“Happiness has no enemy whatsoever except the incorrect thinking of the unhappy individual.”
– Vernon Howard
King Pyrrhus of Epirus was asked by his friend, Cineas, “Sir, if you conquer Rome, what will you do next?”
Pyrrhus replied, “Sicily is nearby, and will be easy to take.”
“And what will you do after Sicily?” Cineas asked.
“Then we will pass over to Africa and plunder Carthage.”
“And after Carthage?”
“After Carthage we will conquer Greece and Macedon.”
“What do you expect as a reward from all these victories?” Cineas inquired.
“Then,” said Pyrrhus, “we can sit down and enjoy ourselves.”
“Can we not,” suggested Cineas, “enjoy ourselves now?”
What is it that you think you must conquer to be happy?
The truth is that no ”thing” is ever going to make you happy.
All that exterior conquests can do is produce temporary relief and fleeting good feelings. Soon, you will feel compelled to conquer yet another thing that you imagine will make you happy.
The belief that you’d be happy if only something in the past or in the future was different is false and, like all falsehoods, causes pain. Work to see how this dynamic is driving you today.
The fact is that time is an illusion. The past and the future are figments of memory and imagination. There is only the timeless present moment. Now is the only place where true happiness exists.
Drop your fantasies about a future where changes in money, health or relationships will make you happy.
Drop your stories about the past that are making you unhappy.
Catch yourself creating things to look forward to with the sole purpose of finding happiness in that moment. Ask yourself, “In this moment, as I look forward to something, am I happy? If this thing wasn’t coming up in the future, would I still be happy in this moment?”
If the answer to these questions is no, have the courage to face what comes up in place of trying to make yourself happy. Do you feel empty, lonely, scared? Avoid the temptation to go back to your old mechanical way of manufacturing “happiness” to avoid these feelings. See what happens if you don’t fill the emptiness.
A client of mine recently did this and discovered a fear that if he stopped trying to make himself happy then he would become depressed. But how could a fear-based pursuit of happiness ever produce happiness? It can’t.
If you fear losing your happiness, what you have isn’t happiness.
That client, by becoming conscious of something unconscious AND refusing his old way, is now seeing true happiness fill the vacuum.
Verify it for yourself. Let me know what you find.
“Artificial happiness is destroyed by recognizing its artificiality, as when a person feels brave in a crowd but notices how frightened they are when all alone.”
– Vernon Howard