Being happy isn't just good for you. It's good for your neighbor, it's good for your community, it's good for your nation, and it's even good for the planet.
First, let me define happy.
For me, right now in my journey, being truly happy is the internal state of having everything you need inside of you, and not needing anything from the external world. By this definition, I am nowhere close. You probably aren't either. But that's okay.
It's a very high state - something to work your whole life towards.
It doesn't mean you don't have anything. And it certainly doesn't mean you don't do anything. It just means, you don't need anything.
When you don't ever need anything - when everything you need is already inside of you - you're able to show up to every situation life presents you with complete presence and love. You show up to serve the moment unfolding in front of you.
But I think we need to take it a step further. What do I mean when I say that everything you need is already inside of you?
A few months ago, I would've meant inside of the mind - that it was about having the right mindset, filled with positive thoughts and a strong, tough psychology.
But I'm learning that's not inside of you. That's inside of your mind. And you are not your mind. After all, its your mind. So who are you, the possessor, the experiencer, of that mind?
This is the crux of spirituality.
A spiritually happy being is not interested in manipulating reality to get what they want, or avoid what they don't want. Rather, they completely accept and serve reality, because that's really all there is.
Imagine this scenario - your significant other comes to you after 2 years of marriage, and says they have a serious problem. They just can't be with you anymore.
Oh my goodness, how painful that would be to hear!
You panic, your heart feels like it's going to explode, the blood courses through your veins, your mind wants to implode - this volcano of reactions happens inside of you.
At this moment, you have a choice - get caught up in your own stuff, and react to your partner in hopes to make yourself feel better, or, accept that you have a volcanic reaction going on inside, and put your problems aside to actually deal with the problem at hand, which is your partner's state, not yours.
This is an extreme example, but these situations show up all the time in our lives where we think we're dealing with the problem in front of us, but really we're dealing with all our internal problems.
This is why it makes sense to improve your internal conditions before you fix your external conditions. This is what I mean by Substance Over Style!
If in that moment, your only concern is to try to feel better, you will completely overlook your partner's problems. This is what most of us do. Most of us are not happy. Is this making sense?
In this scenario, a truly happy person still experiences pain. They still know that their heart is pounding in their chest, but they can separate their true selves from that experience, and focus fully on the hurting person in front of them. When you're happy, by my definition, you're able to help that person. The same goes for your neighbor, your coworkers, and ultimately everyone and everything around you.
You stop getting caught up in your own melodrama, and you give to life what life gives you. You don't have the need to feel better, so you can fully focus on making your partner feel better.
In essence, you make every moment in front of you just a little bit better than when it arrived.
When we don't need anything, we're able to give everything.
But remember - just because we don't need anything, doesn't mean we don't do anything.
In fact, it's quite the opposite.
We're able to use our minds for what they're meant for - solving problems, creating art, sharing stories, collaborating on dreams - rather than incessant negative energy and mental chatter, which is what our minds normally do.
When we're happy, we're always feeling that openness, that aliveness, and we have everything we already want and need.
Instead of showing up to every situation with an agenda in mind because we need to get something to meet our conditions, we can show up with full presence and just give. We are now truly happy.
This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of spirituality, and ultimately, why being happy is so good for the collective future of our species.
Are you committed to figuring out how to be happy, so that everything in life is a blessing? Or do you want to continue to fight with reality and make your happiness conditional, like it already is?
The choice is yours.
Live with substance!