I’ve had several conversations recently about being happy. Specifically, how to be happy when we are put in difficult situations at work, how to maintain happiness while enduring health issues, and how to make time for activities that make us happy. In my experience, most conversations are about happiness on some level. We share our successes and defeats, obstacles and solutions, stressful situations and enjoyable events. By communicating our experiences to one another, we are in effect sharing our happiness or our unhappiness with different aspects of our lives. It seems like there are several factors that can determine our happiness: the perception of fair treatment, kind or unkind words from a loved one, a favorite song on the radio, a paycheck. The list goes on and on. But I try to remind myself, particularly when I am unhappy about something, that ultimately, my happiness is under my own control.
There is a quote by Yogi Bhajan that helps me remember this concept:
Happy and unhappy belong to your mind, not to the world.
The way we choose to perceive, acknowledge, and act on every situation is under our mind’s control. We have the power to be happy or unhappy. Now, I’m not saying this means we must always choose happiness. Life inevitably involves suffering on many levels, and experiencing suffering is natural. But by acknowledging that we can control the extent to which we suffer by the way we choose to think about our lives is very empowering.
The next time you feel unhappy, or happy, remember that your feelings have been filtered by your mind. Take a deep breath, and settle into whatever you are feeling. Acknowledge the power you have over your mind, and thus your emotions. Then rejoice in the immense beauty and power of your mind.