How Your Search for Happiness is Keeping you from Being Happy
Anthony Anderson, over at Raw Model, puts it perfectly, that if we want to live in paradise, then we need to be creating that paradise all around us (sorry Anthony for that interpretation/paraphrase). I want to use the idea of creating paradise to talk about happiness.
We are definitely moving here into fall. For me, fall is a time of change, change of willingness and, at times, change of unwillingness. With this change, fall is also a time of intention. In winter we rest and percolate, and spring hits and it is like a drug, we're 1000 miles a minute, so excited at the signs of life all around, and this sweeps us into summer. A time of wild harvest and swimming. Berries abound, and soon enough I've got a blackberry or a thimbleberry, or maybe a cloudberry, or a wave, for a brain. Then fall comes, and the crispness brings with it a blue-gray clarity, a sudden change. And here I want to focus on how Intention fits within this change.
A birthday conversation in late September taught be once again to focus on the plentiful. All too often we are living in the past and simultaneously living in the future. We tell stories about who we are, to ourselves and to others, and those stories bind us to ways of acting, to ways of believing, and to ways behaving. Sometimes they are true, but most often they are interpretations which fit and serve our needs. We create our current realities through the narratives we tell of the past.
This is coupled with our addiction to the future. Usually this addiction sounds like, "I'll be happy when..." The problem with this is that when never comes. If we'll be happy when we have a particular job, by the time that jobs comes, we'll be addicted to the thought of what comes next. We'll never even notice our goals being met, because we are living so far in the future that we have complete disregard for the present. Between the constant story telling of our past, and our addiction to the future, we are left with a huge gap. We are left with no present.
The present is what holds the answers. Here in the present we are not victims of the past and we are not slaves of the future. Instead, we look around and notice the beauty, the love, and how everything is plentiful. But when we are in a constant search for happiness, we never suspect that it might be right here, right now. If fact, if we're expecting it to come in the future, it would be impossible that we might be surrounded by it.
My goal for this fall is to start facing this world, this life, with more intention. For me, this is freeing myself from slavish thought patterns, because these slavish thought patterns keep us everyone from achieving the very desires they claim to be bringing them. For me, if I keep searching for happiness, I won’t notice it right here, and how to create and perpetuate that happiness.
Now it is fall and it is time to change. We get to decide if that change will be with intention or if we'll let it happen to us. We can continue with self-defeating patterns, or we can intentionally change those patterns. We can decide to notice the beauty in the present, and stop being slaves to our narratives and to the addiction of the future. Again, if we are searching for happiness, we are unconsciously deciding, before we even start, that it is impossible that happiness is all around us. We must stop searching, and look around.
Our search for happiness is keeping us from being happy; but luckily, we have this very moment to change.