THE BLOG

How to Ignite Your Happiness and End Suffering

05/11/2015 09:54 am ET | Updated May 07, 2016

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Happiness is your essential nature. So why are so many people suffering? Is it because they have learned that suffering will bring them love and attention? Some people believe they are here to suffer, and that when they die, the more they have suffered, the more likely they are to go to heaven. Heaven and hell only exist in the mind. You either create your heaven or create your own hell here right now on this earth. Suffering is optional.

Where does the idea that we are here to suffer come from? It comes from generational suffering -- we learned that was the normal way to be. The truth is you are here to live your greatest creative expression, to love and be loved, and to be happy.

Of course, when the body is hurt or ill, you have pain, but you can decide not to suffer. You can manage the pain if your focus is to enjoy life. Focus your attention on everything that makes you happy.

Most people want to be happy, don't they? Nobody wants to be miserable. So what is the problem?

Here are five essential keys to understand how to free yourself from suffering and ignite happiness in your life.

1. Understand how the human mind functions.

The more you seek happiness, the more unhappy you will be. Now this seems absurd, but this is the root cause of the problem. If you want to get out of misery, you have to get out of your desire for happiness.

The moment you desire happiness you move away from the present. You have moved away from your present moment reality, into the future, which has not come yet. You have moved into a dream and a dream can never be fulfilling. The desire for happiness shows you are not happy right at this moment. You are unhappy today, and your projection comes out of whatever you are today, which is unhappy.

Don't dream and yearn for something in the future. BE HERE NOW. You can be happy right this very moment -- this throbbing, beating, real moment -- without any past memories, "My boss upset me yesterday," or future worries, "My retirement money won't be enough" to interfere.

Happiness is where you are. Wherever you are, happiness is there, available.

Joy is the very stuff the universe is made of. It is always there, in your present moment. You have to look straight on. Happiness does not have to be created -- it just has to be seen. It is already here now.

Happiness has nothing to do with what you have or don't have. Happiness is already within you.

The absence of desire brings happiness. It also brings freedom and liberation, because whenever something is lacking there are both limits and dependency. Only when nothing at all is lacking is there the possibility of freedom. Freedom brings happiness.

2. Happiness is your choice

The birds, flowers, trees, stars are happy. They don't know how to be unhappy. These birds chirping in the trees, they are happy! Not because they have chosen to be happy, they are simply happy because they don't know any other way to be. Their happiness is unconscious. It is simply natural.

You can be happy because you have something which no tree, bird, or star has. You have consciousness. But when you have consciousness two alternatives are possible: either you can be unhappy or you can be happy. It is your choice! Trees are happy because they cannot be unhappy. Their happiness is not their freedom. They have to be happy. They don't know how to be unhappy; there is no alternative. You are free to choose. This freedom is where the problem lies because your happiness is your responsibility.

3. Accept Yourself the Way You Are

A main cause of suffering is not accepting yourself the way you are. You judge yourself that you should be more this or more that. "I should lose weight and then I'll attract a wonderful man/woman to love me." "I'm so stupid -- I should have put the trash out before the dog got to it."

Acceptance is the opposite of judgment. You can say to yourself for example: "I love you ... insert your name... just the way you are." "My mistakes help me become more aware about myself." "I love myself no matter what."

You are born perfect, and you will die perfect. But we have to distinguish between two types of perfect. When you are young, you want to be perfect because your parents want you to be perfect and the teachers at school want you to be perfect. You search for an image of perfection that isn't real. It's not truth. It's the biggest lie. You will never be perfect from that point of view because that image is just an image -- it is not real. You search for everything you believe you don't have, not knowing that everything you are looking for is already inside you. You are born with it.

You are already enough. You are already perfect just the way you naturally are.

4. Happiness is being at complete rest

You run here and there in search of happiness, but the more you run, the more unhappy you will be. Happiness is that moment of rest when there is no more running, when you are just at rest, when you are simply there where you are, when you do not move even an inch. And then, in that moment of rest, there is happiness.

You can find these moments in meditation, walking in nature, playing with your children, chatting with your best friend, enjoying moments of laughter with your spouse. These moments of inner rest, when you are utterly content, happiness is there. You do not have to go to a mountain top retreat, read spiritual books, or take yoga classes (although all of these activities offer opportunities for happiness). You don't have to strive to be happy, nor is it something you have to work at. Relax, cultivate presence. And when you forget and "lose it," (because you will!) relax, accept yourself, and move on to the next moment. Happiness is always available, 24/7.

The universe is on your side. The universe wants you to be happy. All you have to do is relax into the moment, and beware the ego trying to make it complicated. It is not.

5. Seek Truth and Happiness is Automatic

Happiness is a shadow of truth. Always seek to live in truth, rather than illusion. This means seeing the reality of situations as they are, rather than the way you might want them to be. Sometimes the truth is hard: your spouse has been having an affair; you've just lost your job; your teenager didn't get into the college they wanted. Life is not always "happy."

When you come into the present moment, and allow yourself to experience and feel the impact of an unpleasant situation, you will find, underneath your hurt feelings, that happiness is there. It is always there, no matter the state of your life. Now allow the happiness to be there, alongside your sadness, frustration, guilt -- whatever your feelings are. Include ALL of these feelings, in an open-hearted attention. You will start to feel more balanced and calm, and your creativity will return. You will have more courage to continue to the next moment.

You can start to experience the nature of joy, and happiness, from a radically different perspective. Joy is the essence of life. Accept joy by being grateful to be alive and for the challenges and opportunities in life, and by finding the good in all that you have - rather than setting conditions or demands for happiness. By embracing joy, including when life is hard, you come closer to a true, peaceful, and balanced state.