In part 1 of Finding Authentic Hanppiness, we discussed the definition of authentic happiness and some of the misconceptions about happiness in general. This month I want to talk in practical terms about how we can create authentic happiness in our lives.
To find authentic happiness, it is essential to be willing to get to know yourself on a deep and intimate level. All things on your path will help you, like prayer, meditation, yoga, bodywork, reading spiritual texts, workshops and of course relationships. But nothing outside of yourself will give you authentic happiness. They can help you along the journey but it is only through exploring your inner being that you can evolve into experiencing authentic happiness on a regular basis. This journey is not about getting to a destination, such as enlightenment. I believe the only purpose of our human existence is this journey of self-inquiry. Therefore, as long as we are on the planet, the journey must be taken if we are to find authentic happiness as well as fulfilling our purpose here.
“Consider a three story building. The first floor is where we usually live. The second floor is the level of kensho, or enlightenment. The third floor is the domain to which Dogen summons us, and to reach it, obviously, you have to go by way of the second. But some people quit at the second floor, mistakenly believing they’ve arrived at the roof. And let me remind you that above the roof lie boundless skies. Thus, the reality of our practice is that we must clarify ourselves endlessly.” –Ko’un Yamada
I recorded one of Oprah Winfrey’s shows last month. Her guest was Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul and a favorite of mine. He talked about relationships and what he called spiritual partnership. A spiritual partnership involves a partnership of equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.
This struck a chord with me because I knew what he was talking about and it was something I now look for in my own relationships. He described a spiritual partnership as a new dynamic. It is different from a traditional marriage, and is not limited to a marriage or couple. It can be your biological family, a group of co-workers, or any group that is together for the purpose of spiritual growth.
Let’s define spiritual growth: It is a self directed and personal inner journey. It is the search to know our true self. Getting to know what we are thinking, feeling, what we are intending, what our fears are, what our loves are. Religious affiliation is not a requirement for being spiritual — it is only another tool to help you on the journey.
Gary said, “If you erupt in anger, if you are jealous, if you are resentful you are a spiritual person if you have set the intention to heal those parts of yourself that are creating destructively in this world and your life.”
We all participate in the creation of our life and the world we live in by the choices we make each day. It is up to each individual to take responsibility for their actions and realize that the choices they make as an individual affect the whole. I have said before: if you want to change the world, begin by changing yourself first. If you are seeking authentic happiness then you must adopt a spiritual life, one that takes you on a journey into the deepest reaches of your own being. This kind of self-exploration will not only lead you to authentic happiness but will bring you gifts beyond your wildest dreams. Begin to look for spiritual partnerships in your own life. Seek them out and offer yourself up to explore this kind of relationship. Set an intention to be the change you want to see in the world and find your authentic happiness.
“Just as the wings of birds have no meaning to a rabbit, unseen facts have no reality to a man. So the great question is, how do you get him to see what he cannot see?
“Teach him the art of self-noticing.
“Impress upon yourself the necessity and the wisdom of constant self-noticing. This watchfulness is not the same as worriedly thinking about yourself. Esoteric self-noticing consists of standing aside as a passive observer of whatever you do and feel.
“Just alertly notice whatever is there. For instance, you might notice the failure of your efforts to find real and lasting satisfaction. Or you notice how a thrill is always followed by a depression. That is excellent self-action. It loosens the chains which bind an individual to dissatisfaction and depression. Facts are attracting freedom.”
Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge, p. 192