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Does Happiness just Happen?

A contemplation on the nature of Happiness and why we need to work to see it.

Ched Lee

on 10 July 2013

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Transcript of Does Happiness just Happen?

When was the last time you felt truly happy?
the Root of the problem
Self-centredness or clinging to the concept of self
Forgetting the interdependent nature of phenomena and beings
We mistakenly believe that true happiness can only come about by placing our needs before those of others
example: ecological crises, manipulating nature
Thinking that life can be measured, understood and controlled solely through our conscious will
Isolated individuals try to find contentment in novelty, excitement, power and prestige - by manipulating the external.
Deeper layer of experience that we share with our culture and all sentient beings
Carl Jung "collective unconscious"
Rejected for being vague and esoteric
What about all those biological background processes that enable you to be here?
Blood pressure and heart beats adapt to when you run, sleep, get angry and the weather changes...you don't think about it.
Mind works in the same way as your body
We are isolated and yet participate in the same nature of Suchness
All of Life and Phenomenon is interconnected and interdependent
External world
Inner world: The "I" becomes alienated from our roots in nature, anxious and insecure
The experience of being satisfied, of desiring not more than what you have.
Life is fulfiling
True happiness emerges from
the journey of living
Your True Self

Requiring effort, patience and courage
We praise, blame or curse a person or a situation, or we feel guilty, while all the while we are reacting to an unconscious, inner part of ourselves.
When my daughter crawled for the first time.
Her first birthday...
When I met my husband and fell in love...
Giving birth to the most beautiful baby in the world...
Becoming a grandmother!
People who make us happy
The outward source of Happiness is always
Conditions are
It is important to understand that anything that can be lost was never truly ours, anything that we deeply cling to only imprisons us.

Jack Kornfield
Buddhist monk,
Doctor of Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
In Search of Happiness
Psychological aspects:
What does it feel like to be happy and contented?
What are the conditions that produce Happiness?
Happiness is when...
Not always in control by our conscious will
Cannot be exactly reproduced
We change and what gives us a level of Happiness may not give you the same experience later
Just as I get married, I'll be content
Just as I get divorced, I'll be content
Le bonheur est le resultat d'un murissement interieur.
Il depend de nous seul au prix d'un travail patient, poursuivi de jour en jour.
Le bonheur se construit, ce qui exige de la peine et du temps.
A long terme, le bonheur et le malheur sont donc une maniere d'etre ou un art de vivre.
Matthieu Ricard
Being able to live with your difficulties, with "What is"
Recognising your shadow aspects
We try to avoid old wounds - our first experience of unhappiness.
We reacted then by Fear-based emotions. Often wordless, these include rejection, abandonment, betrayal and losing what we treasure.
Giving rise to pain, stress and anxiety
We create and live out of our personal defences
We build defenses to avoid life’s challenges.
We have become averse to risk and commitment.
"In attempting to limit the prospect of pain, we stifle our life force, creativity and passion as well as the longing to find ourselves.*"
Barbara Brennan
Founder BB School of Healing
Spiritual leader, former NASA physicist
* Example:
A woman who experienced hostility from her mother in early childhood, will usually react to any potentially threatening situation by withdrawing and avoiding potential hostility.
"we tend to blame our misfortunes in life on family or parents and other early life circumstances. Instead, we can find there the roots of addictive behaviors. We are speaking here of repetitious activities that hold you captive and defensive,
unable to rejoice in your own fullness.
Anna Schalk
Artist and faculty of Barbara Brennan School of Healing
To open up our capacity for experiencing Happiness, we need to release our reactive, defensive patterns. This calls for a deep and honest self-exploration of the shadow aspects that we habitually use for self-comfort.

Can we see our own shadow? Others do.
What the "I" denies contains all that we disapprove of and dislike; all that we loathe in others. It takes great courage to confront and examine your favourite ways of defending and denying.
We can develop the habit of awareness to see ourselves acting out of defense, to see our shadow aspects.
Being who you truly are
We live under the pressure of living from these defences, leaving us little room for pleasure
The effort you make as you face yourself and your actions with honesty
open you to seeing with new perspective.
Trusting in Yourself
Living beyond our reactive patterns, and seeing through our projections leads to acceptance.
Le bonheur est l'objet principal de nos aspirations, quel que soit le nom que nous lui donnions
- plénitude, satisfaction profonde, sérénité, accomplissement, sagesse, félicité, joie de vivre ou paix intérieure -,
et quelle que soit notre manière de le rechercher - créativité, justice, altruisme, effort enthousiaste, accomplissement d'un projet, d'une œuvre.

Matthieu Ricard
Moine bouddhiste, interprète du dalaï-lama, auteur
By happiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasureable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being.
Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world, since while it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.

Matthieu Ricard
Buddhist monk, interpreter of the Dalai Lama
& former cell biologist
We externalise
Happiness is the principal object of our aspirations, whatever name we give it -
fulfilment, deep satisfaction, serenity, accomplishment, wisdom, felicity, joyful living or inner peace -,
and however we choose to find it -
creativity, justice, altruism, enthusiastic effort, accomplishing a project, a work.
That holiday in the mountains
far away in the woods...
Everything seems right, there is no need to change what you are doing, who you are with, or where you are
Free of worries, fears and anxieties that usually swarm our heads like bees
You don't need to judge yourself or question if you made the right choice
Desire does not disturb you
"Contentment feels peaceful
as the moon light at the bottom of a stream,
tranquil amid constant change "
Robert A. Johnson
Jungian psychoanalyst
Ideal conditions
Events bring us joy
Most of us believe we need our happiness to be created for us
How do you
perceive your Happiness?

Is Life abundant, full, rich or is it “not enough”?
Do you associate abundance with material wealth?
Do you see your power and Happiness out there?
Who holds it for you:
family, friends, employer, colleagues, or even the government?
To whom have you given the power of creating your Happiness?
Desires promise a satisfaction they will bring, or a fear/discomfort that they will help us avoid.

Jean Jacques Rousseau implored the return of the "noble savage", declaring that civilisation was destroying humankind's natural capacity for a rich and happy life.
Is the only reality what we can hold on to? Society values outer experiences and material possessions.
"As soon as I..." mentality
Projection is to externalise... by attaching an aspect of your inner life onto someone or something outside.
When you project, you are usually caught in your reactive patterns, emotional and out of proportion with reality.

"This way you don't have to take responsibility for it.
In projecting your disowned Happiness, you endow others with the power to make you blissful or miserable."
Johnson and Ruhl
Simply your life...
Reducing the sheer number of your daily choices effectively limits what the "I" has to process and eases the anxiety of modern life.
Yet even with our efforts to simplify, would we be happy - for long?
Eating bio and living ecolo, does not save us from unhappiness.
"Rearranging life on the outside" cannot produce lasting happiness.
Does Happiness always seem to be in another time, a different place, a better circumstance?
Happiness seems so hard to maintain. Do you find yourself saying "Just as soon as I get my work done, I can relax." etc? Just as soon as I have a new job...my children grow up...I get out of here...
Honestly acknowledge "What Is"
Do you keep thinking about "what once was", "what might be", or "what ought to be"?

When you state "What is", what happens?
In each circumstance of your day, you can be present and aware of the possibilities for Happiness.
...is honouring "what is"
and accepting "happen-ness"
Reel in your projections.
How do we react?
How do We try to avoid unhappiness?
Caught in our reactive patterns
Why We are Caught
We create resistance and our reactive patterns
Fear-driven response prevents us from fully receiving Happiness and abundance
We see it at work when we see people who are:
having to be in control "control freaks"
wanting to be right all the time
unable to deal with rejection
self-absorbed, "Narcissus" complex
Happiness is the result of an Inner awakening.
It depends on only us, at the price of patient effort, pursued and committed from day to day.
Happiness is to be developed, that which demands effort and time.
In the long run, happiness and unhappiness are thus a way of being or an art of living.
At each situation that threatens to open old wounds, how do we automatically react?
true Happiness comes from within
Self-empowerment evolves as you take responsibility for your actions
This is a process of taking back your power from the illusion of external responsible conditions.
As you truly open up to see your shadow, you own the responsibility for all that occurs, including your reactions and responses to another being.
Fulfil your deepest longing
Our self-exploration has the potential of identifying the deepest longing within each of us: the longing to see all that the other is; the longing to be seen for all that you are, especially by yourself.
Allowing You to create the ingredients
for your Happiness, as you start...

We free ourselves from the pressure of maintaining our defences, giving new room for pleasure and the simple joys of Life.
Explore yourself
Accept yourself
It is this effort and intention only you can bring that diminish the hold of old beliefs and fears - giving room to Happiness.
Your fears and your flaws.
Bring in the courage to Trust yourself.
Choose to embrace your fear with love.*
"Hold it in your arms and allow yourself to feel it intensely while at the same time protecting it. Open yourself to all that you have studiously avoided – and do it with compassion for yourself and without judgment. This recognition, allowing it to be as it is, with compassion, will actually allow the fear to melt, because fear can only exist in isolation from the whole."
Barbara Brennan
Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill
Does Happiness Just Happen?
a contemplation on the nature of Happiness, calling for patience, courage and effort to fulfil our heart's desire = our deepest yearning

: to be seen as who we truly are

Ched Lee
partner for change, bioenergetic teacher, writer, speaker, dancer and most of all, lifelong learner

Ched Lee . Change Heals
Stephane Thierry, my husband for his loving presence,
teachers Cheryl Preston, Anna Schalk, Anne Hoye,
authors Robert A. Johnson, Jerry Ruhl, Barbara Ann Brennan, Jack Kornfield, Matthieu Ricard,
Nic Askew for his film "bravery & our own path"
Olivier Follmi for his pictures
offering homage to:
my Root gurus
the Triple Gems
& all celestial beings assisting
Full transcript