Want to feel happy? Happiness is not a distinct emotion, but rather the experience of one or more emotions that are enjoyed as positive. This can vary greatly from person to person and from time to time. I have come to enjoy sadness as a rich, bittersweet longing of my heart. Pain “for a purpose” like sacrificing for a greater goal can bring happiness. More typically, security, tranquility, affection and most pleasurable sensations are the kinds of conditions in which people will say they feel happy. By this definition, finding happiness is a matter of experiencing these “positive emotions”. I don’t consider any emotion as “better” than another, but acknowledge that there are more painful ones that have a lower energy content, and others that are generally preferred and which have a higher degree of evident consciousness. The higher emotions naturally arise and flourish, are always available whenever the heavier emotions are resolved. Happiness is your default experience, your home base. It just takes some emotional skills and some re-training to get there.
Just as your five senses relate to the body, emotions relate to the soul. They tell you what your heart longs for, and they convey pain when you don’t get it. They bring fierce energy when your peace is disturbed so that you can protect your sanctity. All the big yet invisible experiences that determine your quality of life-Love, Peace, Contentment, Beauty, Grandeur, Hope, Inspiration-are felt inside. These inner experiences are known through the same sensory system that brings you anxiety and hate. “Negative” emotions are in fact warning signals pointing to whatever it is that is interfering with your preferred “positive” states. Emotions are the Senses of the Soul. They lead you to light. They let you know where you are on the pain-to-peace scale, alerting you away from pain and toward deep and sustainable pleasure.
As you begin to use emotions to clear up trouble rather than cause it, you spend more time feeling good and happy. This will become your new normal, and inner peace, your natural home. Suffering arises to awaken you to whatever has blocked it or knocked you off your game. You are then rewarded for handling those blocks by feeling better. Deep and constant peace is constantly available to you. However, due to its soft and subtle nature, it cannot be felt over the “noise” of those exciting and painful emotions.
Love, Soul and God are only known by feeling them. Perhaps they are just words that attempt to describe the ultimate “felt” experience. Religions all began with the purpose of attaining and living that highest possible human experience. Someone felt that feeling inside and tried to teach or train others to enjoy it. Religions don’t always achieve that goal-it’s a tricky job-but the desire and ability to achieve it is built into each of us. How to feel it? It’s just there like breathing. Go inside, get intimate, be willing to see and feel what is real in you, to face it and resolve. You have been already doing that. Don’t give up. It is worth it!