Practicing Happiness

By John C. Robinson, Ph.D.

Existence=consciousness=bliss, the ancient Hindu formula for reality, means that being is ecstasy. In mystical consciousness, feeling your own being as God can evoke nearly uncontainable happiness. Our cultural rules for happiness, however, constantly forbid this remarkable discovery. Their conditional formulas tell us that we can be happy only when ___ takes place (fill in the blank: when I get rich, know enough, meet the right person, lose 20 pounds, get well, and so on). Believing we have too many problems to be happy, we live instead in our mind's familiar, worried, goal-burdened story of struggle and survival, and we postpone happiness. But happiness is not caused by conditions or possessions. Why wait? This exercise simply asks you to practice being happy now for no reason.

Here are the steps:

Locate your natural feeling of happiness. If happiness comes easily to you, then just feel it. Let it well up inside and flow all through you. If the feeling of happiness is difficult to find, feel into that part of your body where emotions reside and imagine something really wonderful happening right now. Notice what happiness feels like. Notice, too, that this feeling came even without anything actually happening.

Live happily. Let the joy of Being make you warm, friendly, cheerful, caring, and kind, spreading this intrinsic joy everywhere you go.

Carefully observe how you cut off happiness. If your view of yourself and the world is negative and depressing, you will interrupt this joy and create unhappiness again. Remember the world described in the mystical experience, confirm it for yourself in mystical consciousness, and then realize the countless reasons you already have to be happy.

Practice happiness often. Practice using mystical consciousness to feel the joy of physical being, which opens naturally and directly into ecstasy. Children, in touch with their bodies, feel this most clearly, witnessed by their shrieks of joy while they run barefooted through sprinklers on freshly cut grass. Lovers know this, too, in the simple and incredible pleasure of sensuality.

Keep in mind, this exercise is not intended to create the false Pollyannaish happiness that often masks sadness or pain. It comes from an entirely different place. Happiness is your essential nature: the divine Being of your being and the very bliss of existence.

In discovering happiness, you will also discover how very much you have to give, for happiness is itself one of the deepest sources of generosity and love.

Excerpted from Unity Books Ordinary Enlightenment by John C. Robinson, Ph.D. Robinson is a licensed psychologist in Sacramento, California. Robinson is also an accomplished speaker, workshop leader, and conference organizer.