is important to take a break and make sure there is more to life than the virtual.
- Get outside. There is nothing like a brisk walk in the sunshine, even if for a few minutes - it can do wonders for your mood.
- Spend time with friends. Loving human interaction has a tremendous impact on all areas of health and well-being.
- Focus on creating time for what YOU enjoy. It might be music; it might be exercise; it might be reading, and it is probably a combination of many things. Remind yourself that your feeling good is important - the better you feel, the more you can give, and the greater impact you can make in the world.
Obviously, there are a lot of times when we can't immediately change what we are doing - we have kids to take care of, parents to take care of, health challenges, economic realities, whatever they may be. When you find yourself in a situation you can't change, shift your focus to being. We must realize that we are not human thinkings, nor human feelings, nor human doings, but a human beings. Picture an infant who is simply happy to be (when they are not crying, that is!) Try shifting your focus to being, and think about someone or something that you love. It could be a person, your pet, a favorite place, anything that generates a sincere feeling of love in your heart... and focus on that.
The feeling of love and affection immediately creates a physical feeling of well-being, and you can carry it with you wherever you are, whatever the circumstance. Repeat the following mantra to remind yourself:
Being Love, Being Love, Being Love
Love Being, Love Being, Love Being
Over time and with practice, you will discover that this is all you ever need-to be love. And the more you feel love in your heart, the more you reside in this place of well-being, the greater your ability to let go of your desires, and the more you let go, the more you will allow the universe to give back.