Seeking Happiness – The Pursuit of Happiness: What Are You Seeking?
Seeking Happiness? We all search for different things. Some of us seek money, some seek fame, some seek love, and some seek health. However, I believe that what we are all ultimately searching for is happiness. “I’ll be happy if I find the love of my life…I’ll be happy if I get that promotion and can purchase that car…I’ll be happy if everyone knows my name…I’ll be happy if my sickness is healed…” The list goes on! We seem to forget that people who have money, fame, love, or health are not necessarily happy.
Instead of those things that may lead to happiness, we are going to examine what does cause us to be happy. Together, with this book, we will explore the ways in which we can all ultimately achieve happiness and lead happy lives. You may be thinking, “Why should I bother to listen to you, Dr. Puff?” That is a very good question, and I will give you my answer. The ultimate proof is going to be, as we move on together, whether we are improving our lives. The key to anything is always: does it work? Now, if this isn’t working for you, I want you to stop reading, put this book down, and move on. However, I truly hope that you will give this little experiment a try, for I know that you will indeed see your life improve as we move along together.
First, I would like to provide you with a brief introduction about who I am. You will learn a lot more about me as we continue our journey together, including that I am a big story-teller who is very enthusiastic about sharing my anecdotes! Perhaps the reason why I feel as though I have knowledge to impart regarding finding happiness is that God created me in such a way that this has been my passion in life. Have you ever met an individual who loves music so much that he or she seems to eat, sleep, and drink it? Or perhaps you have known someone who is so enthusiastic about mathematics that it is the only topic about which he or she seems to think or speak? I have, from a very young age, pursued happiness, exploring what makes us happy and how exactly we can be happy. My journey has been long and arduous, but along the way I have gained some important insights into the art of being and staying happy and maintaining happiness throughout one’s day, week, year, and life! I absolutely guarantee that anyone, absolutely anyone, can be happy if he or she just works at it! At our core, happiness is the thing we are all pursuing. We may be searching for it by fanatically following our favorite sports team every weekend, by searching for love in the local clubs, or by toiling daily at work, hoping to make enough money so that all will be well. In the space of this book, we will explore these different paths and find out what truly helps us to be happy, stay happy, and to live a happy life.
I would like to share a story I once heard. I believe that this story really explains what happiness, at its core, is all about. There once was a man named Jim who constantly prayed to God for this and that, always wanting something. We probably can all relate to this in some way! He prayed for more money, he prayed for true love, he prayed for his illness to be cured and his pain to disappear, et cetera, et cetera. Then, late one night while Jim was saying his prayers, a voice began speaking to him out of nowhere. Although he felt very frightened, he finally mustered up the courage to ask, “Who is it?” The voice answered, “I am God.” As you can imagine, he was both very scared and very excited. Jim asked Him, “Why are you here, God? What do you want?” God replied, “Jim, you have been praying to me for many, many years, constantly asking me for this and that. I have decided that I am going to give you one last thing. It can be anything you wish. However, what you ask for will be the last thing that I ever give you, so consider carefully what you want.” Jim was thrilled, but extremely nervous. He really didn’t know what to ask for, and shuddered at the thought of making an unwise choice! So, he began asking his friends for advice. One friend advised, “Ask for money!” but a second friend warned, “No! We all know people who have lots of money but who still have lots of problems.” A third friend recommended, “Ask for a long life!” but yet another friend warned, “No! If you ask for that, you will outlive all of your friends and loved ones, and you will be sad and lonely later in life.” Jim continued to question anyone and everyone what he should ask God for, but nothing seemed right. Every idea that anyone suggested seemed to have some type of downside, making it a bad choice. Six months later, God came to Jim again. God said, “Jim, it has been six months and I must have your answer. What is it that you want from me?” Jim replied, “God, may I ask you a question first?” God smiled, and responded, “Yes, Jim, of course you may ask me a question. What is it?” And so Jim asked, “God, can you tell me what to wish for? I don’t know what I want.” God looked wise and said, “Yes, Jim, I will tell you what to ask for. Jim, what you should ask for is to be content with whatever happens in your life.” Jim grinned and nodded, finally understanding what God was trying to teach him.
At its core, what Jim’s story tells us is that if we learn to be happy with what we have, then we are happy. If we learn to love what life has given us, then we are happy. Yes, we may desire to make a few changes here and there, and yes, everything may not be going exactly the way we initially planned. However, if we celebrate and love what we have, while at the same time working toward making changes, we will lead a happy life.
Think about those words: “…be content with whatever happens in your life.” What does this mean for any of us? You may say, “I am in a job I don’t like. Can I be happy?” Of course! Make adjustments as best you can, but if your job satisfaction still doesn’t change, learn to be content with what you have. If you never seem to have enough money, then retrain your thinking and learn to be happy with what you have.
There is a scientific rule which I reference frequently that states, “If any person in the universe can be happy with ‘this thing,’ then that means it is a possibility for anyone.” In other words, if someone has cancer but is happy, it means that any of us, although we may suffer from a similar misfortune, can be happy. If someone has lost the love of their life but is still able to find happiness, then anyone can find happiness. Later in the book, we will elaborate much further upon this idea. I welcome your thoughts, questions, or comments regarding this topic.
I am aware that this chapter may actually inspire more questions than answers! However, I truly do believe that any of us can be happy and I want nothing more than for you to keep exploring the world of happiness with me. Happiness isn’t necessarily complicated, but it does take work. Together, let’s explore how to be happy right now!
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and meditation expert who has been counseling individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses for over twenty years. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous books and creates a weekly podcast on happiness at www.HappinessPodcast.org He also creates a weekly podcast on meditation, http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com and a weekly podcast on spiritual enlightenment, http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com His retreat schedules can be found at http://www.HolisticRetreats.tv You also might find his blog useful at www.Meditation-Enlightenment.com If you are interested in having Dr. Puff speak to your organization or company, you can learn more about his speaking services at http://www.SuccessBeyondYourImagination.com