Have you ever stopped for a moment to ask yourself why you keep buying things you don't need? Where does this impulse come from? Could it just be the result of years of conditioned behavior? We go to work, pay our bills, and to reward ourselves for working so hard, we give ourselves that moment of euphoria when we finally drive a brand-new Lexus off the lot. We say to ourselves, I am successful and need to show it to the world. But that's the ego at work.
The ego is a bottomless pit, and that's why this feeling of joy never lasts more than a few days. So, we consume more. We never quite seem to find the formula to quench our thirst, giving us that inner satisfaction we all search for.
Recent research suggests our level of happiness depends on these three things:
Ten percent depends on our circumstances (i.e., money, relationships, or social status), 50 percent depends on genetics, and 40 percent comes down to our state of mind.
So, a large chunk of our happiness (or lack thereof) stems from our internal state. Many of us mistakenly think satisfaction is a result of favorable circumstances, so we work ourselves to death to get a promotion and buy the house of our dreams. But overconsumption actually derails us from the path to true happiness. So, what can we do?
I believe we all come from Source, or God. He made us in his image—pure energy and love—connected to him and to one another. We all reflect God's personality—compassion, love for ourselves and others, kindness, justice, peace, forgiveness, generosity, etc. We just got a little lost along the way.
By raising and realigning our vibration with Source, we can restore our well-being and get back to our true spiritual selves. In so doing, we attain that inner peace and lasting contentment, regardless of circumstances. Through a shift in perception, the willingness to make different choices in our lives, and a bit of practice, we can reignite that tiny flicker inside us. Eventually, it will become a bright flame that consumes our whole being.
The key is to look at our world from another perspective.
When we care for something other than ourselves, we develop a sense of love and concern for all of creation because we recognize ourselves in it. In realizing that we are all connected, we comprehend that our actions have ripple effects that ultimately come back to us. Our vibrations rise, our minds expand, and our empathy deepens. That impulse to pursue our own little pleasures diminishes because we yearn instead to make a difference.
A true connection with our spiritual selves means being in harmony with nature. It leads to an authentic appreciation of life, resulting in concrete actions that preserve the divine link between ourselves, all living things, and nature. Satisfied is the soul who truly loves, in tune with the Universe. When we continue to act out of selfish interests, we break the connection with our higher selves, one another, and Mother Nature.
Inner peace is at the foundation of spirituality. It won't be found through rituals or other external events. It's a mindset—a perpetual desire to find meaning in our lives.
Once we have stepped into this new plane of existence, it becomes natural to practice all the habits that lead to happiness: mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, authenticity. These are the fruits of the spirit.
Happiness comes from living simply while caring for our world. Knowing that we are making a positive difference to our planet, other human beings, and future generations engenders a lasting inner peace. Humans cannot possibly feel truly happy within the confines of themselves, perpetrating destructive patterns.
When we are surrounded by the people we love, when we make a difference in other people's lives, when we protect and preserve our natural environment, we are restored and complete. When we heal the world, we heal ourselves.
If you still itch to go on that shopping spree or buy that big house, there's nothing wrong with you. But if overconsuming becomes a habitual pattern, start asking yourself, Will this really satisfy my soul? Meditate for a minute. Let your mind take a break and find some clarity.
The ego always wants more; it will never end. Once you accept that, your ego will have no choice but to quiet, letting your higher self take control. The kind of happiness you really want comes from following your own bliss.
Let your heart and gut help you find that bliss. Creativity and prayer help me to balance my emotions, center my mind, and reconnect with my higher self and God.
Other ways you can do that might include painting, reading, gardening, doing yoga or meditating, extending a hand to a neighbor, walking in the woods alone, doing the things you enjoy doing for yourself, expressing your love to your family, protecting the environment, or taking the first step to achieve a dream you've always wanted to pursue.
Whenever your ego tries to regain control, just acknowledge it. Tell yourself, "I am here now. I am all I need." Become a refuge to yourself through creative activities, surrendering to the present moment through meditation, connecting with nature, and goodwill toward others.
As you practice this art, you become more and more awakened, mindful, and conscious of your inner being. As you connect with your authentic self, you'll understand yourself better, understand others better, and develop more compassion toward them. When you develop a higher purpose, you add meaning to your life. You effortlessly let go of the burden to be somebody as you cultivate your true self.
By making a positive difference in the world, you engender beautiful thoughts and exist in a state of contentment, which ultimately leads to happiness. As you create inner peace in your life, you'll start to see the world through new eyes. Your ego won't be as demanding; that shiny, new luxury car won't hold as much significance. You will stop comparing yourself with others as you discover that you are all that you need.