Mar 9, 2020
In this episode of Living Deeper Lives I ask a very simple question: Where is happiness?
The answer is far more elusive and complicated than we first imagined. Yet when we find it, it is far simpler than we imagined.
Happiness is something that seems to elude many although that is the one thing we are all searching for.
I'm your host Steven Webb and I help people with active minds and busy lives enjoy inner peace.
Where is happiness? Try to pinpoint where happiness is right now. I'll just give you a few seconds. It's quite a simple question to ponder upon. And it's something I've been thinking about recently. So, where is happiness? It's not so easy to locate, is it? It's not a place, it's not an object, it's not somewhere out there, it's not a place you need to get to. It's a feeling. So, what is happiness?
That sounds like the question on today's podcast. I'm Steven Webb and this is Living Deeper Lives and also Stillness in the Storms podcast. And this podcast is for you, if you have an active mind and you have a busy life, and you don't have time to sit and meditate for hours every day, but you still want a little inner peace.
Happiness, what is it? Where is it? How do we get it? We all want it as children, what do you want to be when you grow up? Well, I want to be this, I want to be that because we think it's going to make us happy. And as parents, whenever you ask a parent, what do you want your kid to be when they get older, they might say a doctor or something like that. But above all, they always come back and say, “I would like my child to be happy.” And I think that's what we want for our partner, our children, our parents, everybody, we want them to be happy.
But what is happy? What does it mean to be happy? If I asked you when you're happy, so why are you happy? You're very often might mention something on the outside world, “Well, I just got a job promotion or I just got a pay rise or I just passed an exam, got a new car, just start a new relationship” or something or just got out of a relationship perhaps, more than likely, you will mention something externally. You won't look up and say, “I just feel happy.”
And then if you say to other people, “What will make you happy right now? What will improve your circumstances right now?”
And, they'll say, “Well, if I had a bit more money, if I was a bit healthier, if I lost a bit of weight, if I gained a bit of weight, if I had a bit better tan.” Nowadays, it’s liposuction, lipo-fillers or either fake eyebrows or a few more likes on Facebook, etc.
And now it's like, I'm not interested in likes, I want the love. I don't want any of the other things, you know the likes, are no longer interesting. And this is really funny, and I talk about the happiness line. And if you imagine a piece of paper, draw a line right in the middle of the piece of paper and then if I say to you that line is your center line, that's the line when you feel normal. You're not excited, you're not in intimate moments, you're not cuddling anyone, you're not feeding any kind of excitement or enlightenment or spiritual bliss or any of those things. And below that line is everything, and you go to the doctors find out you are ill or cannot pay your debts or you're feeling lonely or you're feeling depressed or anything like that has blurred the line.
And depending on whether how far up or down on the scale above and below the line you go, you know, if you're going on holiday, you're quite high up above the line. If you're in bed and having an intimate moment, you're having sex with somebody, you're quite well up above the line. And then the moment you climax, you're like top of the paper, off the paper, off the scale. But then when you go to the doctor's and you suddenly get diagnosed with something that isn't that good, or you hear someone has and suddenly you're down below the paper. But I want to come back and focus on the center line.
When are you not at center line? We might call this the mundane line, when we're doing the dishes or when we're doing the hoovering or picking the kids up from school or meditating. The thing is, that center line is what I believe is where all the happiness is. Happiness is not having the things below and not having the things above. It's the absence of problems and the absence of pleasures. That's where your happiness lies. And if you take away everything, all the pleasures above and you take away all the things you do not want from below the ante pleasures, whatever you want to call them, the downbeats, the things that make you feel awful, if you take away all of those things, what do you have? You have, right now, in this current moment, you have this breath and you have a feeling of normalness. But the problem is, everybody thinks happiness is above the line. Everybody thinks happiness is in the pleasures. And it's not.
Happiness is not sitting in a concert listening to the most impressive tune, that's just the energy of the concert and listening to your favorite music and that's the pleasures, that's the great things in life. Happiness is not those things, happiness is not the new relationship when you're in the honeymoon, happiness is not the cuddling in bed. Again, the new car, the new house, the pay rise, they are the pleasures in life. They're the things that are like, “Yeah, I want them, that's good. Let them come.” But we cannot stay there, they produce endorphins. And the problem is of endorphins, you have too many of them, you want more of them.
And we spend our life trying to trick our bodies and the world into just giving us endorphins. These artificial highs, and we think we take shortcuts and that's why we have chocolate. That's why we go to the fridge and things like that. At any given moment, most people, when they're on the normal line, they want to improve it because they think the normal line is boring. What's the point of being on a normal line? I don't want to be here; I want to be in the realms of everything that's cool and
theme park, utopia kind of world. But the problem is, that would become your new normal. And therefore, you wouldn't enjoy it and you would want even more. You want to know what the secret of happiness is, realizing that happiness is in the mundane.
Happiness is in the mundane, right here, right now listening to this podcast, you haven't gotten it, while you're listening to my words, while you're listening to what I'm saying. Why your subconscious mind is like, he might have a point. Oh, now, he's full of it. Whatever your subconscious mind is conjuring up to trick you into, whatever next, same as mine, you've got the absence of all the pleasures, and you've got the absence of all the pains. And while you've got the absence of the pleasures and the absence of the pains, that's happiness. It's not all the great things. See, we can easily see the pains that aren't happy, that aren't the mundane. They're the pains we recognize and the problem is if we feel depressed quite a lot and we feel lonely quite a lot, we will think that, that line is our center of compass and it will become the normal and then when you're feeling that way, when you're just able to pay the bills, you will see that as happiness.
So, we need to pay more attention to where the center line is, where this mundane, the normalness line because that's where you're happy. When the car starts in the morning, and you drive out, when you can pay your bills, whether or not it's you've got money left over, it doesn't matter, but when you can pay your bills. When you just sit there and take a deep breath and have a little time out, that's happiness. Happiness is the absence of longing for anything pleasurable, and the absence of pushing away anything that's pain. And that's worth repeating because I really want you to get this concept. Happiness is the absence of longing for pleasure, it's also the absence of pushing away anything that causes pain.
Happiness is in that deep breath right now. Don't think it's in the concert or in the alcohol or perhaps in the drugs. All those are highs, all those are the endorphins and guess what happens when we have too many endorphins? We cannot function, that's why we cannot stay in the honeymoon period for too long. That's why men leave the Lucy up to stop those endorphins coming along too fast and to make sure after three weeks or so, that the partner sees that we are dumb asses and we are a pain in the ass in the relationship too, it's to reduce those endorphins. So, we're actually doing you a favor.
I'm joking. I'm getting into so much trouble for this, I'm joking. We are just stupid, men, we do stupid things. We're not stupid, okay? I stand corrected.
But happiness is in the mundane who really is. You cannot pinpoint it, it's not our place to get to, it's right here, right now, you have it right here, right now. Just take a deep breath, listen to the bowels of the local church, hear the wind, listen to the birds singing. Recognize that your life and your wow in this moment. Because this moment will change, it always will. And if you're listening to this podcast you're doing alright, you're really doing okay. So right now, find your level of mundane, what you class in your life as mundane, because the problem is if things suddenly go wrong in your mundane, you so want to just get back to, you know what? I can talk to so many people that say, “I just want to get home and do dishes, just do the hoovering, just do the vacuuming, the brushing up.” Because something's gone wrong in their lives and they just want to get back to the mundane, the happiness. And then when you're above a line, you just fear, “Oh, I want this to stay, I want this to stay forever.”
“Will you hug me forever? Please never let me go.”
“Oh, I just want all these things, like everything, like every single thing above the line.”
If you think it's the new norm, you want to up the ante every single time. You know, intimacy and relationships, you up the ante every single time, until you cannot up it anymore. Money? Do you think? Well, I'll be okay with $10,000 $20,000. And then when you have that you want 50 and then 100, then the millionaire wants 2 million, and the billionaire wants 2 billion. It's because we think, we go to that level higher, and we become happy. And then we need to stay there, but that's not where the happiness is, they're the highs. They're the pleasures, enjoy the pleasures when they're there, know that they're only temporary. And you don't need to keep hold of them to stay happy. And equally with the pains. Recognize that they're temporary, and they won't stay there forever.
I hope this helps, I hope you look at happiness in a different way and reframe it and it means you can enjoy the highs in life a whole lot more, you can really look forward to them. But don't think you need them to be happy because you don't. If you're happy now with what you have, you'll be happy with what you get. If you're not happy now with what you have, you won't be happy when you get more because you will always want more. You're already happy right now, you just have to realize it, that's all.
So, go back to the very first question:
It’s the right here, right now. Happiness is in the mundane. The running the kids to go to school, the walking the dog, paying the bills, talking to your mom on the phone, cooking tea for your partner, drinking tea, all those other things. They’re all the mundane, the chores, that's where the happiness is. Because at some point, that's all you want to do when you cannot do it.
Take care have an amazing week, there's a new podcast every Monday. And remember, I help people with active minds and busy lives, having their own inner peace. And you can head over to stillnessinthestorm.com, where you can download my meditations. You can also treat me to a coffee if I help you. Take care everyone. Thank you for the reviews. You are awesome. Thank you for spending this little bit of time with me today. I love you. Thank you