The Pursuit of Happiness

This post is about Happiness. I’m sure how else to preface it because it’s a topic that I find really hard to discuss or write about. It’s this thing that everyone is trying to find and we base so much on it and yet it’s nearly impossible to articulate properly. This is just a little bit about what yoga has taught us about happiness.

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It’s me talking (Dom):

Happiness is a weird one. It’s this intangible thing that forms the basis of so much of our human experience. It is something, I think, that human beings are always seeking out, always searching for. Yearning for this (sometimes) elusive, external thing that is happiness. I was a really happy child. I had the best childhood, I look back on it and all I feel is this little bubble of contentment where my heart is and I know deep down that I was happy. I lost that somewhere during high school. Somewhere along the way, that bright little bubble of contentment just wasn’t there any more. It’s a really intricate web of how’s, who’s and why’s and I don’t think I’ve managed to even begin to untangle it yet. Somewhere in the mess I became a mess. I lost that sense of happiness. I lost that feeling of contentment that comes from being loved –and more importantly knowing you are loved. The thing of it is that nothing around me changed. I did. I changed. I think that I stopped loving me.

So it seems to me that to understand happiness I have to try and figure out its absence too. I mean, you read all these corny quotes like “happiness comes from within” and “you just have to make up your mind to be happy” and it makes it seem like its just some switch you are supposed to be able to flick – and boom, there you go, happiness shining bright like a diamond in your life.

 

No. Not so much. I still have no idea how to find it, because there are times when I’m unhappy. There are times when I’m frustrated and angry and sometimes all the feelings come at once and I just have to cry because there’s nothing else left for me to do. I don’t know how to find happiness, but I think that is because it is not an actual thing that you can find. I think the reality of it is that you need to find yourself before happiness finds you. It takes a shift in your mentality. It takes blocking off the entire world that is shouting at you to do more, be more, be less, buy this, go there, eat that, drink this and then you’ll be so much happier. It’s not something you can buy. It’s not something you can chase. The more you try to do either of those things the further away it will get.

Happiness in its simplest form will always be there. Real happiness will always be there. It never left me. I was the one who became disconnected from it and that disconnect is still something that happens to me. I get distracted, I get sidetracked and I doubt myself. I forget to feel the happiness. I forget where to look for it. Real happiness, that deep-rooted, everything is actually okay right now, that soul happiness; that little bubble that sits in the middle of your chest happiness? That will always be there. We just have to teach ourselves to see it again. We have to teach ourselves how to look for it.

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Say hello to Ellen everyone:

Took me 22 years to discover that happiness wasn’t just plain happiness. That a compliment or receiving a long-awaited postcard are happy moments, rather than pure happiness and that real happiness, is an inner contentment, despite how much goes wrong, or how much turns out right. The taste of chocolate and the man of your dreams may add moments of happiness, but the real kind of happiness is from you and only you. It’s within us and as much as the world makes us feel otherwise, it’s our natural state of being. Discovering this kind of happiness is the same journey to discovering ourselves, inner peace and all the real substance we are here to experience.

I still have moments of extra happiness, moments where you stop to take in the sweet experience and so we should. But they are only extra, take them away and I am still happy. It’s the dependence on outer experiences for happiness that can’t guarantee you what you’re looking for. You can’t depend on him, or her, or them, or the house, job, or the aesthetically pleasing body. They are impermanent. Every moment and physical thing on earth is impermanent and can’t bring you a permanently happy being. Your soul, however, is not impermanent. It has always existed and always will and is the only thing in this life that can bring you real happiness.

I still want to be loved deeply, taste chocolate and receive postcards, but they are just the cherry on the top. Real happiness is soul-deep and they are both magically infinite.

*Outfits courtesy of Lorna Jane SA. Yoga mats by Sentiens. Photography by Nikki Van Velden.

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