Is happiness something we need to create in our lives? Or does it occur naturally? And does searching for it actually get it the way of experiencing it?
- A status update on my low mood (‘depression light’)
- Experiencing the inside-out nature of life due to a challenging situation
- Letting wisdom lead the way out of difficulty
- How our feelings, even scary ones, pass through us and move on
- Why happiness is not something we need to chase or create
Transcript of episode
Hello explorers and welcome to Q&A Episode number 14 of Unbroken podcast. I’m your host Alexandra Amor.
I’m here today to talk about happiness.
The first thing I want to do actually is do a couple of follow ups quickly on a couple of previous episodes.
A couple of q&a episodes ago, I talked about the low mood that I was in. And the experiences that I’ve had in the past with low moods being a precursor to some sort of shift or insight or transformation, that kind of thing.
My low mood is still around, I can definitely feel it.
I’ve been a little bit distracted by some life things that have been going on. But today, I’m very settled, and I can definitely tell it’s still there. In fact, I’m recording this episode on the day that it’s supposed to go out on, the Monday. And that’s really unlike me. I tend to do things in advance, but it was a bit of…I don’t want to say a chore. But it was a bit of an effort to get myself into the chair today and record this episode. To me, that’s an indicator that my mood is low.
I’ve been describing it to myself as ‘depression light’. On the scale of depression with 10 being the worst, it’s really definitely very low on that scale, like a one or a two. But I do notice it. So like I said in the previous episode, I’ll just carry on and take everything as it comes.
As ever, with these situations, it changes.
I was planting flowers on the weekend, it’s spring here now. And I went to the garden center, got some flowers came home, put them all on their little pots, so that I could put them out on my balcony. And, for example, during that experience, I was really content and really happy and distracted, I think, from my low mood. So I just wanted to point that out as well. We’re having a very changeable experience, which is something I’m going to talk about in just a second as well related to happiness.
Then the second thing I wanted to follow up on was I mentioned that there’s this uncertainty going on with my living situation.
And what’s been really interesting to note is that though it can be really scary I can really see my experience coming from the inside out. Sometimes I’m worried about what might happen in the future. Sometimes it’s not on my mind at all, and I’m very content or peaceful or just not thinking about it. And to me, that just points to the nature of our experience and how we think that our circumstances is our what create our experience of life.
When we take a moment to just observe our own lives, and what’s going on with ourselves – and I encourage you to do this for yourself, just test it, try it out, see what you notice – that I really noticed that, that this, what would I say difficult maybe or challenging situation with housing is, like I say, it’s not on my mind all the time. If my experience was outside in, then I would be bothered by that all the time, because it’s still unresolved.
It’s been over a month this has been going on. And there still aren’t any clear answers, and I don’t know what the future holds. And yet, at some moments, I’m just perfectly at peace with the whole thing.
I will say to that I was writing in my journal on the weekend and one of the things I said that I would like to do is to really ask that my mind takes a step back from this situation.
What I mean by that, is that my normal modus operandi would be to really use my brain and figure out solutions and really get in there start calling people start making plans. And not that there’s anything wrong with that at any given time. But where I felt my wisdom in this moment was guiding me for lack of a better word was to really take a step back and just see what the universe comes up with.
The universe is a lot smarter than me.
That goes without saying. And so I’m almost posing it like a challenge to myself, how peaceful and calm and quiet can I be? And how little can I interfere with whatever wants to unfold? How much can I listen to my wisdom? And go where it shows me might be the next best step to take. Following that, rather than following my mind, which tends to be quite fearful and nervous and wants everything to be squared away, and under control, and all that kind of stuff. So that’s what I’m trying to do.
And here’s what’s interesting. So on the weekend, as I was planting my flowers, someone approached me about the housing situation and suggested a possible solution. I hadn’t done anything. I didn’t look for answers at all, I was just out there, working on my deck. And this couple came up, and then we started chatting, and they provided a potential solution.
That to me was really interesting because, like I say, I had stayed out of the way as much as possible. And then this thing came up with this couple. I still don’t know what’s going to happen. Or if that’s what they suggested was even an answer. That’s going to be a good one for me. But I’m loving just letting it unfold.
Even now actually, I do feel anxious about it sometimes. I noticed now talking about it has made me feel a little anxious, my brain is starting to go Oh, and thought about this in a while. And now you’re bringing it up and what’s going to happen? So that’s really funny and really interesting. Anyway, so I’ll keep you posted on that. But yeah, like I say, the the big lesson, that’s not quite the right word, the big stretch goal for me, it’s just this idea of staying out of the way and seeing what happens, seeing what the universe can organize. And yeah, so we’ll just see what happens.
The title of this q&a episode is that searching for happiness is BS.
And that’s kind of a click bait-y title. But here’s why I titled that. I was listening to a podcast last week sometime and the guest was, and this was not a three principles, or inside out podcast, it was just an interview show. And the guest was a woman who has written lots of books about happiness. And she’s quite famous for this subject. She’s written more than one book about happiness and how to find it, and how to have more of it in our lives and that kind of thing.
I haven’t read the book, but I went and looked at the description on a bookstore. And she talks about how she had this sort of dark moment in her life. And she realized that time was passing. She wanted to make sure she was making the most of her time in the world, which is a great thing to think and do. And so she spent a year studying the scientific research about happiness, and how to create more of it in our lives.
She found that novelty and change are what scientists figure creates more happiness in our lives. That money does help, it can help to buy us happiness in certain situations. And that outer order creates inner calm.
So I was thinking about that and thinking about how logical and sensible that approach is until we see that life works in an inside out way. And when we see that, and what I really wanted to point out today, is that what ends up happening when we’re chasing something like happiness or searching for it or trying to create more of it is that paradoxically, I think what it can do is creating us a hypervigilance for when we’re not happy.
The thing about a feeling like happiness is that it’s part of the human experience.
And it comes to life like all the other feelings and human experiences that we have. So it comes to life, the same way that joy does, or sadness, or loneliness, or contentment, or anger, all of these things are part of the river of life that is flowing through us and coming to life, in every moment, moment to moment.
When we don’t see that, when we believe innocently that life is outside-in and that we need to create certain conditions, in order to create that feeling that we’re wanting to have more of happiness, joy, whatever it is, like I said, I, in my experience, what that does is in the past, if I’ve tried things like that, what it’s made me do is be hyper vigilant. I become hyper vigilant about that feeling that I’m trying to create. And then I just become completely focused on the fact that when it’s not happening. And for me, that could create things like a real feeling of failure.
This is what the self help industry, the effect that it really had on me, when I was looking at things from an outside-in way, was that when I couldn’t create that, say, for example, if I had read this lady’s book, when I couldn’t create greater happiness in my life, when all I started noticing was the days and the moments when I was unhappy. Or when it came to overeating, when all I could notice was my cravings, because I was trying to control and curb and eliminate those. That’s what caused me greater suffering.
So that’s the point I wanted to bring up today: once we begin to notice that the inside-out nature of life and the way that it’s flowing through us, we don’t need to be attached to the feelings of unhappiness that we have. And they will just float by.
One feeling that very often makes me uncomfortable is loneliness.
That’s a feeling that I noticed when I start to feel it I almost get I almost get scared of the feeling. It’s like, oh, no, this is happening. And what if it swamps me? What if it overwhelms me, and I can’t deal with it? It feels like that. A fear of being swamped, being completely taken over, and almost destroyed by that feeling.
In the last few years, after a minute or two, I realized this is just a feeling, and the attendant thoughts that come with it. I don’t need to brace myself against it, or talk myself out of it, or try to make it go away. I don’t need to make a list of 10 reasons why I’m not lonely.
And sure enough, it passes by. It’s not something that is going to stay permanently with me because nothing does. Life is coming to life on a moment to moment basis. And as I’ve said before, the way to make an uncomfortable feeling sticky is to resist it. And knowing that in any given moment, another experience is going to come to life very shortly, gives us a lot of freedom and allowance for the experience of life that is that is coming through us that is coming to life.
So, I just wanted to point that out because this lovely woman, this author that I was listening to on the podcast – I could tell her intention is of course to help people to create more happiness in their lives. And it was just that what I see is that when we allow whatever wants to come to life within us, then there’s less suffering.
Really, that’s what it boils down to. That’s all it is.
We suffer when we resist our experiences, and when we try to control what’s happening with the feelings that are coming alive within us.
I hope that’s helpful for you and that you’ve found it somewhat uplifting today. I will be back next Monday with another q&a episode.
Remember, if you want to submit a question, please do that. You can go to AlexandraAmor.com/question, and I’ll be happy to answer your question.
Take care and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye.