I recently read an amazingly simple and profound post by Leo at Zenhabits.net and the timing on this post could not have been better. As I read Leo’s thoughts, I realizes the last few days have been full of old thought habits. Those old thought habits that were covering, in layer after layer, my own innate happiness possibilities. Yep, thoughts can be habitual, just like our actions. And I could sit here and say I wish I had learned that sooner. But, as that thought came to mind, I saw it for what it is…the exact same habit I’m trying to replace.
You see, most of the time, I fell into the same trap as most people I know, thinking that happiness is something to be found, something to be had, something to be bought, something to be chased, something to be noticed, something to be determined.
And what I’m learning lately, what people like Leo are helping me uncover, is that happiness is simply something to be….We can be happy. Yes, if we want to be happy, we simply need to BE happy.
But maybe that’s a tough nut for you to crack, too. I know it’s a little tougher for me than to just let it happen and “be the happiness you wish to have” (how’s THAT for a zen thought). I’ve got more than four decades of unhappy thought habits trying to stay in the way of my being the happiness I wish to have. I need a “standard process” I can use to replace my old habits with new ones. I need a standard process I can use to uncover my inborn happiness, layer by layer.
For now, I’m handling it like this:
1. Catch myself using phrases like “I wish I had…” or “I wish I could…” or “It would be really cool if…” or other phrases like that and immediately acknowledge that the present is good. All these phrases carry the idea that I am not happy because of my choices or because of the circumstances around me. And frankly, I have given entirely too much of my own “power” away to these regrets. (“Regret” might seem like too strong a word, but after you think about it a while, you realize…these are indeed regret phrases.)
2. Start more consciously using phrases like “I’m glad I…” or “I enjoy…” or “I’m thankful that…”. These phrases are totally empowering and remind me, in the moment, that I can BE happy.
3. When I start to feel unhappy about a situation, ask myself “What am I unhappy about?” and continue until I get to the root of the unhappiness. In this way, I will continue to uncover more and more of my own built-in happiness. If I can do something about the situation to change it for the better, I will. Otherwise, I’ll have to turn it over to the God to handle in His time and way.
For now, that’s all I have. I want to keep it nice and simple as I uncover more about BEing the happy I want to have.