Unconditional Happiness — It’s a Thing and You Can Have It
You walk into a party and there it is — you start to tighten up.
You force the smiles, push out the pleasantries, and hope no one notices that you’re closed up.
Perhaps three or four drinks in, you start to feel comfortable. You may even have a genuine moment with someone in which you forget about yourself. You forget that you are an individual. You are just in the moment. You are present.
Alcohol is the great opener.
Everyone gets tight. Everyone closes. Alcohol loosens. This is the great draw of alcohol.
When you are open, you can do anything.
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer gave me this terminology of opening and closing. Until I read this book, I didn’t realize that is exactly what I’ve been doing my whole life.
Opening let’s the good flood in — gratitude, acceptance, creativity, love, faith. These things all drive positive action. You fill up with these things and there’s no room for anything else.
Closing locks you down — fear, fatigue, stress, anger, frustration. Closing keeps you in this circle of painful emotions. It is nearly impossible to create something positive when you are closed.
How do you stay open?
As much as I wish alcohol was the answer — it is not.
According to Singer, we can train ourselves to stay open by noticing when we start to close. Anytime you start to feel that tightening feeling, gently push yourself to stay open. Remind yourself to be alright regardless of what anyone says or does.
The two of the most important lessons of this book are:
1) Closing does not protect you. It does the opposite. It prevents progress.
2) If your happiness is conditional, you are going to be unhappy a lot. You can be happy unconditionally. This is where the highest levels of achievement and fulfillment are possible.
If this all seems a little too ethereal for you, I understand. I find myself laughing while listening to The Untethered Soul, partly because I feel ridiculous and partly because it all makes so much sense.
Every stress we have in our lives is because something does not fit our ideal model of the world. You are never going to achieve your ideal model. Events are going to happen that will not fit your model. You can choose to resist these external events, over which you will never have control, and they will always cause stress in your life.
You can choose to be ok.
You can decide to do away with the model. The model is simply a creation of your mind – a picture of the way things should be.
What if you had no model? What if you woke up each day and knew that nothing that happened that day was going to bother you?
That would be amazing.
Doing away with your model does not mean doing away with goals and ambition. It means you fully enjoy and experience your drive towards these goals. You enjoy the action and do not worry about the outcome.
If you are struggling to find happiness on a daily basis, read The Untethered Soul. This book should be required reading for everyone. We are educated over the years on various topics. We are taught extensively about subjects we will never put to use. We are NEVER taught about our own minds.
Your mind is the thing that controls how you experience each day. Why aren’t we taught how to optimize this essential tool of human existence?
Our brains are filled with facts as we go to school over the years. We are told that it is crucial to exercise and eat right. None of the massive amount of learning we experience means anything if we are not equipped emotionally to face the challenges of life.
Unfortunately, the common approach is to wait until after a problem surfaces to address emotional issues. Kids need to be taught this stuff right out of the gate.
I’m amazed that it took over 33 years for me to seriously start exploring and training my mental and emotional health. I have been working on strengthening my mental and emotional health for several months now and have already experienced a significant impact on my quality of life.
Imagine the impact this could have if it were taught along with the alphabet.
“The quality of your life depends on the quality of the emotions you experience on a daily basis.” — Anthony Robbins
Photo by Andrew Morrell Photography
Thanks for the read. Interact with us @Wiliamwallis & @DrunknSportsmen. Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we get a small percentage. Thanks for the support!
Latest posts by William W Barnes (see all)
- The Power of Play and Rekindling Youth - December 3, 2014
- Does Commitment Make All The Difference? - November 8, 2014
- Podcast: Doughnuts and Adrenal Fatigue over Black Saddle Bourbon in Southie - July 8, 2014