So you want to be happy? You should be happy. You truly deserve to be happy. In fact, you should be more than content. You should be more than modestly gratified. You should and can be living an intoxicatingly, ecstatic existence. In this world of tremendous challenge and confusion, you can be deliriously happy. You can find your passionate life. You, yes, you can find yourself swimming in a glorious, clear, limpid pool of unlimited fulfillment. And what's best of all, when you learn to do it, your kids will learn to do it, and so on and so on.
But before you dive in to that indulgent pool of supreme rapture, there are a few fundamental concepts to contemplate. I am going to get you started with the first basic lesson I have to offer. I will be brief and to the point, but the work, the real work is then up to you. You see, you may not understand where I'm leading you just yet, but you are going on a journey. Pack very lightly. All you need is some time and a tissue or two. Let's be on our way...
Now, don't be put off by my first question. I can assure you that after many years of experience, most people don't know the authentic answer to this question: Do you know who you are? Do you really know what YOU think, what YOU believe, and most tellingly, what YOU feel?
You see, you may think you do, and perhaps you do. If so, you have accomplished an amazing feat in a world that constantly tells us who we should be, how we should look, how we should act and what we should be doing. The pressure to live up to this artificial standard is aimed point blank at our hearts. The bullets are delivered through a constant bombardment of external, unrealistic, unloving messages that shoot mercilessly and painfully from all directions at once.
What ultimately happens, then, is that we lose touch with our most basic truth: ourselves.
So ask yourself these simple questions as a contemplative exercise, "Who am I? What do I think? What do I believe? What do I feel?" As you do this, take a look at who you are expected to be by others. What is the identity you have created for yourself that serves the needs, beliefs and ideas of others? As you are delving within yourself, don't be ashamed of what you might find. You may laugh. You may cry. You may see that you have denied, covered-up, or buried the beautiful, original creature you truly are. You have done it in love and in service to others. And this is an honorable thing.