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#8 Happiness

Hello, welcome and thank you for being here

In the lineage of yoga that I practice there’s a quote that

'You should make yourself so happy, that just by looking at you, other people become happy.'

We’ve all met people like this. People, that regardless of their age they project a kindness, joy and a smile in the mind that radiates from the inside out.

They are no more protected from the world’s troubles than any one else but it’s like that stuff bounces off them. You immediately fel calmer and happier just being in their presence.

What’s their secret?

First an Osho story about a warrior who comes to visit a zen master and asks him

'Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? From where do I enter and how can I avoid hell and choose heaven?'

A warrior is always simple. They deal in binaries. YES or NO, life and death. otherwise they cannot be warriors. His life is always at stake, always on the edge, always gambling. He didn’t want to know the philosophy or the doctrine. He wanted to know where the gate was so he could avoid one and enter the other.

Hakuin asked him ‘Who are you?’ He replied ‘I am a samurai.’

It is a thing of pride to be a samurai in Japan. It means being a perfect warrior who is willing to die in every moment. For the samurai, life and death are just a game.

He said ‘I am a samurai, the leader of the samurais, even the emperor pays me respect.’ Hakuin laughed and said ‘You a samurai, you look like a beggar.’

The samurai’s pride was hurt. His ego bruised. He forgot why he had come.

In that instant he took out his sword and was just about to kill Hakuin. In the blink of an eye, the master’s head would have been severed. The warrior forgot his mission to ask which gate was heaven and which was hell.

Hakuin laughed again and said ‘This is the gate of hell. With this sword, with this anger, this ego, here opens the gate to hell.’

This clarity and simplicity a warrior can understand. Immediately he understood: this is the gate to hell. He replaced his sword in its sheath.

And Hakuin said ‘Here opens the gate to heaven.’ Hell and heaven are within you, both gates are within you. When you are behaving unconconsiously there is the gate to hell. When you become conscious and alert there is the gate of heaven.

When the warrior was about to kill Hakuin, when he drew his sword - Was he conscious? Was he conscious of what he was about to do? Was he conscious of what he had come for? All his consciousness had disappeared. When the ego takes over, you cannot be alert. Ego is the drug, the intoxicant that makes you completely unconscious.

A moment later the master’s head would have been severed.

This is not a philosophical answer. No master answers in that way. Philosophy exists for the mediocre, unenlightened mind. The master responds but the answer is not verbal, it is total.

That the warrior may have killed the master is not the point. If you kill me and it makes you alert it is worth it. Hakuin played the warriors game.

As the warrior took up his sword he would have become aware of the master’s composure, his presence, smiling, laughing. This stopped him in his tracks and the gates of heaven opened. He understood and as quickly as he withdrew his sword he returned it to its sheath. He was returned to peace, the anger had dissolved. The energy moving in anger had become silence. If you awaken in the middle of anger you will feel a silence, a peace that is a new sensation. Silence is the door, inner peace is the door, non-violence is the door. Love and compassion are the doors.

Heaven and hell are not geographical, they are psychological.

They are not reserved for the end of your life, they are here and now.

In the context of this conversation in the 7 steps to happiness. Any time there is a disturbance in your mind you are entering hell. When there is peace and acceptance and silence you are experiencing heaven - happiness.

Note I am not saying you are in heaven or hell you are experiencing them.

You can choose to enter and leave either at any time. The challenge is having the awareness to know that the door to each are open in every moment and which one you choose depends on your consciousness.

I’ve come to learn that happiness exists when there is no choice, when there is no question, no toiling or tustling between should I, could I or what if.

Anxiety and depression happen when you doubt yourself or your choices. You’ve forgotten your commitment (Step #1) when you’re living in this no man’s land.

When you are present and clear in your commitment, your character, your values. There is no doubt within you, you know what you stand for. You present yourself with dignity and others see this divinity in you.

They trust you immediately because you trust yourself to act in your integrity.

There’s no gap between you and another. You are a clear channel for your mission, vision and values. You don’t question what you need to do to maintain your integrity, you act with clarity, so you will sacrifice what is needed, when it is needed to be and do what needs to be done. You are graceful in your speech, actions and presence. Knowing what you need to do and when, you walk your talk. You show up. It’s a rare quality.

Our parents and teachers tell us so many things. We forget so much but one stuck when at my parents 25th anniversary party, well into the night, a neighbour we all loved said to my father. What’s your secret you always seem happy, like you’ve got this thing called life down? My father answered ‘Contentment is what it’s about. Happiness is fleeting, it comes and goes but he said contentment you can grow. He continued, I look around at my life - my wife, family, my home, work, the people in it and it feels good. I’m content with my life.

What he saw was the compound interest on years of showing up and doing what was saw was needed, when it was needed. Did he get it right all the time - for sure NO but overall as surely YES.

This is the legacy of our lives to be able to create a beautiful dream and vision for whom and what we imagine we could become and then experiment with that becoming - every moment, every day as we work, rest, love and play.

This is discipline of freedom that creates your spiral of success.

It’s regenerative happiness and freedom not just sustainable but inspiring and expansive like Sam Garcia writes in her book Regenerative business. Some days will flow and we’ll feel at ease with ourselves and the cosmos.

And there will be times when we feel we are running panicked through a forest chased by wild animals, in fear of falling trees in a relentless thunderstorm.

And that will change again.

And once we’ll more enter a cycle of flow and then there will be those moments of betwixt and between where some things are great and some things are just plain frustrating. But hey that’s life eh!

There’ll always be problems to solve and the trick is to be part of the solution not amplifying the problem.

Because we’re always one or the other. Remember that story of my choice to leave my exhusband when I realised no matter how much I loved him and tried to prove that, it would never have been enough because he only saw what was missing in his life.

It took me a while to learn that happiness is an inside out job.

No matter how much success, status, validation or wealth we achieve it will never fill that hole we feel inside. We have to do that for ourselves from the inside out.

In each moment we choose to expand or contract.

When we are challenged we can stand our ground or shy away. Depression is when we are living our present moment from our past history. Anxiety is when we are in fear of your future. We truly only have this moment and what and who we are today is what incrementally creates that future.

And during this life we will experience the full range of emotions from sadness to grief, joy, elation and beyond. Emotion is afterall just energy in motion and as we come to realise that we are the generators of these emotions, we learn to let them pass through us. Remember the discipline of Aparigraha - Non-attachment.

The Discipline of Freedom as shown by these 7 steps to happiness is the will to show up even when we don’t feel like it, when we feel blah and bored to meet life exactly where it is meeting us.

No arguing with reality encouraged.

We know our disciplines and we practice our devotions because we have embodied the benefits.

Research shows we only have so much decision making power so creating and embodying routines preserves that decision making for things that actually matter wake at same time every day. lay out exercise gear so its ready in the morning.

  • No snooze button, ginger and lemon first thing cold shower then yoga, no socials, no phone before exercise before work, no email before noon.

  • Plan your days aligned with energy so less decisions on the day.

  • Stop work at 6.

  • Sleep before ten means bed before 9:30.

You need to define and find your own disciplines and devotions that work for you. Attuning to your body is one sure way of discovering this. If you feel awful before during and after it’s unlikely for you.

If you resist before, maybe it hasn’t become a habit yet - and even when it does there will be days you’ll resist. If its challenging during but you get into it and can feel the change and shift in your energy keep going. Of course never risk injury for exercise or yoga or meditation. There’s a difference between pain and discomfort.

And if you feel more vital and expansive after it’s a sure sign it’s doing you some good.

This doesn’t just apply in your energy management, it applies in all your relationships - work, significant other, clients, co-workers, the relationship with your body, your finances, physical environments, diet, clothes, friends and your entire eco-system.

Once you are clear about whom you have committed to become and get clear on the vision you are trying to create and your mission lots of small nuanced elements make themselves known to you.

Habits you have cultivated for years might fall away easily or with greater resistance as you realise they are not aligned with who you are anymore.

Remember this is not a set it and forget it choice.

It’s not a one time choice, you need to keep making it consistently and as you move through the different phases, stages and cycles of your life: things that worked for you in your 20’s might no longer work in your 30’s or 40s. Things that excited you once, now bore you. I loved working with big corporates for a time and then the repetitive nature of the work was less interesting to me. But I acknowledged it gave me a stable income so I could afford to do more creative work with smaller clients. The phrase for a reason and a season becomes more apparent with each cycle. Buying my first house seemed like a huge milestone both terrifying and exciting, it still feels like a big step but a lot less overwhelming. Hiring your first staff member is huge but by the time it’s the 5th team member you are better at the process and clearer about your needs.

We are forever stretching before we are ready and learning on the job every day.

Happiness as a choice which can be a tough concept to digest when you’re feeling less than thrilled about your life circumstances but it is often in the toughest times that we pause to question how we are doing things and who we are being to magnetise these events. As my teacher said as long as you are live you will have problems and its not the life but the courage that you bring to it. And pretty much everyone you meet will confirm that we learn more from overcoming our challenges than we do from riding the highs of our successes.

It’s in facing the eye of the storm we move beyond the limited self concept we have created for our selves. We discover we are stronger and more resourceful and resilient than we thought we were.

Could you entertain that happiness is the outcome of living a fulfilling life.

In the first 5 steps - episodes 2 - 7 as we stepped through the first 6 steps of happiness from commitment to character to dignity, divinity, grace to sacrifice I spoke extensively about the yamas and niyamas - - disciplines and devotions that are guidelines to live by - and how to apply them. Ahimsa - non- violence in thought, words or actions to yourself or others, asteya - truthfulness once more in thought, words or actions to yourself or others. Please listen to them if you haven’t yet and apply them in the context of your life’s circumstances.

In astrology and in yoga philosophy there’s the concept of dharma which in astrology is your north node.

This is one of the 4 goals or puru-sarthas. These are the 'noble' aims of a human life. In Indian astrology, the twelve houses or areas of life are called Bhavas and their meanings are very similar to the triplicities or seasons in Western astrology.

The houses are divided into four 'bhavas' which point to the 'mood' or what the house stands for. These four bhavas are Dharma (duty), Artha (resources), Kama (pleasure) and Moksha (liberation).

The ancient mystics of India realized that the austere path of the yogi was not for everyone - yes as a spirit having a human experience you’re allowed to have as much fun with your clothes on and off YAY.

They found that each human life has four worthwhile goals in life:

  1. Dharma – Purpose - 1st, 5th and 9th Bhavas – The need to find a path and purpose.

  2. Artha – Prosperity - 2nd, 6th and 10th Bhavas – The need to acquire the necessary resources and abilities to provide for to fulfill a path and purpose.

  3. Kama – Pleasure - 3rd, 7th and 11th Bhavas – The need for pleasure and enjoyment.

  4. Moksha – Liberation - 4th, 8th and 12th Bhavas – The need to find liberation and enlightenment from the world.

Theses 4 aims of life are repeated in the above sequence 3 times through the 12 bhavas:

  • The first round, bhavas 1 through 4, unfolds the process within the Individual.

  • The second round, bhavas 5 through 8, shows the alchemy between relating to Other people.

  • The third round, bhavas 9 through 12, shows the Universalization of the self.

So the sign and the house that your north node is placed in your natal chart shows you what area of life you have come to experience in this lifetime - that’s of course if you believe in reincarnation if not, well then, its just this one precious life.

And your south node shows which gifts, beliefs, skills, wisdom and talents you have inherited from past life times or you can see them as natural talents or things you’ve learned from your family and the microcosm you grew up in.

Now if you devote yourself to your dharma you will likely need to learn new skills in service to its realisation and you will certainly need to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone to get there.

I call this mining the gap between who you think you are and what you are as you move towards your essence - growing towards your sun - yes that’s you becoming your future self. Now in kundalini Yoga we say that if you have a mind you have a mission and the bigger your mission the more resources you will need.

This brings you the experience of artha or prosperity, as you apply these skills in service of your mission. This is a broader definition of wealth than just money. It is economic but its also fulfillment of your work whether its in the home, community or in business and for most of you listening here it will be in applying your creative leadership to realise your beautiful vision. You see it is in in the giving that we receive. It is in the applying of our gifts, skills, talents and wisdom that we get to see the impact in others lives and in ours too.

And this gives you pleasure because you feel the joy and fulfillment of the value and impact of your work and get to enjoy the resources you have built on the way - serving the need you see in the world in your unique way and if you’re doing it in this nature centred regenerative way you are enjoying deeper and more meaningful relationships with your partner, family, friends, co-works and your entire eco-system as you support each other in the realisation of your mission and the fun you have on the way.

And this naturally leads to moksha or liberation where you realise it didn't matter if you were the tailor or the factory owner. Its about the conversation you have been having with yourself on the journey - how you have been showing up for your disciplines and devotions. This is the compound interest on what you have been doing and whom you have been being. You realise it’s not the rolex watch, the car you drive or the job title you thought would buy you respect and status. Of course you can enjoy all of these but they no longer identify you. You have been released from the matrix. You’ve chosen the red pill. You have realised your individuation through integrating your shadow your anima/or animus and your self which of course always brings you back to oneness, to source that we are all in this great adventure we call together and that we’re here for a good time not a long time

So i’ll ask again will you choose happiness even on the cloudy days. Will you let it be easy even on the rougher days. And by now we both know there will be days we resist because it’s a practice but we’ve also got a roadmap and we can shake off that resistance in any moment and get the hell out of our own way because I choose to be so happy when you look at me or you hang out with me you feel happy too.

Thank you for listening and please share and review because that’ll make the algorithms happy too.

There are two ways to work with me. You can join my moon deck, which is a monthly offering to work with the lunar cycles. or book an Astro blueprint session to explore my one-to-one coaching, to give you insight into what makes you unique and how to work with that instead of resisting it. How to work with the planetary cycles and the energies of the year.

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