“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only. Find your real Self and all else will come with it.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj
We throw the word Happy around a lot and think it’s about time we shared with your our definition of happy. The first definition that comes in up the dictionary is “feeling or showing pleasure and contentment.” This is the most easily understood and often used definition. You see a beautiful piece of artwork and it makes you happy. You receive a nice gift for your birthday and that makes you happy. You have lunch with a close friend and you feel happy. All of these are wonderful things and that feeling of happy is something we all could use more of, but these are all moments of pleasure. Moments that pass.
The next definition, and the one we’d like to focus on, defines Happy as “enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment.” When we created our mission for Happy People Hike we spent a lot of time reflecting on what the word Happy means to us. And while it’s a catchy phrase, it has a much deeper meaning. We want people to find that intense, radiating joy. That contentment with life that doesn’t come and go in the moment. Even in the worst of times, death, illness, sadness, loss, there can still be a part of you that fits this definition of ‘Happy’. We’ve been through all of those awful things in recent years and having that deep down Happy has made it so much easier to cope and accept what was happening around us and even find some meaning in it. It doesn’t mean those things are easy and it doesn’t mean we don’t feel those very intense and real feelings, but that’s part of the journey. Allowing ourselves to truly feel sad or angry, allows us to work through those emotions and come out better on the other side.
Life is not meant to be easy. While we wish an abundance of moments of pleasure for everyone, that’s just not the reality of it. Instead of always searching for that next passing moment, search for meaning. Search for whatever it is deep inside of you that needs attention so you can start working towards a deeper meaning of happy. Happiness is not found in things. It’s not found in travel. It’s not found in other people. Those things can help. And you can make a very intentional conscious effort to use those things in your journey to happy but in the end, true happiness can only be found within.
So we’d like to challenge you. If you are feeling sad, sit with it. Don’t go buy a new pair of shoes to cheer yourself up. If you are angry, be angry. Instead of “putting on a happy face” write out your thoughts in a journal. If you are feeling a huge lack of contentment with your life, sit in silence, sort through your thoughts and take action. Stop jumping from pleasurable moment to pleasurable moment. Stop hiding and stop being afraid. Invest the time and energy in yourself to get to know yourself. Happy is not a destination. It’s a part of life’s journey and it is in you. It’s in all of us, we just have to find it.