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The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is something that can’t be bought and is not conditioned on someone else’s behavior or any external event. It is an attitude we choose and move through our life with. Ernest Holmes wrote, “Happiness and peace have always been ours; they are ours now, for they are the very essence and truth of our being.”

In his book Spiritual Liberation, Michael Beckwith writes that happiness is our true nature. We will never find it by looking outside ourselves. Too many of us allow celebrities, television and advertising to define what happiness is and how to experience it. He writes, “Paradoxical as it may seem, inner joy can be experienced in the midst of extraordinary challenges. To accept and work with this paradox is a practice of the spirituality and psychologically mature.”

In the book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer picks up on this theme. He writes that there is one basic decision in life, “Do you want to be happy or do you not want to be happy.” You must answer with no qualification. Events don’t determine our happiness. They are just events. If you doubt this look at how the same difficult life event can be the catalyst for spiritual growth for one person, while the same event will cause another to see themselves as broken for the rest of their lives. It isn’t the event that makes or breaks us it’s our attitude.

Viktor Frankl endured many hardships at the hands of the Nazis, including losing his parents and his wife. One of his greatest learnings from those difficult days was, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

So in the final analysis happiness is an inside job. It is an attitude we bring everywhere we go. As Wayne Dyer reminds us, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” It is a choice we all make everyday.       

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