It is truly liberating to realize that there is no connection between an event and your reaction to the event. No connection whatsoever.
Most people are so identified with their thoughts that they believe the emotions they experience when something happens means that the emotion is inherent in the event itself. So they think for example that death is sad, illness is terrible, and that divorce is tragic. But death is only death, illness is only illness, and divorce is only divorce.
There is no emotion inherent in any of these events. The emotion is something we attach to the event and it arises as a result of our interpretation of the event. This emotion is not inherent in the event but is always the result of our opinion or interpretation of what’s happening.
In reality, death could turn out to be the greatest adventure of all, illness could be the most transformational experience in our entire life, and – trust me on this one – divorce may be the greatest liberation (at least that was my experience)!
Take an event and then watch how differently people react to the event. Let’s take the volcanic ash from the Icelandic volcano in April 2010 that caused airports to close down all over Europe for many days. Was this a blessing or a curse?
Well from the reports I’ve heard, it all depended on who you are and where you were. In other words, it all depended on your story, on your interpretation of the event and not on the event itself. So for many people it was a hassle because they were stranded for days at airports. But for others, it was a wonderful blessing, an unexpected gift!
I personally know of three concrete examples of friends who just loved the volcanic ash. One was the couple from London who was visiting my youngest son and his family in San Francisco. They could not fly back to London after 10 days as planned so they had an extended vacation and the airlines paid!
Another was a friend who was on holiday in Egypt – he said he got five extra days at a 5-star hotel and even though his boss wasn’t happy, there was nothing anyone could do about it! And the third was a woman I know who lives in Oregon who was visiting her dying sister in Uppsala, Sweden – and since she couldn’t fly home she got to be with her beloved sister right up to the end.
So was it good or bad?
Basically there are two kinds of happiness. There's the happiness we experience when we succeed at something, win something, feel healthy, do good at our jobs, enjoy our partners and children, etc. This type of happiness is based on outer circumstances and events and people – and of course this kind of happiness is fun and lovely.
The problem with this kind of happiness is that when things change or people change or our circumstances change, the happiness disappears. As long as we are aware of this, it's OK and we can enjoy this type of happiness for what it is.
The other type of happiness is the happiness I am writing about in all my books. It's the happiness that is our true nature – it's the nature of life itself – and since this type of happiness is not based on any outer circumstances or people or events, there is nothing we can do to gain it and nothing we can do to lose it either. This happiness is what we are – it's our true nature.
To experience this type of happiness, all we have to do is step up and be present. When we do this, this blissful state (which I am calling happiness) is our reality. It's the experience of being here now in the present moment and it's totally peaceful, totally fulfilling, relaxing and enjoyable.
The problem for most of us is that we're so busy projecting into the future or living in the past that we miss the blissful happiness which is right here right now and which is our true nature.
So… are you happy now? If the answer is yes - cool!
And if the answer is no, you might want to stop for a moment and ask yourself why?
What is actually preventing you from being happy right this moment? What's standing in the way of the amazing bliss and joy of this very moment, of being you right here and right now?
Stopping like this for a moment and doing this is an amazing mind exercise because whenever you do this, whenever you really stop up and breathe in this moment in all its wonder and splendor, you always find – always – that the only thing that is preventing you from experiencing the happiness of this moment is some thought/some story about what 'should' or 'shouldn't' be happening. Nothing else is going on. Ever...
And then take a look at what happens if you drop the story, for just a moment? And just let yourself be... right… NOW?
How does it feel?
Are you happy now?
© Barbara Berger. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life
by Barbara Berger.
What is preventing you from being happy now? Is it your partner, your health, your job, your financial situation or your weight? Or is it all the things you think you “should” do? Barbara Berger takes a look at all the things we think and do that prevent us from living happy lives now. Barbara presents 10 practical ways to use this understanding in your daily life, your relationships, at work and for your health.
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com
Find and Follow Your Inner Compass: Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
by Barbara Berger.