THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
by Shari Rhodes



Life can challenge us from all directions. The unexpected event strikes its blow. We go about our business, doing the best we can to survive, then the unexpected happens and a precious stable structure collapses. Some of us lose our jobs, there’s an illness or death in the family, an accident, and our relationship breaks up etc. We are caught off guard. We may ask ourselves why is this happening to me or we may decide not to think about it at all. The question then becomes how do we find contentment or meaning dealing with the challenges of daily survival? How do we experience inner peace trying to pay the bills, working long hours, taking care of the kids and struggling to keep it all together? How do we cope with these challenges? The solution lies within.

Many of us get caught up in the responsibilities of daily life, grinding out one arduous task after another to get it all done. We sometimes lose ourselves in the multitude of task that seems to roll one after another. Especially with full time work and small kids to raise, life can seem full on. When is there time to think about our personal needs and nurturing ourselves? By the end of the day, we are too exhausted to think about anything else, but precious sleep before we have to do it all over again the next day. Survival becomes the end in itself. It’s easy to lose sight of ourselves, our needs and our sense of identity consumed with the daily grind and monotony of endless perfunctory task just to survive.

It’s important to stand back and observe life as a hologram (an illusive sequence of events separate from our true selves, like watching a movie on the screen). By becoming the objective witness observing life from a detached point of view, we can gain a broader or clearer perspective about our life experience. Our creations in life do not define who we are. We are not the things we do. Our social roles do not substantiate or validate our sense of identity. Our core self goes beyond our vocational, family and personified roles we express in society. It is important to step back and recognize that we are larger than the life game. Whether we experience success or failure, it is not the barometer of our intrinsic value as human beings. If we can assume a larger perspective, we can observe life as the witness rather than getting lost as the participant caught up in all the drama and action. We can hold our emotional balance by not identifying with the outcomes of our experiences recognizing that life is what it is regardless of how we are playing it. Sometimes we have control over the outcomes of things and sometimes we don’t. This is life. Life is what it is regardless of how hard we push or try to drive our wants and creations forward. We all feel challenged and overburdened at times, but we don’t have to lose our identity, self confidence or personal power by objectifying or defining ourselves with the roles we are performing in the outside world. By coming back to ourselves, quieting the mind and becoming fully present with ourselves within, we can see we are more than just the physical game.

As the economy tightens with the rise of petrol, food and housing prices, we are becoming even more challenged to keep up with the bills and to find time to ourselves. But with the increased financial pressure, it becomes even more important to create that space for ourselves to be spend time alone, be creative and find balance. It is important to step back and take a look at ourselves and become conscious of who we are apart from our roles in the world. Self awareness is key. Even a few minutes a day to just stop and reflect on what is most important in our lives can make a difference in feeling more content and balanced.

It’s not about escaping life and living like monks in a monastery. It’s about finding the quietude in the chaos, the inner still point inside of us that connects us to the unified field of consciousness or to all that is. For each person, that internal connection to what represents source or a greater power is unique according to his or her own religious or spiritual paradigm. What is important is turning the focus inside the breath and listening. In a state of mindfulness or meditation, the body, mind and nervous system have a chance to slow down, get centered and regain internal balance. Through meditation, subtle impressions and insights can emerge lending clarity and direction. Maybe it’s having a quiet walk on the beach or connecting to nature that connects one back to oneself. For others finding that connection can comes through music, art, painting, drawing or any other form of creative expression. The key is listening and being fully present inside self.

The challenge becomes how to take time for ourselves to rest, nurture and restore. It’s about finding the balance between productivity and outflow in the external world and taking time out and connecting with ones own energy. No matter how busy and full our lives are, it is important to create down time each day even for just a few minutes to reconnect back with ourselves to do things we enjoy. Contentment involves finding beauty in the small things, being fully present in nature, taking time to slow down, relax, to be present and connected. It’s about coming back into the heart and connecting fully with the people we care about, spending quality time with our families and friends and taking time out to play and have fun. It’s about taking risk in intimacy and sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings with our partner and allowing ourselves to fully connect more openly and honestly. It’s about sharing our innermost selves, opening to authentic intimacy and letting another person in.

Happiness is an elusive concept open to subjective interpretation. For each person, it is a different thing. Often when we project expectation on external outcomes such as making lots of money, owning a flash car or house and being hugely successful, this can lead to disappointment, disillusionment or frustration. Often through public education, our family, media and advertisement, we are conditioned to find happiness somewhere out there. Perhaps it’s the new car, a beautiful partner, a corporate promotion, more success, fame or money, having the perfect body, or a flash vacation in the tropics. However, for most of us, happiness is not out there. We read in the tabloids and media about many rich and famous people who seem to have everything they could possibly want in the physical world and still they are unhappy. We hear stories of how many of them are battling depression and other mood disorders, drug addiction, crime or conflicted chaotic relationships.

Inner contentment is about detachment and allowing things to be what they are. It’s about riding the wave and letting it to take you wherever it goes. It’s a deep allowance and surrender to what is. It’s not about giving up on personal dreams and ambitions, but rather letting go of the need to fulfill things inside ourselves externally. That deep hunger or sense on internal nourishment transcends the ego hold of external fulfillment. It’s about a state of inner beingness, not having to do or be anything in order to be content.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself are “What does happiness mean to me?” “What expectations do I have in order to be happy and where did I learn these from?” “Am I doing what brings me the greatest joy?” “Am I spending time with people that uplift me or do I feel drained and depleted?” “Do I look to other people as a source of my happiness or am I drawing nourishment from inside myself?” “Do I expect my fulfillment to come from work, status and the amount of money I earn?” “Am I taking time out for myself or am I expending all my energy on day to day task?” “Am I looking deeper than outside appearances and connecting in with myself?” “Am I choosing to become conscious of who I am or am I just running with the pack, trying to fit in?” “In all this busyness and responsibility, am I avoiding something inside myself that needs to be acknowledged or expressed? “Am I connecting with my inner being and being true to myself?” “Am I allowing myself to be authentically who I am without placing pressure on myself to be what I am not?” “Am I listening to my own instincts and feelings or am I following the learned conditioning imposed from others?” “Is it ok to simply be and know that is enough?” “Am I being fully present in the moment and noticing the beautiful things in life or am I moving so fast, life is just passing me by?” “Am I making the most of this life journey?”

Life is a journey. It is not about the aim for inner contentment or pressuring ourselves because we are not in constant bliss. But rather being open to life and what it presents, allowing it to be what it is rather than what we think it should be. It’s taking the time to nurture and look after ourselves tending to the internal connection and doing the things that bring us joy. We are challenged to be fully present in the moment, taking the time to notice what is in front of us and to make the most of it.

 

 

 

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Shari Rhodes is an international Intuitive Reader who has been giving readings in
America, Australia and New Zealand for the past 25 years. Shari’s purpose is to support
people to grow and move forward in a positive direction with greater clarity,
selfempowerment and self-confidence. You can email Shari at home@sharirhodes.com
or visit her website at www.intuitivereadings.co.nz