New Years’ resolutions often include a desire for things we believe will bring us greater happiness even though, at a deeper inner level, we are aware that our frenzied and constant search for more and better things to bring us happiness rarely results in the feelings we desire being sustained. Sadly, too, what makes us happy in one instance often creates its own unhappiness because things that make us happy tend to only offer happiness for a while, and then we are off once again seeking the next thing.
In Bloom Where You’re Planted, Landry reminds us that unhappiness in our present situation will not likely be remedied by any amount of success or the accumulation of things, for true happiness is not an external thing; it is a state of mind and soul. True happiness is inner peace. The search for inner peace, the search for true happiness, must begin with a journey inward. The following three processes provide forward movement along the journey leading to the doorway where inner peace and true happiness can be found.
Be still: The soul loves tranquility. Noises of the outside world are out of sync with the frequencies of things of a spiritual nature, and thus, interfere with our abilities to connect with spiritual wisdom. When we fill each moment with cell phones and other technologies, we all but obliterate our abilities to perceive soulful messages and receive inner guidance. Being faithful to some regular quiet times, such as a morning meditation or visualization, a morning walk or jog without a headset so as to be totally present and in awe of the sights and sounds of nature, or driving in the country with no radio on are all actions that gently and quite quickly reestablish connections with the spirit worlds.
Develop a happiness mindset: It is not possible to be happy if we constantly tell ourselves how miserable we are. Thoughts create attitudes; attitudes, describe the world to us. Attitudes create behaviors; behaviors describe us to the world. Thoughts create neurochemical responses which move through every synapse of our nervous system. Thoughts of unhappiness produce dis-ease in our physical bodies. Considerable research supports that as high as 80 to 90 percent of physical symptoms have their roots in unresolved emotional and spiritual concerns.
Thoughts are not tangible things; they are energy vibrations. The vibrations created by thoughts not only affect us, they radiate beyond us, affecting others. Therapists recognize the need to protect from the effects of vicarious trauma resulting from the projection of difficult emotions by grieving and traumatized clients. The same is true in all relationships. Thoughts and emotions of happiness are constantly exchanged with those around us, as are thoughts of misery and lack. We really never need to tell another our feelings about them, for at a deep soul level they know this long before we have the cognitive ability to formulate thoughts into words. I like to refer to this exchange of thought energy as soul to soul communication. When we desire to bring more happiness into any relationship or any other life situation, we must begin first by making alterations at the thought level. Changing thoughts of resentment and disappointment to those of love and understanding will directly result in a change of attitude toward the other. This will have a direct impact on the behaviors we display toward them. In turn their behavior toward us will automatically alter in a more positive direction.
Evaluate your Purpose: Any turning point can cause us to renew our search to find the deeper meaning in our lives, our work and our relationships. If during this examination we discover we are unhappy with where we find ourselves, we begin to search for more moments when we feel fully alive and excited and passionate about our personal relationships and our work lives. John of the Cross referred to this time of inner searching as the Dark Night of the Soul. He noted that, while extremely uncomfortable, if we endure, this time of inner anguish results in tremendous spiritual growth. Others who wrote about his work indicated that the way out of the inner turmoil is to take advantage of whatever will help increase personal and spiritual growth. This, I believe is why, as we move through this difficult time, many feel guided to return to school to obtain the additional knowledge and skills required to become what will bring their lives more in line with their purpose. Others, however, find the inner turmoil too uncomfortable and continue to obliterate the inner silence in ways described above; some, too, attempt to run even harder and faster toward the next thing that promises moments of external happiness.
As we enter 2015, a year that is predicted to be a year of tremendous spiritual growth and transformation for many, let us each find ways to turn inward and experience true short and long-term happiness. Let us find ways to bloom where we are planted.
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