By Wayne Hoover
Is success important? Are you successful when you have lots of money? Are you successful when you have the things you wanted? Are you successful when you have your car, or your land, or your beautiful spouse, or your whatever? Is that’s whats important in life?
These things ultimately don’t give you happiness, for a moment maybe, but they aren’t truly deeply sustainably fulfilling. Once you get them you’ll be happy for a bit, then you’ll be on to the next thing.
Our brains are set to reward us for novelty so it makes sense that we would be addicted to this type of success. We get something new we like and we get rewarded with dopamine, and we crave that.
We keep consuming, we keep doing what we think will make us feel good. Constantly trying to get the next thing, get that next thing, get that next thing. If only I could get that one thing, then that thing, then that thing, and you keep going.
This is all many think happiness is, this cycle of getting, not having, getting, not having, getting. Chasing dopamine.
There is another way.
Living a happy and fulfilled life has nothing to do with getting things. It is in some ways the exact opposite of what we have been conditioned to believe brings fulfillment.
Success isn’t being busy, success isn’t having all the things. To start and understand happiness you have to start slowing down, in all the things you do, slowing way down. Being less busy. Saying no to things. Saying no to friends and family even.
To start to understand true fulfillment you’ll have to have less and do less. Someone from the outside might look at your life and think, hey they don’t really have that much, stuff. They don’t really do that much. But in reality you have what truly matters. You start to become more fulfilled, more happy than you ever have.
Success in the future will be measured not from the outside, but from the inside. It’s not how much money do you have, but how happy are you? How fulfilled are you? Truly sustainably happy.
Celebreties are famously not happy even when they reach what our culture says is a pinnacle of success. They have all the external things, all the money and friends and everything our society says should make them happy. Time and time and again they tell us these external things don’t make them any more happy than when they didn’t have these things.
So we have to undo our conditioning to believe that what is important can be measured by what is outside. We have to continuously remember the truth, that what is important can only be measured by what is inside.
It’s easy to agree with all this but then go about you’re life still believing that happiness is found through success, through achievement of some kind. It’s a very hard belief to shake.
So lets look at the real cause of happiness, of true fulfillment.
True happiness can only be had now. In this moment. There is nothing to get. There is nowhere to be, no one to become. It is now, and always present in this moment. Words fail to fully capture this bliss of being. Just being, because words imply future and past. Look there are more words to read, I must read more words in order to understand. Words also carry a history deeply embedded with the culture, so they can only take us so far. After all the word isn’t the thing itself, it is the pointer to the thing. So it becomes much easier to explain the real cause of happiness by explaining what it is not.
So here are some things happiness isn’t caused from:
- Physical achievements
- Mental achievements
- Spiritual achievements
Anything that promises you happiness in some future state. When you have this money. Or when you have gone through this many coaching or therapy sessions. Then you will, maybe, be happy, or have “more” happiness. Because happiness can only happen at one time, now. All emotions, all everything only happiness now. Sadness happens now too. Everything happens right now.
It’s quite a liberation to find even a glimmer of real happiness. It’s so peaceful and joyous, the realization that you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to go anywhere. Everything is OK, right now just as it is. What a relief, what a joy.
This completely changes your motivation to do things. This changes your life. You are in the present moment more, the present moment because the most important thing because that’s where happiness resides. Doing things out of obligation is no longer that appealing. A deep intelligence awakens within you.
What is success? What does having a lot things bring you?
It reminds me of when I was in college and at the community house I was living I was in charge of the compost. No one else wanted to take the compost out. It was gross, it had all these flys around it, it smelled, it didn’t look nice. Everyone would complain about it. And at first when I started to be in charge of taking it out that was my reaction too; “ugh I don’t like this stuff.” Then as I became more accustomed to it, my relationship to it started to change, I started to see it for what it really was. It wasn’t objectively “gross” it was just my perception that was grossed out about it. It’s just carbon atoms, I realized. It’s just a bunch of carbon atoms doing it’s thing. Where is the “gross” in that? It’s just as it is, compost being compost, and I take it outside, I’m doing what must be done, it’s doing what most be done. It’s fine. Compost doesn’t bother me anymore.
So this lesson has carried on with me. What is it about anything that makes it gross or beautiful? What makes anything so special? Anything is just a bunch of atoms doing it’s thing, just a bunch energy and vibration that’s happening. So in this way you can see the truth of everything around you. It’s all just atoms, it’s all just energy in different configurations, you get to decide how you want to react to the energy in whatever particular configuration is right now.
In this particular configuration it makes me happy. In this particular configuration it makes me sad. It by itself isn’t doing that. You are bringing that to this moment. You have the belief that something outside can make you, but you make you, in this moment.
External forms begin to loose their power over you. Because you realize that they never had any power over you to begin with.
We have been made to believe that things can make us happy. But we come to understand that nothing outside makes us happy. And as an aside, we have to be tricky with words here because we can get into the same old pattern, thinking that “I need to make myself happy.” If only I was this, or that, or I did this better, or if i was smarter, and then you get into this trap of believing “I” can give happiness to “myself” as if you where two people. You don’t give happiness to yourself.
Happiness is. It is not something that you create, it is inherent to being.
So what do you need to do? Nothing. If you are reading this you are being, being is enough. There are many techniques and tricks to drop into the moment, to drop into beingness. The key here is to start breaking down the beliefs that you get you stuck outside of now. We have to be diligent in rooting out the pattern of thought that tricks one into thinking that happiness is somewhere else, at some other point than here and now.
This realization gives so much peace, and it recalibrates your priorities. What is more important than knowing that which truly gives you happiness and fulfillment. After really experientially understanding this my priorities have shifted to this moment, to doing what is important in this moment for my happiness. A deep knowing comes through me now. I choose to deepen my presence to this moment, and my choices now reflect that more and more.