“The most spiritual act is to be happy.”
Or so said the psychic that I had purchased a reading from one gloomy winter day. I sipped my tea and diligently took notes.
Being happy was a spiritual act and not some frivolous pursuit?!
No, it couldn’t be!
I thought being spiritual was about walking around all “zenned” out. And Namaste-ing everyone you meet, especially on your way to yoga.
Even so, I had to investigate.
And with March 20 as the International Day of Happiness, I decided to dig in to uncover what the f*** is happiness anyway and could it truly be a sacred, even spiritual endeavor?
Modern dictionaries give a primary definition of happiness as a “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.”
The word contentment struck me.
Contentment feels like peace. Peace feels like Spirit to me. Ahh…I was beginning to see the correlation.
And so I played with it – if the endeavor of my life was to simply be happy – to be content and to feel joy (my preferred word for “happy”) – would that suffice?
I felt my whole body relax.
Peace and joy.
Um, yeah, I could handle that.
And in that peace and joy there is no striving. No fighting against. No chasing. There is the return to the present moment, to simply be-ing with what is.
I know, I know, I’m starting to sound a lot like Eckhart Tolle, but hang in there with me.
Can you feel this for yourself?
What does it feel like in your body to imagine your life filled with contentment and joy? And what might that possibly look like? Would you still be doing the same work? Would you still have the same relationships?
Most importantly, would you still be thinking the same thoughts?
In today’s world, those of us drawn to the mindful or spiritual path, don’t often associate these pursuits with joy, with experiencing the aliveness that happiness brings.
Often, the spiritual or mindful path gets mired in overly “seriousness” which can lead to getting stuck in our head brain, and then becoming disconnected from our true spiritual essence. Which is the opposite of our intention!
Something like happiness can certainly seem too frivolous for spiritual endeavors. But, as I sat with the power of happy, I realized that it was so much deeper than having a bright and shiny Instagram profile or recklessly following everything that felt “good.” It’s also much richer than trying to “figure out” spiritual truths.
Being truly happy does require us to investigate our inner landscape. To ask the deeper questions such as “What truly lights me up?” “What truly makes me come alive?”
And then, to have the courage to go out and live that, to transform what we have lived into what lights us up with joy.
It might even seem to some of us, well, too selfish.
And the spiritual path isn’t about that is it?
Could it be that the spiritual or mindful path or whatever the f*** you want to call it is really a call to know ourselves so fully and value ourselves so fully that we make our joy, our happy a priority?
And in making happy a priority, we become or are elevated more fully into being good humans. Good humans to ourselves, to the ones we Love, to “strangers”, to the earth, to animals, to it all.
I’m going to proudly declare that this is in fact what a life of happy does.
That following our happy, following our joy, following what lights us up is the most spiritual and radical act we could take in today’s world.
Now, this will require us to go deeper, much deeper. #ofcourse
To look within ourselves and see what our truly authentic self, our happiest self, is lit up by and in joy over.
To look at socially acceptable aspects of this life like social media, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and pot, eating animals, listening to certain types of music, driving a fuel-filled car, watching violent films/television, gossiping and talking trash, listening to music that degrades our fellow humans, judging ourselves and others, and consuming more material items – to decipher if they do truly bring us happiness.
Doing this for myself revealed so much more than I could have imagined. Things that I associate as just a part of life – like social media – I discovered that my body is not filled with happiness in this area. My body is lit up into joy and happiness through authentic connection and through sharing inspiration.
And so, when I uncovered that, I had to uplevel all of my social media to that place, and to the place where I was engaging in social media in a truly happy, and thus, authentic way.
We must bring the sacred, the holy, the happy back to our lives. To prioritize our joy, not simply engage in what we’ve always done because that’s how we must do it or is how everyone else does it.
If business practices don’t bring you joy, elevate those. If anything in life does not bring you joy, lean in to see how you can take it to the next level that will bring you joy.
I’m not suggesting that we all delete our social media accounts and take up biking and veganism (although if you feel incredibly lit up with happy by the thought of this, that is your true self saying YES).
What I am suggesting is that we all tune in to see how we could uplevel anything in our lives that is not currently yielding us joy.
Because if we’re not feeling the joy, then the people around us – our clients, readers, business associates, colleagues, partner, loved ones, children, family – aren’t feeling it either.
And the last thing any of us on the mindful, spiritual path want to do is spread anything other than joy, other than aliveness, other than happy.
Turns out that psychic actually did know something. Happy truly is a spiritual act.
Happy International Day of Happiness to you!
May you follow your happy, and may it serve you well.