I believe that everyone in this world is striving
to, in their own unique way, find their own
People have vastly different personalities, beliefs,
religions, values, and ideals but in the end, no matter
which path we take through life we all just want to end
up in a place where we can simply be happy.
Words are just symbols so when I use the word
happy I’m referring to a lasting joy that
permeates your being on a daily bases.
My use of the term happiness can refer to a sense of inner
peace, joy, bliss and fulfillment. When I talk about the
secret of happiness I’m mean reaching a state in your life
where your default state is happiness, and that happiness
is present in your being for the vast majority of the time.
As I’ve traveled I’ve met a good number of people
all with different life situations and levels of
happiness. I’ve met people with very easy lives
surrounded by loving friends who wake up every day
bored, discontent or even annoyed with their
I’ve met financially wealthy people who in a fit of anger about
their unhappiness scream “I can buy or do anything I want!
Shouldn’t that be enough!?” and I’ve also met financially poorer
people, with busy more difficult lives who can’t keep a beautiful
smile off their face due to their everyday lasting happiness.
This definitely posed the question in me, what’s the difference?
What is the secret to happiness?
In order to find the secret of happiness we have
to ask and answer a very important question. What
is it exactly that makes a person happy?
People have many ideals for what they want in their lives
to make them happy. For some its financial abundance,
for others its loving relationships, some want a sense of
fulfillment from helping others, others want to feel successful
in the career they pursue, and some simply want to be
free from oppression or persecution.
A more balanced person will decide happiness comes from
achieving a degree of success and harmony in all of the important
areas of his life, something that is far easier said than done.
Now while pursuing these things these things can create varying
degrees of outward happiness, are they really the secret to happiness?
Let’s look deeper.
Filling the hole is not going to make you happy
If I could only just get that new high paying job,
then I’d be happy. If I could only just escape my
small home town, then I’d be happy. If I could
only just find the perfect lover, then I’d be
Many people have the single ideal goal that they believe once
achieved will allow them to finally have the happiness they’ve
They feel a certain lack in their lives and until that emptiness
is filled they will live in a less than happy state.
The feeling of lack in this area they carry with them
also helps to prevent them from fulfilling it. The truth is
however, even after accomplishing that one thing that
you’re sure will finally make you happy for the rest of
your life, in reality… is not going to change
things all that much.
Sure you will find temporary joy and pride at finally accomplishing
the thing you set out to do, but as fast as a fancy new car
loses its once exciting appeal, the happiness you got from
accomplishing the goal will slowly fade, or be replaced by new
goals and desires that you will again be sure, that once you
accomplish them will finally make you happy.
One of the reasons you can’t find lasting
happiness at the accomplishment of a certain
something comes from our amazing ability to adapt
to our life situations.
When there is something missing in our lives we feel that
filling the void will give us that extra ‘thing’ we need but once
the void is filled we adapt to our new situation and the extra
thing becomes the new normal.
Our problems or things that make us unhappy are always
relative to our current situation. A homeless person who is
handed a sandwich by a stranger can feel the same or more
joy than a business man who is taken out to a fancy 5 course
Because happiness is relative it’s very hard to
achieve lasting happiness by adding things, people
or accomplishments to your life.
What if for some reason the above doesn’t apply to you.
Maybe you practice feeling gratitude for the things in your
life and you have found a way to constantly feel grateful for
all the things you have without becoming too ‘used to them’ that
they lose their appeal.
There is still another underlying problem that threatens
your lasting happiness, and that is the impermanence of life.
The impermanence of life
The world is in a constant state of change, and
the fact is that nothing is permanent and nothing
If your happiness comes from your money there is always a
fear of losing it. If your happiness comes from your beauty
you will someday become old and wrinkled.
If your happiness comes from your friends, family or lover,
they will someday leave this world or we may be separated
from them. There is always a way to lose that which makes
you happy, or have it taken from you.
The more we deny this and the more desperately we
try to hold onto the things we need, the more
unhappy we will be when they are gone.
This fact may seem, grim and depressing but that is only the
case if you falsely believe that happiness needs to come from
all of these outside impermanent things.
There is one permanent thing and it is the only true source of
lasting happiness. It can take a little effort to find, but it is free
and always available to us.
Happiness comes from within
Can you be completely happy just taking a walk through nature?
Can you feel peace sitting alone in silence? If you were stranded
on a deserted island could you still be joyful?
In the core of everyone is their default emotional state. When
there is no outside forces distracting you, and your mind is
free from thinking of the past or future what do you feel?
Is your default state one of peace or is it something negative
like boredom, depression or mild annoyance?
I believe that deep within all of us at our cores is a feeling of
deep peace and joy but often times in life we become so
disconnected from within that we lose sight of it and the
inner peace almost seems to fade away.
We become so distracted by everything on the outside that
we don’t have time to focus on what’s deep within us. For many
people our minds never give us a chance to rest.
The nearly constant chatter in our heads keeps us
preoccupied from experiencing anything internal.
Learning to quiet our minds, look inside and feel
this deep joy within us, then to bring that out as
a part of our daily lives is the secret to lasting
The ever present joy deep within is the
only type of happiness that cannot be lost or
taken. People who have learnt to feel good for no
reason tap into this source and it is the reason
they are happy while others with better life
situations may not be.
How to cultivate inner happiness
An important step to cultivating inner peace is to
make the voice in your head align with the
happiness you want to experience.
If your inner thoughts about the outside world are frequently
negative the negativity you create by thinking in
this way will cut you off from your own inner
Learn to control your mind and cut your
thoughts off when you notice you begin to think
overly negatively. Your mind is merely a tool for
your own use and learning to control it so it
doesn’t control you is an important step.
Practice thinking positively. It does take practice…
like anything you have to repeat something over and
over before it becomes a habit, but if you already
have a habit of thinking negatively breaking this
habit will absolutely enhance your life.
Practice seeing the good in people, the lighter side of
things and be grateful for everything you can, in
time thinking positively will be all there is.
Learning to have positive thoughts is most
important when thinking about yourself.
If the voice in your head is putting yourself down,
saying you’re not good enough or that you can’t
accomplish something or simply that you are not a
good person you will create negativity within that
blocks the positivity at your core.
Learning to love yourself for who you are is the most
important step to creating inner happiness. Become
the type of person you would love to hang out with.
Ensure you are comfortable spending time in your
own company, and it will be easy to feel good for no
I think it’s important to know for a fact you can
feel intense inner happiness without anything
external playing a part.
Chances are you may have experienced this from
time to time. You may have just felt like you were in
a really good mood for no reason. A great way to
experience inner joy without outer influence is
Meditation is an amazing way to take control of
your emotions and to help you experience things
that only come from inside. It also has an amazing
number of health and mental benefits with
extending beyond mere stress relief.
Doing basic meditation for only 20 minutes a
day can completely change your life. The more you
practice feeling awesome on the inside the easier
it becomes to recreate those emotions.
Take time during your day to just stop whatever your doing,
clear your mind and just feel really good. Don’t
attach any reasons or meaning to your feelings,
just feel the inner joy and peace that’s inside.
Feel good for no reason even if only for a few
seconds at a time. If you’re having difficulty
feeling good try putting on an awesome piece of
music then visualize yourself having a blast doing
something you find incredibly joyful.
You won’t be able to help feeling happy about it.
You’re not fooling yourself by pretending to feel good when
it’s really not true, the truth is you do contain these default
feelings at the core of your being they just get clouded and
hidden by all the other distractions in your life.
Doing this simply reconnects you to what has always
been there underneath.
But what about all the stuff?
Since its true we don’t need anything in this
world to cultivate inner happiness does that mean
we should forget about going for all the stuff we
Some schools of thought would teach that
since happiness comes from within its best to
deprive ourselves of all outwardly possessions,
desires, attachments, even to deprive the body and
This is totally foolish! Depriving yourself
of things will force you to put in more effort
merely to survive and all this effort detracts
from the amount of time you can focus on being
Just because we don’t need these things to
be happy doesn’t mean they will have a negative
effect on us. When you learn to be happy with
nothing, everything thing you add to your life
simply feels like a nice bonus.
Go for the financial abundance, the perfect health,
the fun experience, the ideal lover, just don’t depend on
them for your happiness.
When these things are just a small bonus to your core
happiness you aren’t desperately attached to them and
if they are lost or taken your deep inner peace will still
Now I’m not saying that if something really upsetting
happens such as losing a child or lover that you won’t
be deeply upset…
You will still be devastated and need time to
But the difference between someone with their own
inner peace compared with someone who had all
their happiness invested in the other person will be a
matter of how soon they can eventually recover.
The more time you spend learning to get your
happiness from the inside rather than the outside
the easier it will become and feeling good will
seem as effortless as breathing.
When you are already feeling good inside any little joyful
thing you encounter on the outside will add even
more to your happiness than it normally would
Happiness carries momentum with it and
holding an inner happiness will make it easy to
ignore the smaller negative things that inevitably
The inner happiness emanating from you
will also affect everyone you meet and the
positive energy shared in the interactions will
make it easier for the happiness to continue and
Drawing your happiness from inside will give
you a sense of freedom from the forces of this
world, and give you true mastery over your own
As a fellow traveller once said to me “Be happy,
it’s all beautiful!”