Looking into the new year, we often consider resolutions or reflect on our lives, looking for messages to guide us as we move into making decisions and choices with the unfolding of this 2016 time container. Something about this seems to involve the search for the holy grail … happiness. So why does this happiness thing seem to be a perpetual dangling carrot, just out of reach?
Perhaps it’s our expectations. Looking for an outcome. Something concrete against which to measure success along the happiness scale. Especially in our culture, we tend to work within this framework of achieving some outward manifestation of a goal, or some external expression of “happiness”. What if we have it all wrong? What if all of our best planning has been driven by someone else’s expectations? Or maybe you have been shaped by the layers of circumstances which have unfolded in your life, and those embedded layers have been created out of your reactivity to what life has handed you? What if these layers were cultivated by mindless reactivity to fear, anxiety, loss or even lots of joy and the cultivated expectation that joy should be the goal? What if these layers embedded “auto-pilot” as the way you meet your life?
So why are we still searching for the holy grail of happiness? Is it because we are so attached to outcome related to what’s happened in the past or what we think should happen in the future? Maybe we do have it all wrong. What might happen if we turned this paradigm on its head and let go of outcome altogether? Sounds like a crazy idea, but what if letting go of outcome opens an unexpected door? How can we begin to listen inside, instead of auto-pilot reactivity to outside events AND begin to let go of outcome?
Beginning to notice the narrative we have created and which rules our lives and our choices, just might be the start to a new way of living which leads to a new way of seeing this business of happiness. We call ourselves human “beings” when in fact we may really be human “doings”. What if we lived in the present moment “being” instead of “doing”? What have we missed by all this “doing” instead of “being”?
Ah! So that’s where mindfulness comes in.
Here’s a link to a video to look into this perspective.
If you are curious to learn, through mindfulness, how your narrative, your "stories" or auto-pilot have driven you, is it time to engage in the exploration of a new paradigm of what happiness might look like to you?