If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What would make me happy?” you’ve likely found different answers to this question at different times. Most people think happiness relies on close relationships, financial security, and a sense of purpose. After all, you could say that life revolves around love and work, since these give our life meaning. But only if they help us feel connected to ourselves.
The ego-mind easily distorts love with expectations and turns work into a hiding place from which we avoid looking within. Don’t get me wrong, mindful work is love, but if I’m busy, busy, busy engaging with or taking care of others, then I don’t have to feel the feelings brewing inside me; I don’t have to listen to myself; and I don’t have to tend to my soul’s deep drive for self-expression. Aside from acknowledging emotions, I’m referring here to the things you—and only you—can do to feel joy and be at peace.
You can have the perfect job, an ideal partner, a supportive family, social validation, and material success, and still feel that something is missing. On the outside, everything seems fine, but something inside is telling you that you’re not quite satisfied, that the grass is greener elsewhere. Or a sudden event makes you question the structures you’ve created and relied upon. So how can you tell whether it’s time for a change or your sense of otherness making you feel that you should be someone other than who you are, doing something other than what you’re doing, which is how this inner bully robs you of the present moment?
The truth is, you can’t—unless you’ve developed great self-awareness or have guidance to discern between unconscious impulses and real clarity of direction. Otherwise you’ll be fighting your own life or jumping from one desire, idea, project, or relationship to another without fulfilling the essential expression of your soul. Since the ultimate purpose of life is self-knowledge and karmic resolution, you’re bound to do this until you’re able to recognize how the ego-mind relentlessly disconnects you from the real you and the flow of your life (see Can You Be Truly Happy Without Self-Knowledge?).
What Does It Take To Create a Fulfilling Life?
Rather than asking, “What would make me happy?” as if something external could mend the disconnection you experience on a regular basis, perhaps you should inquire, “What is preventing me from being fully present in what I’m doing, right here, right now?” If you anchor yourself in this mindfulness, you’ll be able to observe two important things: one, your ego-mind causing both gross and subtle pain to disconnect you (in the form of stress, pressure, illness, fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and all kinds of drama or mental noise); and two, how things fall into place to realign your perception when you remain still.
Being inherently self-centered, the ego-mind expects other people to meet your conscious and unconscious needs, pushing the sense that you’re entitled to all your desires to trigger the righteousness that keeps you in a wounded place—in the wounded child archetype, for whom everything is unfair and overwhelming. For this reason, although happiness is your true spiritual nature, it requires mindfulness, discipline, and effort to get the ego-mind out of the way.
You can’t be happy when you fight your experience of life, because you are your life, and everything in your life-movie is a projection of you, colored and distorted by you. In other words, you are the creator, enjoyer, and sufferer of your own perception, so the fulfillment of your soul can only come from within: not in what you do but how you do it; not through what is happening but how you engage with it. So here are some tools to help you shift your perspective on your path to happiness.
• Forgiveness. Forgiveness means acceptance of the karmic unfolding of your life. It doesn’t mean others are not accountable for their wrongdoings, but you stop holding onto them with negative emotions, thus giving them your power. Instead, you take full spiritual responsibility for yourself, choosing love over fear and freedom over guilt or judgment, and dropping the resentments that disconnect you from yourself. In this sense, forgiveness leads to a better future and ultimately to your freedom.
• Gratitude. There’s always something to be grateful for, no matter how bad things may seem. Being alive in a human body is a miracle and a privilege you shouldn’t waste with negative tendencies of perception. Instead, nurture your higher mind and sense of self (your unique self-expression) with wonder, curiosity, and faith. Rather than chasing the flow of desires the ego-mind pushes to prevent you from looking within, embrace your life as a journey of self-discovery, using every experience—the good, the bad, and the ugly—as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.
• Inner Silence. You live surrounded by noise—external, internal, physical, mental, emotional, electromagnetic, and energetic interference. In fact, the ego-mind is nothing but mental noise: a continuous current of desires, thoughts, emotions, impressions, and judgments. There’s nothing you can do about it, for this is the active, revolving nature of the mind; but you can reduce the noise with solitude and silence. Carve time and space for a creative endeavor, for spiritual practices, and also for just being, attentive to your soul; so stay away from your cell phone, TV, radio, internet, and people as form of self-care.
• Self-Reflection. Since you have material and social obligations, you’re mostly focused on the outside world. But without self-awareness you can’t feel connected to the flow of life and love within and around you. This requires self-reflection to understand what you need to nurture or develop in yourself, as well as what you should release that causes you pain. You’re here to learn from experience, but this happens when you reflect on it, not necessarily as you’re going through it. Take time every single day to touch base with you.
• Surrender. The only obstacle between you and what you yearn for is the ego-mind coloring your perception with negative tendencies—from judgment and guilt to fear and hatred, and every self-defeating emotion or belief it finds to disconnect you from yourself. It’s easy to have faith when things go well, but can you maintain that faith when you face obstacles or opposition? You cultivate inner peace by surrendering your ego to the spiritual forces within and around you; this is how you discover the truest, happiest expression of your soul. Take all difficulties as blessings in disguise, as gifts from the Divine to pull you inward, and trust that you’re always supported on your path.
Integrating these tools into daily life will help you develop greater detachment, or emotional freedom, the essential ingredient for peace and happiness. But never underestimate the ego-mind sabotaging your process at every step, making things fuzzy and discouraging you from ‘letting go and letting God.’ So contact me today to unravel your negative patterns while strengthening your sense of self, to find the joy and clarity of a soul-guided life, lived with intention and full presence.
© 2019 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.