Advertisement

Deepak Chopra and Intent

Deepak Chopra and Intent

Happiness for the Holidays? Try an Experiment

The holidays, officially a time of good cheer, have become instead a byword for stress, overeating, running up bills, and enduring one’s relatives. This falls in line with the last two posts on happiness and our dubious relationship to it. It’s hard to find to define a greater goal in life than lasting happiness, yet modern psychology, with its notions about happiness being incidental and unpredictable, discourages us form believing in lasting happiness.

 

What’s the solution? Let me suggest returning to a simple but profound idea that has endured in every spiritual tradition. Unhappiness means that you are not being yourself. When you are being yourself, happiness is permanent because the “true self” is by nature at peace, blissful, and undisturbed by the ups and downs of daily life.

Advertisement

 

The definition of happiness — being yourself — couldn’t be easier to grasp, but there’s a winding path to get there when you are starting far away.  The kind of happiness all of us were raised to believe in depends on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. In the world’s spiritual traditions, this is considered a false path. Not because pleasure is bad (we can leave aside the doctrine that values pain and condemns pleasure), but because it is temporary. If you want temporary happiness, a beautiful sunset, a new Porsche, Christmas turkey, or a week in the Bahamas will do the trick, but once you come down to earth, the issue of lasting happiness, the kind that no one can take away from you, remains.

Advertisement

 

The holiday season is actually a holy-day season, which makes it ideal for examining your relationship to happiness. I don’t mean monitoring your mood as it goes up and down. Rather, use this time for a little experiment. As you move through the holidays, keep track of the following things that bring you closer to your true self, or away from it.

 

Closer to your true self:

  • Moments of peace and joy
  • Feeling loved
  • Feeling safe
  • Having a sense that you belong
  • Lightness of being
  • Being carefree
  • Appreciating your own existence
  • A sense of the sacred, of grace and blessedness

 

Don’t be embarrassed about watching for these signs, because they are part of who you really are. They are the unchanging background against which all activity takes place.  Activity draws you out of relationship with your true self, which is why moments of truth come and go. They twinkle like the stars, which emit a constant light but seem to grow brighter and dimmer because of disturbance in the atmosphere.

Advertisement

 

As part of your experiment, note the symptoms of moving away from your true self, the path to unhappiness.

 

Away from yourself:

  • Other people push your buttons
  • Your family puts you in a box and tells you to stay there
  • You feel helpless to change
  • You need the anesthesia of alcohol or stuffing yourself with food
  • You feel tossed about by external stresses
  • There is no holiness that you can personally sense
  • All the activity begins to feel pointless

 

These signs are not a condemnation of the holidays, which exist to bring us back into a simple relationship with our spiritual nature. They are the symptoms of a broken connection. So try the experiment for yourself, and then when New Year’s comes, you can make some life-changing decisions about how important it is to be as happy as your soul wants you to be. This is the closest thing to an eternal message that this time of year has to offer.

Advertisement

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is author of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Is Physics the Next Guru?
The worldview of modern physics teases us with spiritual suggestions like the discovery—premature it seems—of the “God particle.” That nickname embarrasses some in the field, but ever since Fritjof Capra’s book The Tao of Physics, the ...

posted 11:48:13am Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Synchronicity, Evolution, and Your Genes (Part 3)
  By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jordan Flesher, MA Psychology   Two views of the universe have been contending with each other to explain why human beings exist. The first view holds that human beings are not special in any way. ...

posted 10:38:46am Apr. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Synchronicity, Evolution, and Your Genes (Part 2)
Everyone has had a meaningful coincidence happen to them--the classic example is thinking of someone's name and the next minute that person telephones, or seeing an unusual word in your mind's eye and then running across that word the next time ...

posted 12:03:58am Apr. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Synchronicity, Evolution, and Your Genes (Part 1)
By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jordan Flesher, BA Psychology   Over the past decade, the hunt for genetic connections with behavior as intensified. For any experience, there must be a physical activity in the brain—otherwise, the ...

posted 10:56:38am Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The Best Way to Get Rid of Evil
    By Deepak Chopra, MD.   The best way to get rid of evil is to change our ideas about it. The two concepts about evil that do nothing to end it are, first, the concept of cosmic evil embodied by Satan, and second, ...

posted 11:07:42am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.