Much like those who grow their own vegetables, business, or even hair (which Buddha is sadly missing out on), there is a greater sense of accomplishment and ownership. Truly the greatest thing a person can do is create! To nurture and aid the growth of your own happiness, is one of the finest creations you can make. The best thing is that it's yours!
Are you intimidated by the notion of being responsible for your own happiness? Do you often ask for external circumstances in your life to change for the better? Are you begging to become a lottery winner, rather than building your own riches? If this applies to you in any way, then perhaps you are feeding from processed happiness rather than your own home grown?
What is processed happiness? I'll give you an example:
A young man is told from a young age that he should grow up to be a lawyer, like his father before him. His dad truly believes this will make his son have a happy, productive life. Of course, all parents want the best for their child...however, who does this happiness belong to? The child or the father?
In our example, it would be the father. The child is passionate about drama, acting, theatre, creativity...yet the father insists it's the wrong direction. The father claims to know better than the son himself, what will bring joy into his life.
The son becomes a lawyer and is congratulated by his father. Yet the boy feels like a piece of him is missing...he feels he is trapped in an existence where he MUST be a lawyer. He must do something he doesn't like in order to have enough money... And money will bring stability and happiness into his life...
Is he happy? Why shouldn't he be? He has money, prestige, his fathers support...yet he can't help but feel empty. He is now motivated by money, and if only he could win the lottery he could retire...
He thought he was happy, but after 20 years he feels stuck in a rut. He's bored of his life, and simply exists...he doesn't really live at all...
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in the modern age. There are more people existing than there are living, and so many are dissatisfied with their lives...
Money is prized above all, and while people constantly say "money isn't everything", most of the time they're just saying the words. If that were true, wouldn't more people be doing what they love?
How did they get here? Because their happiness has been processed by social conditioning. The decision was made for them in some way. Be it parents, society, teachers, or friends...external influences have molded their beliefs about happiness, rather than their own internal knowing.
It's an easy trap to fall into...If it wasn't, less people would be struggling in it. If you've found yourself there, have no shame. I have too, as my first article will point out. In fact, these experiences serve a great purpose in the journey to finding joy...They teach us the wrong way so we can recognize the feeling.
So, how do we follow our internal knowing? Buddha says the answer is simple. It's a yes/no question you ask yourself...
Is this bringing me joy?
If the answer is no, keep going through all the things in your life until you find something that DOES.
That's your key to more joy! The more you follow it, the more joy will flow into your existence. Follow that which doesn't bring you happiness, and the same rule applies. (As it has already for too many people...)
Does this idea bring you joy?
YES: That's Fantastic!
NO: Okay, let's try something else!
Think back to a time when you felt unbelievable joy...imagine what you could see, any smells you might have picked up on, tastes or feelings you had...what you could hear...? What was on your mind...?
When you feel like you've got it, imagine there's a dial from 0-10. This dial will increase all the sensations of that memory... It's probably at one right now, and you can crank it up to 2 and 3 and 4...and right up to ten in your own time...make the memory really come to life...
When you feel ready, ask yourself this...
What was the spark that ignited this joy in you? Where can you feel it in your body? WHAT does it feel like?
Your inner knowing will have the answer, so patiently wait for it. If you have the spark, it's yours to use whenever. You'll know - when that feeling comes over you again - that you are following your own sense of joy! Think of it as a compass, guiding you in the right direction. When you feel it in any situation, keep going! Chances are you'll find more of the same!
It seems so simple doesn't it...? And it is!
If you're following something that brings you joy, you're being a lot more honest with yourself! You'll begin to radiate a certain energy that attracts more! We all know that like attracts like, don't we? If you're telling the universe that something brings you joy, you'll find more of that something. Have you ever had friends who whine a lot about their lives? Ever noticed that they seem to attract more of the same?
We all create self fulfilling prophecies, so why not use it to our advantage? Have a self fulfilling prophecy that you'll find joy, abundance and happiness!
And with that, I'll allow Buddha to have his say for the day:
Growing your own happiness is like growing a plant...you must find an idea, one small thing at first. It's size matters not, as it is the GROWTH that will bring fruits into your life. The flavor of those fruits depend largely on how you nurture that growth. You must take the time to feed it, and offer time for it to accept your gifts.
True happiness is not grown overnight, and will have its own seasons and phases. It must first struggle through the soil until it can meet with the light of the sun. Fear not patience, for as each second passes you may know that your happiness will grow with your support. That it will one day do great things for you, and that every day it can bring more joy and abundance into your life. Then it will serve as an infinite source of richness and reward.
When it comes to the end of its summer, it will rejoin the soils from whence it came, and live on through new seeds that you plant...in the end, your plant become a garden...this is the nature of abundance...what grows, grows AND grows...it will never die, only shift into something greater. Your smile can grow too, as mine grows for you.
Worry not of time and age, for the season of growth is never too late. Do it now and smile. Then, you can experience the light of happiness today.
Blessings of joy upon you :-D