The Problem with Happy.

July 15, 2023

The Problem with Happy.

May 29, 2023

We all say we want to be happy. Happy feels great. It seems like the goal to shoot for, but ultimately happy isn’t where you want to land. Why? Because the state of being what we call happy is often contingent upon getting something or someone, whether it’s the love of your life, the money, the job, the house, the car, the designer handbag, courtside tickets or something else, and eventually the happiness will disappear and we will be left disappointed, frustrated, or yearning for the next shiny thing.

The secret sauce to a great life is not about happiness. It’s about Santosha, an ancient Sanskrit word that means utter contentment. When you find, and ultimately live, Santosha, you are in a satisfying state of contentment that is not dependent on anything or anyone.

Contentment is being willing to accept both your happiness and your lack of it at any given moment. To love what is. To be able to just BE with the good, the bad, or the ugly, and to remain centered and utterly content in appreciation and gratitude.

Does this mean you give up your goals, dreams, and desires? Do you just throw up your hands and hope for the best? Yes and no. It’s a paradox. Your desires and dreams are important, and I believe they come with a promise of potential fulfillment. So, yes, dream big. And learn to stay detached and surrendered from the outcome itself. Be content with where you are right now and allow yourself to deeply feel how good life is. Be grateful for the simple things. Do you have fresh water to drink? Clean air to breathe? Friends and family who love and support you?

Learning to be without knowing is perhaps one of the hardest things to master in this life. This means that we allow ourselves to be okay with what is happening and stop ourselves from endlessly worrying about the future. It requires a big act of faith that something larger, grander than us is at play here. It means paying attention to the whispers and callings of our own souls. And we must be willing to sit patiently in the sea of uncertainty, having faith that the Universe always has our back.

There is an old Zen story about a wise farmer who experiences a series of events and each time he responds “Maybe, maybe not.” When his horse runs away his friends console him, but the horse returns with a wild herd of horses. His friends congratulate him, but then his son breaks his leg while riding one of the horses. The friends sympathize but then a war breaks out and the son is exempted due to his injury. Throughout the story, the farmer's response remains the same, illustrating Santosha, the unpredictable nature of life, and the value in remaining content despite the circumstances, reminding us that what may seem like misfortune can sometimes turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Arielle Ford is a gifted storyteller and the author of 12 books. For the past decade she has worked as a love coach on a mission to help people find love, keep love, and be love. Her books include the international bestseller, THE SOULMATE SECRET: Manifest the Love of Your Life with The Law of Attraction as well as her newly released debut novel, The Love Thief, a spiritual romantic thriller set in India.

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