The Declaration of Independence guarantees us the pursuit of happiness, yet how many of us have found it? Why does happiness seem so elusive? How is it that a person can spend an entire lifetime in search of happiness and never find it?
"When I have more money, I'll be happy. " “When I have more time, I'll be happy because I'll be able to do what I want. " This is how most people approach the idea of happiness but there is a flaw in this formula. The problem is they are basing their happiness on their circumstances rather than going directly after the things that will bring them more enjoyment. We are taught in childhood that circumstances define our happiness. “The more I get what I want, the happier I'll be". Though this seems to make sense, how long might you have to wait before you get that extra money or free time?
Take a minute to think about what would make you happy. Let's say you want more money and free time. Why do you want them? Probably to buy things you like and do more of the things you want to do, right? This is where most people stop the analysis and decide that, in order to be happy, these criteria (more time and money) must be met. However, if they would probe deeper, they would find out how to find more happiness without necessarily needing the extra time or money.
What do you want to buy with the extra money? Why do you want that extra free time? Now that you've answered these questions, let's look deeper. You will find there is an underlying desire that, if satisfied, will allow you to increase your level of happiness in direct proportion to the amount of time and energy you put toward it.
To understand why we want the new car or house or cruise or job or the extra time to pursue our interests, we have to look at how these things will make us feel good. More often than not, a desire for money represents a desire for more freedom. If you pay off all your debts, you're free of the stress they cause. If you can afford that cruise around the world, you're free to travel. The desire for more time is also usually a craving for freedom.
If you can satisfy the desire that underlies the goal in mind (more money or time, etc. ), you can increase the amount of happiness you experience even if you don't have all the money, free time, etc. that you initially thought you needed. To simplify this idea, let's say you've always wanted to learn to play the piano but you never seemed to have the time to learn. What you want isn't more time; it's to learn to play the piano. If you could manage to squeeze in I lesson per week, you could begin to learn the basics and start playing the piano, which will increase your happiness a little as you are making headway toward your goal. If you could get in 2 lessons per week, you'd be even happier. You see how this works? Fulfill the underlying desire and your overall happiness will increase in direct proportion to how much attention you put on fulfilling it. Now, if you are asking, “But how can I squeeze in the piano lessons when I don't have the time to take them in the first place?" I have to ask, “How important is it that you achieve that goal?" People find ways to do what matters to them. If achieving your goal (in this case learning to play the piano) really matters to you, and you commit to doing things that bring you closer to achieving that goal, you will find ways to take the necessary steps to fulfilling it.
Happiness doesn't have to be an illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you can just learn what it is you truly want and take the steps necessary to fulfill that desire, a happier life will be well within reach.
Jason Hundley is an Usui and Karuna Ki Reiki Master Teacher. He has studied various metaphysical concepts and is also certified in many energy healing modalities including Reiki, Quantum Touch, Theta Healing, Emotional Freedom Technique and Transformation Meditation. You can find more articles at http://integrateyourself.blogspot.com/ or http://spiritualexpansion.wordpress.com/