At times I have felt defeated by life.
All I ever wanted was to be peaceful, happy, and free. I tried to attain these qualities through spirituality. Once I had a daily spiritual practice, I waited for the immediate result that failed to appear.
It wasn’t until some years later that I realized I'd been attempting to cheat the system. I'd been trying to become enlightened to see the light.
Unfortunately that’s not how life works, you can't get the answers to life’s challenges in advance. Waiting for happiness, or "happiness procrastination" as I like to call it, can be paralyzing. If we think we need life to be a certain way in order to be happy, then we’ll always be waiting as opposed to being happy in the moment. If we fool ourselves into believing that we have to understand the reasons why we’re unhappy, we'll get stuck in that state of unhappiness.
So what's the best way to defeat unhappiness?
Stop coming up with excuses to not be happy.
This is not only self-defeating, but does a disservice to the world, your family, and community at large. Life is about learning from your trials, failures, and misjudgments, so don’t lose any more time trying to solve the mystery of unhappiness and just live in the now.
How, you ask?
The first step is to free all of your emotions: sadness, anger, love, joy, or frustration. The more you feel, the less you fight against the feeling, which deepens your capacity and potential for happiness.
Step number two is to love yourself as you are and without apology. Stop putting prerequisites on your self-love and acceptance and continuing the self-defeating dialogue of, If only I could lose 10 pounds, get a new job, run a marathon, etc ... Spiritual growth is not about fixing yourself, so don’t treat yourself as a home improvement project that's never quite good enough or finished. Embody spiritual maturity as unconditional love toward the life you're currently being offered.
I was a destination junky before I read Jon Kabat Zinn’s book Wherever You Go There You Are. It woke me up to the fact that waiting to be happy until I was somewhere new and exotic was never the right solution. I still had to deal with myself no matter how exotic the location or the distance from my office. I had to face myself with truth and honesty and admit that I was hungry for love. Just as Mother Teresa said, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” I felt that hunger.
The hunger cannot be quenched by material things, other people loving you, or going to exotic places. It has to be an internal shift of self-recognition that moves you to self-acceptance. As soon as that shift happened for me and I started loving myself, I wasn’t starving anymore. I knew I was and had plenty. That was the first day I made the commitment to my own healing. I ask you: how strong is your desire to live a healing lifestyle? Only you can make the choice to choose love and happiness each and every moment of everyday.
From my heart to yours, I wish the practice of yoga saves your life today as it does mine daily. I want you to love yourself more and in turn feel how loved you are by the universe herself.
To quote Sutra 11.42, “When at peace and content with oneself and others, santosha, supreme joy is celebrated.”
You hold the key to your own happiness. The question is, do you have the courage to take the time today without delay to defeat unhappiness? You are everything and you have all you need to be happy so don’t waste another moment procrastinating.