Notes on Happiness

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I found such joy inside me that I didn’t know I could have.
My life has not been the same since. How can I thank you for
what you have done for me in my life?
I am finally living! God I am happy!!!!
– Karen, Real Estate

Everyone wants to be happy!

We are often taught that the source of that happiness is outside of ourselves. So we may look for the perfect lover that will take away the suffering, loneliness, and unworthiness. Or we try to find it in success, achievement, recognition, approval, accomplishment, security. Perhaps we will then turn to God or a spiritual teaching in the hope that the pain will cease. In a true teaching, this is seen, and with the deepest ruthlessness and greatest compassion we are thrown directly into the heart of our woundedness.

Our religions teach us that we are born originally flawed and the best we can hope for is salvation after we die, advertisers tell us there is something wrong with us that can be cured with their products, parents often respond to us as if we were innately in need of correction, education focuses us on memorizing the discoveries of others rather than on listening to our own creativity. The results are pervasive feelings of insufficiency, unworthiness, shame, and fear. We think this is who we are.

The result is we find ourselves in our own way. We lose touch with our magnificence – relationships stop short of intimacy, our careers don’t reflect our full potential, we live behind social masks trying to give the impression of wholeness and freedom. We play the game of life smaller than we could, and we are haunted by the feeling that there is more available but don’t know how to access it. We have split away from the truth of our being, living lives on top of a shaky foundation of unintegrated fear and pain.

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