Ain’t got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don’t worry, be happy
The landlord say, “Your rent is late!”
He may have to litigate.
Don’t worry, (ha-ha ha-ha ha-ha) be happy (look at me, I’m happy).
Do you have a friend, like my partner, who is almost always happy? No matter what comes down her pipe, she is unfailingly cheerful, and lights up every lucky person who comes across her path?
You may have wondered, “Why can’t I be that happy?”
What is wrong with me that misery seems to gravitate to me? As the saying goes, “If there were no bad luck, I would have no luck at all!”
It is tempting to suppose that happy people are born that way, much like gorgeous women who need apply only the thinnest make-up to look ravishing.
Few people stop to think that professional models and actresses are obsessed with their appearance and spend hours after hours pampering their looks, staying on a strict diet and working out relentlessly to maintain a perfect figure.
So, also, consistently happy people may have a genetic predisposition to be that way, but they usually maintain a set of habits to ensure that they stay up. They are committed to buoying people up, not sinking them downward.
All of us have our gifts from God. One of my partner’s gifts is joy to the world. She grew up in a politically and economically constrained society, and yet she was consistently happy as a child.
She takes responsibility for her life and takes nothing for granted. She devotes hours at a time to staying conscious. Happiness is not at all an accident with her… and with most happy people.
It is also tempting to conclude that, happy people may not be any better than me, but they are certainly more fortunate, growing up in the right neighborhoods with professional parents, enjoying an exclusive private education. They set up their careers at Harvard or Yale before they ever hit the real world.
Again, while lucky breaks certainly help, they can’t account for everything. For example, President Obama was born into a broken family and grew up in a predominantly white society before he got into Harvard and ran for US Senator of Illinois.
Most of the outstanding success stories in our world are people who graduated from the school of hard knocks. For example, Steve Jobs, whose brainchild Apple, Inc. utterly changed the world, was an unwanted child shortly given up for adoption…and Steve knew that before he entered college.
Steve couldn’t afford tuition at Reed College beyond the first year, so after auditing a few classes, he dropped out, went to India and then came back to Silicon Valley and made history.
It is deeply unsettling for us to contemplate that…
happiness is actually a choice of those who willingly take responsibility for their lives and commit to making this a better world for all.
They back away from blaming anyone or anything, such as Oprah Winfrey, who suffered from incest as a child. Rather than dwell on her bad start in life, she ended up a superstar, a leading light for our generation.
As the law of attraction so brilliantly reveals, we attract people, things and conditions in our life, whether positive or negative, by our state of consciousness.
We see ourselves as a winner or a loser based on thought. We predict we will win or lose based on thought. To change your reality, start changing your thoughts.
Often times, we are our own worst enemy by giving most of our attention to what goes wrong in our day, rather than what goes right.
For example, if a dozen people were exceptionally nice to you today, but one walked up to you and said, “Hey, you stupid idiot!”, which of them would you remember? Even more, you would secretly agree that the one who insulted you was right!
No matter how vigorously you protested, you would be convinced that you don’t have it.
When encountering new feelings of misery, start by asking whether the problem is outside or inside. Most of the time, you will find that it is really an internal issue. However, there are times when the issue is outside, and you need to go do something about it right away.
Your feelings of discomfort can be a blessing.
Your roof is leaking, resulting in a growing puddle on your floor, threatening to ruin your carpet and furniture. You don’t tell yourself, “Cheer up. Things could get worse!” No, you take immediate action, and at least put down a basin to catch the rain drops.
At certain points in our life, we are required to take decisive action. It could be a critical illness in the family, a sudden loss of the best job you ever had or the loss of your sweetheart to the incessant demands of your career. At such points, you need to readjust your priorities, maybe even pull up stakes.
While the historic Buddha lost his mother in infancy, he grew up protected in the extreme by an over-indulgent father who supplied him his every wish, even a private harem, so long as he didn’t wander outside the royal city’s gates.
Of course, Siddhartha eventually wandered out and encountered a sick man, an old man and a dead man.
When he realized that he, too, would eventually face all these things, he became preoccupied with the problem of suffering.
After leaving his family and wandering in the forest for seven years or so, he had a series of breakthrough realizations under a banyan tree that gave birth to a world religion.
They are condensed in the Four Noble Truths:
1. Life entails suffering.
2. We suffer, because we are attached to conditions, which are forever changing.
3. We can overcome suffering by giving up clinging to those very conditions.
4. The Eightfold Path of moderation is the way to stop clinging and realize bliss.
Buddha realized and taught that when we become conscious, when we are comfortable observing ourselves, our attachments don’t have the same command value over us that they did before.
We can relish the pleasure available in every moment and not mourn its passing. Be a good sport. Life is a huge sandbox. Play in it while you can and take pleasure in whatever is available in the moment. No sense regretting what has passed.
The key to Buddha’s Eightfold Path is meditation or contemplation. By meditating more and more, we become less and less obsessed with our own thoughts.
Dr. Deepak Chopra estimates that 95% of the thoughts we have each day are repetitive, and most of those repetitive thoughts are other people’s thoughts. Only five percent of our thoughts, or less, are new and original.
By meditating and contemplating, you free up more space in your life to focus on the truly positive thoughts that can empower you.
It can begin by simply stopping and taking a few conscious breaths throughout the day. Eventually, you may end up spending 20-to-30 minutes in the morning and evening.
With an empty thought, a mantra or affirmation has magical power.
You have the space to really hear it and let it resonate through your being. By repeating a list of affirmations when completely calm, your head no longer buzzing with thoughts, those affirmations will implant themselves into your subconscious mind and begin to sprout like well-watered roses.
Your goal is to weed out most of the negative thoughts and leave the positive thoughts blooming. You will have to water your blooming garden consistently… in order for it to grow.
Yes, it will require some dedication on your part, but most worthwhile things require some extra commitment and effort… even for happy people.
Our thoughts fuel our entire engine. Our thoughts impact our feelings… and our emotions fuel our actions. It’s a chain reaction; therefore, our thoughts make us or break us.
Make sure that every positive thought stirs up some good emotions. That’s the secret sauce. If you just say or repeat some affirmation, or mantra without any feeling – it won’t work!
You can even say or think of something silly that will make you laugh.
Laughter will allow you to let go of a negative thought (tension) and by releasing some endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals, which also relieve pain) will help your mind shift to the positive side.
It doesn’t matter where you might be in your journey (or what boring project you may need to work on). Be grateful for what you currently have and what’s staring you in the face.
It will allow you to let go of your negative energy and replace it with the positive one.
Love… without a doubt… evokes a group of amazing feelings and happy thoughts (even when we fail). It helps us see a bigger picture
Don’t let the small stuff get you down. If you set out to achieve a big goal and allow a few small failures (along the way) to stop you in pursuing that goal… that means you are not focusing on the big picture.
Focus on the big prize and not the hiccups along the way. Your “failure” should not be looked at as failure. We call it - hands-on learning! It’s knowledge that you would not have picked up otherwise.
If you give too much attention to any hiccups or obstacles in life… they’ll push you in to the pool of endless negative thinking.
Focusing on the bigger picture generates positive emotions and thoughts.
Being happy is a conscious choice. Practice it! Even if you begin such practice by saying (with some conviction)… “I choose to be happy today!”