I Am Happy Because I Remember Myself! Part 1: the Treasure
This world will often ask me to do its will, but only my heart knows the way to my happiness. Therefore, to my heart, I obey.— Sean Dragon
What is happiness?
Happiness is a bizarre "thing." If you ask a hundred people to define it, you will probably receive one hundred different answers. Try to describe it for yourself, and you will understand it. It seems to be so different for every human being and even for the same person at the various stages of his life. For example, if you ask a poor and homeless person, he is likely to tell you that happiness is a meal and a warm bed. If you ask a wealthy man, I am sure enough that he will not give you the same answer. Probably not even the homeless one will provide you with the same answer if he becomes prosperous after a turn of life. Simple things make us happy in the early years of our lives, different things in our teenage age, other in our first adult years, and so on.
It appears that the only common thing in happiness is that we are all looking for it constantly as it seems to be the purpose of our lives. Besides, what else do we try every day more than to feel even a few moments of happiness as they are defined by each one of us?
What is it that makes happiness seem so relative and not absolute and same for all?
The first answer to this could be life itself! Life forces us to redefine for ourselves what happiness is with the difficulties it constantly puts in our way since mainly seems to be the fulfillment of our basic needs. How to be happy when you are hungry or feeling cold, or you are in pain or... There are yet so many "or" that can describe things and situations associated with the acquisition or loss of happiness. Sometimes, through the constant struggle with the difficulties of life, and the spiritual and physical exhaustion that this battle can bring, we end up to consider survival as happiness, as in the example of the homeless man that we mentioned.
Another answer could be our diversity. Each human being has its personality, its individual characteristics, its personal dreams, and goals. Our life is an attempt to realize these goals and dreams, and often we end up believing that our happiness is directly dependent on their fulfillment. Many times, however, when we set our goals, life sees them and laughs! To test us, it puts new obstacles in our way that make it increasingly difficult to achieve them. So, trying to avoid these challenges, we often have to change direction, but we are not sure where to go and maybe not even where we really go! Therefore, for the most of us, life ends up resembling a labyrinth, from which we are trying, full of agony, getting out, considering that at its exit there is our coveted happiness.
Is really our happiness at the end of a labyrinth?
But is that true? Is life so hard that makes it almost impossible to achieve our happiness? That happiness that seems to be so essential to our existence! Does life want to tell us that we do not have a permanent right to happiness, as occasionally have been supported by several lovers of guilt?
I do not agree with anything of the above because I know that happiness is always within us and it is waiting patiently to fill our lives. It is placed there by our Creator; it is the Gift of His Love and His Seal to His creations, to His children. It is an eternal and indestructible treasure, but unfortunately very easy to be covered by the distractions of life, our passions, and our selfishness and eventually almost to be forgotten.
You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.— Anthon St. Maarten
This treasure is our true Self, the child of God that exists within us, the Inner God. It is our connection to Him who is the infinite source of everything, and therefore an unlimited source of our happiness. Our contact with this inner Self, with God within us, creates the real moments of happiness. Our reunion with Him leads us to the permanent state of true happiness. This is something that no one can take it from us; no one but us. Because no one can separate us from the God that exists within us, but we can forget or deny His existence.
Can we experience a permanent state of bliss?
Why then, may someone ask, most people spend their lives experiencing only a few brief moments of happiness, fragments of joy, rather than a permanent state of bliss?
The answer is simple and complicated the same time.
The simple part of this answer is that we have forgotten the existence of our true Inner Self. Yes, we have forgotten. We live our lives in schizophrenia. We live as multiple personalities that each of them occasionally takes over the sovereignty of our lives and does not let our real Inner Self manifest itself. So we live. As schizophrenics. I do not need to say much to support it. Just take a look at our lives and the world we have created.
The complicated part of the answer is why we have forgotten. Let's try to approach this "why" through an example. Consider this:
In a small loft, in your humble home, there is a forgotten coffer filled with gold coins. An enormous treasure. This treasure has been hidden there by your ancestors for generations, but for its protection, the people of your family never spoke openly about it. So over time, the existence of this treasure has been forgotten, leading you to a life in which you are trying hard to satisfy your family's needs. Although you are struggling daily, your family lacks essential goods and things such as proper and nutritious food, education, health, entertainment and much more. And that happens while you have a treasure that could satisfy all of these needs and much more. But you have forgotten its existence. It is such a pity! Isn't it?
Now consider a detail (I will ask you to remember it again later on). How helpful or saving would be to have somewhere in the house a small frame with an inscription that says:
"Do not forget the treasure in the loft."
Someone may say, "This is very dangerous because it may be a cause for robbery if a visitor will see it."
I will not disagree. To avoid this probability, let's make the inscription more "secret" so that only those who know about the treasure, be able to understand it and remember it. For example:
"In a small loft, all the dreams have fit."
Or even better:
"Do not forget that everything you need is ready for you."
That would be so helpful. Wouldn't be? But unfortunately you did not take care of making such an inscription and, now the treasure is forgotten!
So I believe that we do can experience a permanent state of bliss, but we just have forgotten how to do this.
Why we have forgotten this "treasure?"
So let's try to answer this "why." Why we have forgotten this "treasure?" Let's try to see how we can fix it. How can we recall and reuse the wealth that is ready for us, to claim the happiness that rightfully and "hereditary" belongs to us!
Initially, we must understand that there is real happiness and the illusion of happiness. Sadly, most of us learn from our younger years to chase the second, which has the effect of disorienting us and eventually forgetting the former. They teach us to pursue the illusion of happiness because it makes us easy to be manipulated. Because hunting the illusion of happiness means chasing something deceptive, a ghost in fact! And when you chase a ghost, it is logical to end up with a sense of emptiness. Rather than being filled with happiness, you are emptied of the realization that what you were looking for was a lie. I think we have all felt it. All of us have associated, at least sometimes, happiness with material goods such as riches, reputation, external beauty, "good life" and everything that represents the world of advertising. Even if we achieve to get some of them, we soon find out how temporary this "replica" of happiness is and how unsatisfied it finally leaves us. Look around you, how many famous, beautiful, wealthy people living the life we dream of end up in depression, drugs, sexual corruption, exaggeration, suicide.
Reconnect with the source
Now think of the happiness you felt when you received or (even better) when you gave real unselfish love! Remember the happiness that brings a hug from a loved one, a true and pure smile, a “thank you” that you said or heard. The happiness you felt when you offered your hand to someone to stand up; when you see the smile on a child's face or the colors of the sky in the sunset. This happiness is true, deep, refreshing and the most important is free for all. All these give joy to our inner Self, who, as we have said, links us to the Source of All, to the core of the existence itself. And everything that makes our interior self, happy, never fades; it cannot be lost, does not wear out and stays forever inside us. It is added to our treasure, and we can use it again and again.
There are many times when I've "caught" myself recalling moments of pure love like the first kiss with my wife, the last embrace with my father who has gone away, the first "daddy" that I heard and more. Every time, I feel the same happiness I felt when they happened. This satisfaction cannot be taken from me by anyone. Neither the time nor the difficulties can take those happy memories away. Those are the treasure of my soul. Eternal and indestructible. That's because all these moments are my own offerings, my own gifts, to the Creator of Love. They link me back to Him and re-open the channels of joy to fill my life. I'm sure you all have a treasure like this.
Now I think it is becoming more clear, what we actually need to do to find permanent and real happiness again. We have to remind ourselves, every day, where this treasure really is. So we will not be enthralled by the illusions that continuously besiege us to lead us deeper into the labyrinth. Let us remind ourselves that happiness is within us and we can be in constant contact with it. To remember that even when we face the difficulties of life, we can be happy at the same time. One of the quotes I have created to remind myself of this is:
"Love is the best compass."
Whenever I feel lost, and I do not know which way to follow, I whisper to myself these words, I calm down and find my way again, following love. So I'm not traveling randomly through my days, I know where I'm going, even if life with its "games" has forced me to change my way. Because I know that what love chooses is the best for me as well. This saying is for me the inscription on the small frame that I asked you to remember. In fact, it's one of the many quotes I've created as "security inscriptions." These are probably the "ball of the thread" that my soul, like another Ariadne, has given me to help me out of my own labyrinth. Not to forget my treasure.
Making the "signs" that lead me back to the source
So we come to my answer to the question: "how we can continuously remind ourselves of the way to our happiness?" The answer is to create "signs"! These signs will work like road signs that guide you to find your destination when traveling to an unknown place. They are little sayings that we can tell, depending on the situation we are dealing with, reminding us who we are and who we really want to be. These quotes may be sayings of other people (pieces of wisdom that they have acquired on their journey) or our thoughts. These are phrases we can find everywhere around us or create them from external stimuli.
I believe that the Universe, with its love, always leaving such messages to us. Most of these are in plain view. So if we pay proper attention, they could be our compasses. Phrases from a book we read, verses from a song we heard, a message written on a wall, everywhere. There may be a message for us in the most unlikely places.
I will never forget, for example, how I discovered one of my favorite quotes precisely the right time. I was going through a tough period of my life, and disappointment was covering me dangerously. Then, as I was watching a soccer match of a favorite team, the lens zoomed into one of the great players of this group. And "boom!" On that player's neck, there was the message for me that made me wake up from the misery in which I had let myself sink. It was a tattoo written in Portuguese: "tudo passa" meaning "everything passes." At that moment, it reminded me that bad and good things do not keep forever, so we have to live the moment. I thanked the Universe for its love and wisdom, and I immediately changed my attitude towards the problem, and as a result, soon I returned to happiness.
In another case, shortly after my father's death, I was in the waiting room of a doctor's office to meet the doctor who had supported him throughout his battle with cancer. I wanted to thank him and arrange the last pending things. I still felt hurt and sad for the loss, and dark clouds were shadowing my soul. I had let the happiness slip away from me on the excuse of this twist of fate. I got a magazine from the table in the waiting room, to spend my time and forget my bad mood. This particular magazine drew my attention because at some point on the cover it was written that it contained an interview with one of my most beloved personalities, the Dalai Lama. I opened it on the interview page, and immediately my eyes fell into a subtitle with bold letters, saying: "When you lose, do not lose the lesson."
Instantly I understood the message that had so nicely been offered to me. I remembered all those things I had won and learned through this unequal battle. How close I came to my father, that he said to me, for the first time in my life, that he was proud of me and of what I have done. I remembered that during this time of fighting cancer, we lived so many beautiful moments that we had never lived in the past thirty years and that perhaps we would never have lived if this sudden evil did not happen. I learned so much from my father during that time that they helped me become a better person and definitely showed me how I could try to become a better father. So I realized that in this battle, or better, and in this battle, I had won more than I had lost, I only had to use the lessons I was offered. I realized that I might have missed my father's physical presence, but I have gained the connection with his immortal soul, and I have added positive parts to my soul. All this happened to me in seconds. It was like when I read these wisely placed words, the time in my mind changed so much that within a few seconds I could relive all that we passed along with my father and make their evaluation. So I felt again, in a moment, the happiness filling me. I felt so well that I unconsciously started laughing. And I realized that I was laughing because of the curious gaze of the old lady who was sitting next to me on the couch in that blessed waiting room where I said goodbye to my father as he deserved. And all this because this wise phrase woke me up and put me back on my way. On the road to my happiness.
So the "signs" are there. They are around us and within us. They are waiting for us patiently, to see them and use them or to create the ones that will best suit us. Therefore, we can make our plan to get out of the "labyrinth" of life. By using them, we will be able to remind ourselves of what happiness really is when the difficulties of life, are trying to get us out of our way. They will become our own secret communication mottoes with our inner Divine Self that will remind us who we really are and who we want to become. Who we are not and who we do not want to be.
Do not let your treasure be forgotten. Make your own signs now. Remember Yourself. And do not forget:
The only obstacle to miracles is our attitude.— Sean Dragon
To be continued... (link to part 2)
Do you use sayings as “road signs” on your life’s adventure?
And as an example of how you can create your quotes, which will be the theme of the next article, a thanksgiving:
Those who put the pure love of their heart in their writings are a helping hand for the Angels, and they make God smile! What a blessing to the world!— Sean Dragon
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis