As human beings we have three very basic needs for our physical and emotional well-being, eating, drinking and sleeping. Can be added to those three basics, warmth and friendship but if the first three are covered, then we have all we need. It is an undeniable fact that eating properly, drinking fresh water and sleeping enough hours play an important role in our well-being. Those three elements affect greatly our body chemistry. Don’t get enough sleep; you are going to feel tired and grumpy, lethargic, perhaps even a little sad or depressed. Lack of sleep affects the brain chemistry, as do the other two elements.
If I am, personally, lacking sleep, I find myself more inclined to have negative thoughts and, more importantly, to give importance to those negative thoughts. I have mentioned previously that as human beings we have the free will to choose which thoughts to give power to. It is our thinking that creates our reality, or our perception of what is going on around us – this is why you have people who can be living in the most abject poverty but who are still happy within themselves and others who can have everything that a person could ever want materially but who are deeply and profoundly unhappy.
As children, we take things in our stride – circumstances can change but we adapt and continue to feel that innate happiness and well-being within ourselves. Notice when a child gets upset. Oftentimes he or she may just be tired or hungry. What’s important is the fact that one second a child may be in tears and the next second laughing. A child does not have the learned ability of latching him or herself onto a negative thought – a child allows the thoughts to pass, fresh thinking is just around the corner.
We are, in fact, just one thought away from true happiness.
As we grow up, we learn the “pursuit of happiness”. We need “success” – but what is a successful life? Is it the balance in your bank account? The car you drive? The holidays you go on? The house you live in? These are only outer exhibits of financial gain and in no way are a guarantee of a person’s happiness. For me, success is living in a feeling of innate well-being, knowing that no matter what happens on the outside, we all have the ability to tap into our inner resources of energy, peace and wisdom.
There is a world of difference between happiness and pleasure/enjoyment. Having the car you want may bring you pleasure but will never give you that long lasting sense of well-being. Pleasure and enjoyment can only ever be temporary, you will get used to driving that car, it may break down and you may feel a sense of annoyance, anger, and deception.
I am talking about that steadfast and unshakeable sense of well-being that no amount of material gain can bring you.
Now I am not saying that money is not important, it is important and necessary. We live in a society where money is indispensable, if only for those simple basic needs of eating and having a roof over your head. If you wish to offer a birthday present to someone, you need money. You need money for that car that would bring you some pleasure and enjoyment. You need money to visit that far off country that you’ve dreamed of travelling to.
What I am saying is this. When you can reach within yourself to that place of knowing that your rock solid well-being is not dependant on having all the material things, you open a door to endless possibility. At one point in my life I went through a phase of not seeing the point of doing anything, not because I was afraid of anything but simply because I was feeling so well in myself that I didn’t feel the need to do anything – I didn’t need anything to feel happy, happiness was already there just as it is already there in each and every one of us, but for our thinking. The insight I had was realizing that I can do things simply because I enjoy them. Writing is pleasurable, talking with people is pleasurable, going for a walk on a beach is pleasurable, driving in the countryside is pleasurable but without those extra things, I would still feel very happy and at peace.
When you know within yourself the difference between happiness and enjoyment, not only do you gain an enormous amount of resilience but you also open the door to trying anything you would like to do. Because your own happiness is not dependant on “such-and-such” coming to fruition, you then simply have the enjoyment of making a go of it and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t really matter. We lose our attachment to outcomes.
But I will say this… For all those things that you would like to do or obtain – having a sense of inner well-being and peace will allow you to tap into that source of inner wisdom that we all have and you won’t even need to make the effort to “make things happen” – you will trust in the unfolding whether things seem to go the way you would like or not…