Finding happiness can be a life-long quest of enquiry, discovery and ultimately bliss. However, it is a journey and often a state that feels elusive, but by making the right choices it is very possible.
One minute we are happy, the next we are not – that is life. One minute we are riding the wave and the next we feel we are drowning. We all want to live a life of happiness, not to live in fear, however often we make choices in life that takes us away from the joy we are searching for. There is no magical way to make us happy forever, but how can we live most of our life in a good space that is predominantly on top of the wave instead of just treading water at the bottom in order to survive?
The answer to this question reminds me of the chapter ‘Finding Happiness’ I wrote in my book Follow the Sun:
25th October 2010
‘When facing adversity, you have a choice of facing yourself or running away. If you face yourself, you find yourself.’
These are the words of Venerable Ani Chris. I went to her seminar yesterday, which was presented by the Australian Institute of Tibetan Healing Practices. At first I just listened, but she was really touching my heart strings so I found a scrap piece of paper and a pen and scribbled down her words of wisdom.
A year ago I was put onto anti-depressants. I was at the depth of my depression, worried, panicked and stressed – an emotional breakdown. I had the choice of either facing myself or running away. I ran away to face myself.
New friends describe me as a happy, positive person with enthusiasm for life. I recognise that person. I am me again. It could have been so different.
Sam is one of my closest friends who chose a difficult path – one of cocaine addiction – when she was facing a terrible time in her life. It recently occurred to me that I could have done the same. I could have been the one whose friends convinced to go to rehab. Or I could have been another suicide statistic and ‘just fallen' over the balcony of my parents’ flat last year. I could have jumped, I could have hidden, I could have run away from myself, but somehow I didn't.
It is only really hitting me now, how profound this year has been. How necessary, and how much I am still learning and growing along the way.
I had a wonderful week last week – five Bikram yoga classes, a meditation class on happiness, a full moon yoga workshop, 108 Sun Salutations, time for myself and my meditations, listening to the Buddhist nun, going on a date and being wined and dined while watching a sunset over Bondi Beach, some tanning time, lunch on Friday with friends, and then seeing the twinkling lights of Sydney and the Opera House at night while coming home on the Manly Ferry.
It was a perfect week, and I could have missed it all.
If I hadn't chosen to travel on a spiritual and yogic pilgrimage this year and chosen to heal in a healthy way, I would have missed out on all these amazing experiences and not discovered the true Sharni.
A big part of Ani Chris's talk yesterday was about problems. We all have problems or adversities to deal with, we all suffer on one level or another but we also have a choice.
We have a choice to choose happiness!
We have a choice to not take our problems personally, to realise that the world is impermanent, that it’s full of change and things we can’t control. We have a choice to find real freedom and happiness by looking for happiness within ourselves.
Happiness is not out there, it is within us. We just need to remember to tap into that.
Ani Chris also said, ‘Instead of manipulating and controlling the world around us rather work with creating happiness within ourselves and let Life come to us.’
I liked that.
So in other words find that inner peace and internal happiness and learn to trust the process. I realised I don't need to achieve or attain things to feel happy. I can find happiness by tapping into me and using my meditation and yoga tools.
I am secure in myself and I feel less vulnerable. I can learn about and understand myself. I can relate to others without expectation and with no hidden agendas. I can tap into my true wisdom and open up to love and compassion and that feeling of connectedness.
This is my personal quest – to stop trying to find happiness out there. Happiness does not lie in a relationship, or in a destination, or in a perfect job or in a ginger biscuit – happiness is within me. So there it is – just another way of saying ‘Follow my Sunshine’.
How are you choosing happiness in your life? Each and every day you can choose to have a positive outlook and create a happy day, or you can choose to live in fear, anger, resentment. These negative feelings just make you spiral down and your day ends up feeling like a slog. It is your choice.
As scary as it may sound you have created your life. Everything that you have said yes to, every situation and person that you have said no to, every choice that you have made and opportunity that you let go by, has contributed to where you are today. We are responsible for our own lives!
The past has happened. There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t blame your parents, your partner, your boss for the situation you are in. Yes they would have had an influence in your life, but you had the power. You had it all along. You still had choices and decisions that you made along the way to get to where you are now. You have the power each and every day to carve out the life and reality that you chose to live.
To order Sharni’s book Follow the Sun visit Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H130ZNG