There’s an old story about a martial arts student who wanted to become a master. He was earnest in his desire and willing to put in the practice.
He approached a renowned instructor and said to him, “Teacher, I am ready to commit my life to practicing martial arts. How long will it take me to master it?”
The teacher responded, “Ten years.”
“But I want to master it faster than that. I’ll work very hard and never miss a practice” said the impatient student.
“In that case,” replied the wise teacher, “20 years.”
In that parable lies the true nature of happiness. The more we seek for it, the more elusive it becomes.
Most of us have the belief that happiness results from our needs and desires being met. And most of us have a pretty clear understanding of those needs and desires.
Whether they pertain to relationships, health, money, respect, possessions, achievements, title, laughter, etc. makes no difference. We all have those aspirations, and happiness results from the attainment of them.
So we believe.
But it’s a mistaken belief.
We are like the impatient student who thinks that if we work really hard we’ll be able to achieve a state of happiness.
The irony is that the harder we work striving for happiness, the more distant it becomes.
We’ve all had the experience of thinking that “if such and such happens, then I’ll be happy”. And then such and such occurs, and perhaps for a brief moment we are satisfied. But it doesn’t take long until we realize that it wasn’t enough – there is more that we need. Another person. Another job. Another experience. Another possession. Another life.
But we don’t have to wait the 20 years. Or even 10 years to master happiness.
We can have it right this moment!
Happiness is not the result of any possession. Happiness has nothing to do with money or health or sleep or laughter or job title or relationship status. In fact, happiness has nothing to do with anything in the world.
Happiness is purely a state of mind, and it can only be accessed from within – by choosing against our ego mind and instead selecting our higher self.
I recall the first time I encountered this concept. I thought it was borderline lunacy. What does “within” even mean, and how can the world not play a part at all in my happiness. It makes no sense.
Until I realized that such thinking emanated from my ego mind.
From this understanding comes the relatively simple act of making a different choice in the mind. And from that “other choice” comes our entire state of peace, joy, and bliss.
In every moment we’re making that choice. It’s either a choice for the ego – which teaches that happiness is the result of things in the world and our body – or it’s a choice for our higher self, which always, unequivocally, leads to joy.
One of those choices teaches us that we can achieve happiness if we’re lucky or work really hard, and the other choice provides instantaneous peace.
Would you prefer to wait 10 years, 20 years, or have happiness now?
The choice is ours.
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the slippery slope of seeking for happiness, and how we can make a different choice that avoids all the pain and disappointment. I look forward to seeing you then.