What I know for sure is that happiness can happen for anyone. I personally have traveled to the base of the Himalayas and studied with happiness masters so I could learn how to cultivate happiness — real, lasting happiness — in myself, and all the children that I have been fortunate enough to work with. Within me burns a deep wish to help all children become happier (and their parents, teachers and family members too) so they can live the life of their dreams.
It is from this place that I wrote my book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, that comes out next week (Tuesday, April 3rd). And in my journey of sharing this book, I also met another author, Katherine Jenkins, whose book releases the same date. Her book is titled, Lessons from the Monk I Married, published by Seal Press (More Info). Within the pages of this book, Katherine shares her personal journey to becoming happier.
With that said, I asked Katherine to write a guest blog today to share with all of you about her thoughts on happiness. Here it is:
Guest Blog by Katherine Jenkins:
What makes you happy? Is it your children? Your partner? Sinking your teeth into a piece of dark chocolate? Sitting on a white sandy beach looking out at crystal blue waters on a perfectly sunny day?
Now you might be thinking, “How could you not be happy?” when considering the list above. And I’d have to agree with you, to a degree. Rain has been in the forecast in Seattle for the entire month of March and all I can think about is Tuesday, when I head to sunny Santa Barbara for vacation. I might as well find some chocolate to sink my teeth into to double the pleasure on my way there!
But do all these things really bring us happiness? Lasting happiness? Will millions of dollars bring me more happiness than I already have?
And I could certainly use more money to pay for all the things I want to do in my life. It would certainly provide me with a sense of security. Wouldn’t it? But what happens when I get everything I want and I still don’t feel happy? Why is it that some people have everything we could only dream of having and are still miserable?
There is so much stress in society these days. The world seems to be getting faster with all of the technology we have at our fingertips. We realize we can do more, so we add more to our plates. We want to have it all: a happy marriage/relationship, children, a good job, a nice car, a big house, a new this and a new that. We are so busy trying to get the next thing that we have to hire dog walkers, nannies, house cleaners, a masseuse, etc., etc. There’s no time for happiness. Think about your life right now. Have you heard yourself recently say, “If I just had _______ I’d be so happy!”
What happened to now? How do you feel right now? Because the truth is this:
Nothing on the outside can make us truly happy.
Everything on the outside is temporary. If you’re depending on something from the outside to make you happy, what happens when that person, place or thing is gone? What happens when that person, place, or thing doesn’t do what we want it to do or doesn’t live up to our expectations?
True happiness is a state of being that is unaffected by what happens outside. Some call this a feeling of “inner peace”. This feeling of “inner peace” happens when we clear a space and just be.
In that empty space of “just being,” we enter into the present moment. There is no past or future in this space. When we are truly here now, we are able to witness and accept things as they are. Everything is perfect as it is in each moment. As we learn to accept things as they are from moment to moment, we open up a space within us. We start to feel our breath, hear birds sing, feel our feet in our shoes walking on the earth, feel our fingers grip the steering wheel when we are driving, etc.
Many people live in fear of that empty space because there is so much garbage buried deep inside. We fear what we might see if we allow ourselves to just be. If we allow whatever is buried deep within to just come up (and we don’t try to bury it again when it does), we start to become free from it.
What makes us happy, I believe, depends on our inner state. It can never come from anything outside of us. Whatever pleasure we get from something outside, is temporary. If we have developed ourselves from the inside out (through meditation, yoga or just simply “being”) happiness becomes part of our nature and does not depend on the ever changing outside world.