How to Be Happy? Start by Looking in the Right Place

I woke up to it pitter pattering on the skylight at 5:16am. I smiled. Today the rain felt good. Today, when I looked out at the rain, I felt cosy inside. Snuggled up in my bed in my little rooftop apartment. I didn't long to be somewhere warm and sunny. I didn't long to be somewhere that wasn't blanketed in grey. Today the rain was beautiful and peaceful and delightful.

And yet I could have sworn that last time it rained I didn't feel that way. I could have sworn that last time I woke up to it pitter pattering on the skylight at just gone 5am I didn't hear the delicate beauty of its music, but instead heard the incessant pounding of water that was going to ruin my day. It wasn't beautiful or peaceful or delightful. It was an annoyance, an inconvenience and the source of my misery.

How is it possible that the very same rain falling on my skylight on two separate days can make me feel two very different things?

I can say this now with peace and conviction because I've walked the path and done my time. I've searched for the truth and I've looked - really, really looked for the deeper reality. 

We love (I love) to say that my experience of life is a result of what's happening outside ourselves.

I love to complain and say that the rain is making me have a bad day or a good. I love to say that the good weather is the source of my happiness. But then I start to notice the inconsistencies and at some point I have to admit, much to my dismay and disappointment, that the rain or the sun actually aren't the cause of my experience at all. 

And if they aren't, then what is? If it's not the weather, or the job, or the relationship, or what happened this morning that's making me feel a certain way, then what is it? 

My thinking. Always my thinking. Every time my thinking. Only my thinking. Nothing but my thinking. 

Opening up to the possibility that nothing external - and I really do mean nothing - is ever the cause of your experience, isn't something that's convenient or comfortable to open up to. In doing so we turn our world a little bit upside down because what do we now? We've been operating on the assumption that we need to keep changing things to make us happier. 

But what if that's not true? What if, at a very deep and fundamental level, we really began to get that what's outside will never be the source of our true happiness? What would that mean for us? How might it change things?

A friend explained it to me the other day like this:

"It's not like a building or a job has negativity or positivity particles attached to it. It just is. It's neutral. It's a building. It's a job. And yet every day we're walking into buildings to do our jobs and believing they're the cause of our stress."

It doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't change things. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun creating something new and different in your life, because why not? We all have this beautiful experience of life to experiment and play with. But to be under the impression that external situations are the cause of your experience is to be under an illusion. It simply doesn't work that way.

And when there's a real understanding of that it means you can create from a much freer, more playful place. There's no need to run away from or avoid situations or circumstances. There's no need to feel stress if things aren't working out the way you want them to, because you know that in all situations your peace and happiness are always available to you.

I fall into the illusion so often. I get lost in how real it all feels. I don't see that my thinking is creating a stressful story that has nothing to do with reality. And then sooner or later I step back and see what's going on and there's so much freedom there. 

There's so much freedom in seeing that what's happening outside isn't the cause of what's happening inside.

Love and courage

Leah