'What's worse, the falling rain, or your resistance to getting wet?'
- Jeff Foster
The quote above is what I believe best summarizes how happiness is a matter of what's going on inside of us more than a matter of what's going on outside. We can't be mad at reality. Reality is just is. But our attitude toward reality, that's up to us.
Happiness is not about getting what we want. It is about knowing how to want what we get. And for that very reason, one must learn how to want which requires us to change ourselves.
The actual process of changing oneself is not hard. What is hard is the fact that we do not, cannot, and do not want to alter ourselves. This is why the problem here is not so much that we cannot change as much as we do not want to change ourselves. I never hear anyone defines happiness as “how to want what we get.” It’s always the other way around. Worse we say, "It’s what I want, why would I question my own want?”, "It’s what I hate, why I would alter myself to not hate?” The only time we ever decide to change our want is when our wants have become unbearable. It is the only after the damage that our wants have caused that we are willing to change. This is the common attitude which makes it so difficult to change ourselves which, in turn, makes it so difficult for us to be happy.
So if you are ready to be happy, below are the steps:
Four Core Habits to True Happiness
- Know Thyself
- Be an Expert: Truly Understand the Nature of Happiness
- Learn to see life for what it is and not for what you want or don't want it to be.
- Find a Role Model and a Learning Communities
I am not going to lie to you: Happiness requires work and expertise. You can't master what you do not know well. And you definitely can't know anything well if you do not even know it in the first place! Thus, to master ourselves, the first step toward True Happiness is to know ourselves. Knowing ourselves is by far the most important steps in changing ourselves. It will be where we work. It is our laboratory where we do our experiment in happiness. The goal is to learn the truth and nature of both ourselves and reality in order to achieve harmony between the two. (For more information, Click Here)
Once you have your practice of knowing yourself or mindfulness rock solid, you are now ready to walk toward True Happiness. Being able to walk is different from knowing where to walk to. Thus, the next step is to learn as much as you can from those who have walked before us so that we will have a road map of where we are taking ourselves toward. Happiness is delicate science which could even take more than a life-time to learn. But it is definitely the most meaningful, fulfilling, and beautiful journey you will ever take.
Once you understand what you are doing and learn some basic about how to practice, it is time to applied it into your own life. And the result of understanding life is the ability to see it objectively.
There will be times when it is difficult for us to continue on our journey. There will be struggles. There will be confusions about how to go about one's inner path. Thus, what you need is others to go with you especially those who have already walked the path. Don't expect this to be a solo journey. It's nearly impossible alone. Thus, finding your supportive community of practitioners and people who have mastered this art of happiness is a must.
True Happiness is impossible if we are unwilling to change ourselves. And the only steps toward True Happiness is just to know ourselves. It is as simple as that.
The next article will we will look at why happiness matters to the world and how developing our happiness is the key for making the world a better place.