3 Paths To Happiness
The Two Wolves
One evening sitting around the fire, the grandson of an old and wise Cherokee chief asked his grandfather:
"Why is life so unhappy Grandad?" The wise old chief thought for a moment, and then asked, "Can you hear the wolves that are howling in the distance son?"
"Yes I can Grandad," replied the boy. "
Have you noticed how some of the wolves are angry and aggressive, and some are gentle and friendly?"
"Yes I have Grandad," replied the boy, "I like the baby wolf with the stripes who follows me when I go hunting."
"Well, we have two wolves inside us also," replied his grandfather. "One leads us to misery and unhappiness. It sows the seeds of anger, envy, jealousy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride and ego.
The other leads us to happiness. It sows the seeds of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson was quiet for a while and then asked: "Which wolf wins Grandad?"
The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."
- Author Anon
Are you happy? Hands up who wants to be miserable? Psychologists agree that everything we do, we do because we wish to either avoid pain or attain pleasure. Why do we spend so much of our time being unhappy? Perhaps we could start by examining our stated objective. We may be unconsciously telling ourselves that we should be happy all the time. When experience does not meet with this expectation, and we are not satisfied all the time, we may feel that we have failed. Also, we have compounded the problem by being unhappy about being unhappy! Is it reasonable to expect to be happy all the time? Isn't it natural for life to be a series of ups followed by downs and downs followed by ups?
What would you think of someone who was laughing all the time no matter what the news or situation? You may conclude that they were perhaps not entirely in touch with reality! Even if our own lives were perfect, if we are compassionate people and a friend shares a sadness with us, would it not be human to be sad alongside them? So maybe it is not reasonable, or possible, to be happy all the time.
However, it would seem reasonable to have a goal of increasing the amount of time we are happy and to be happy more often. How do we increase the amount of time we are happy?
1. Happiness comes from the word happy, which in turn is derived from the sound "ha" which is the noise we make when we laugh! Hopefully that made you smile - which is the 1st path to happiness!
2. Happiness is a feeling. What is the nature of feelings? They come and go – up and down, round and round, never resting or staying the same – and always in a state of flux and change. So to expect that once we feel happiness that we will always be happy, is perhaps not realistic. However, if we are unhappy, it is sensible to think that sooner or later we will be happy. Happiness is a feeling. Sadness is a feeling, and feelings are like clouds. Sometimes there are happy fluffy clouds in the sky, sometimes there are dark clouds, and sometimes the clouds cry. But the dark clouds always pass after rain, and the expanse of the sky remains unaffected. The sky is always blue. The sun is always shining. Sometimes we cannot see it or feel it, but all day (& all night) it burns bright and warm.
3. Happiness is here right now. Can you think of just one reason to be happy? Then be happy. Practice letting go of the habit of always thinking about what's wrong, try remembering what's not wrong? And focus on that.
Happiness is here now.
Jeannie Spencer M.H., C.HT Clinical Master Hypnotherapist
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