Updated: Jun 8, 2020
In my short life, I have been fascinated by the journey of finding happiness. Is it a journey? An indefinite string of decisions that are all founded upon morals or principles that we believer are "right". Is it an accumulation of wealth? Money, memories, professional accomplishments could all be interpreted as byproducts of a happy life but, when is enough? When does one individual acquire enough wealth to be happy? There is always a promotion to pursue or a pay raise to get, so with this flawed logic are you only happy when you reach the inevitable end that we call death?
Although one may argue that I have experienced professional success- a salary that most would envy and an amazing family. I've argued with folks that have asserted, "Its easy to say you don't want something, when you've already experienced the benefits of having it in your possession". This may be true. But I would also argue that the wisest people in the world are the individuals that can learn a lesson from someone else's experience- without waisting the time and enduring the pain of failure. Imagine making decisions in your 20's with a playbook of the potential outcomes as experienced by those you currently aspire to be. If managed properly, each decision would be void of all adverse outcomes, a life gameplan that is proven and tested.
As I begin to experience the closing chapter of my 20's, I have learned a few valuable lesson that I believe will guide me to success for the remainder of my life. This lesson is simple- happiness can only be experienced when one has a liberated mind. When an individual can focus on the now, focus on the emotions and feelings that consume them in that moment, the people and interactions that are available in the moment- only then can an individual have the clarity seek happiness. With this approach to mental focus, one can devote all of their expendable energy in enjoying the moment, both negative and positive. The key is treating that moment as what it is, a moment. A moment that will pass. A moment that could bring you great joy but abruptly end in pain. A moment that could test your will to live but instantaneously present you with idea or belief that yields great riches. Despite how this moment makes you feel, it is only temporary and you are in complete control of what your attitude manifests.
Power of Liberated Mind
The strength it will take to treat every moment as a short, finite life experience is unmeasurable. It will take extreme effort to nourish the internal calmness that it requires and once that is achieved, consistent and strenuous effort to maintain that peace. Prayer, reflection, meditation and physical training are all necessary to maintain your temple. Chakra cleansing- ensuring your spiritual makeup flows freely to relieve stress. Consistent self affirmation, to maintain a mindset that is self-sufficient and operates without the need of external stimuli. Prayer, to reassure the natural recycle of energies that facilitate the constant movement of these 'moments'. Once each of these elements are mastered, one can pursue a liberated mind. One that is capable of focusing internally. One that does not need external influences but comfortable with living in the moment of stillness. A liberated mind that has no cravings, but happy to be as-is.
The enemy of a liberated mind- Cravings
The omnipresent threat to a liberated mind is the existence of cravings. These cravings can come in two forms- the craving for something you don't have or the craving for a negative experience to pass. Each of these forms of craving dominate your subconscious mind and influence our thoughts and actions. With each time you turn on your cell phone the craving to acquire something else is infiltrating your mind. The fame, possessions, fun, and friendships that we all portray on social media are so addictive because it feeds our desire to have something that we currently don't have in our possession. Despite how happy we believe we are, there is always a relationship, social gathering, or possession that we convince ourselves is the one thing that will bring joy. This consumes our mind. We make decisions in our personal lives that are influenced by these subconscious thoughts that are formed when exposed to cravings. Outside of social media, the other form of a desired craving that has destroyed many of our pursuits of peace is relationships. Ironically, a relationship can present both forms of a craving- mental consumption in pursuit of a relationship and deep sorrow while ending one. We have all fallen victim of deeply craving a relationship with someone and can recall periods of our lives where we were paralyzed by the subconscious thoughts of fulfilling that craving. These deep emotions can completely paralyze your mind- destroying all desires for personal development and in some cases, the will to live. We all seek love, we all want to be cherished and desired. When alone, we often have a craving for a partner. When in a toxic relationship, we often crave for the presently felt emotions of helplessness and loneliness to be replaced with the love experienced on the onset of the relationship. In a professional setting, we can find ourselves in a position where an individual in a position of power fails to realize your value. A coworker fails to take accountability for their lack of perspective. We find ourselves leaving our jobs craving to never having to come back. Craving to win a lottery so we never have to work again. Craving for god to deliver an opportunity built on trust and compassion where our goals can be realized. How much more fulfilling would your life be if each day you executed a plan for improvement and treated the success or failure that comes with life as a necessary step to your ultimate happiness?
Now imagine how amazing a life could be if you were genuinely content with what you have. The possessions, emotions and passions that we experience each day were all the fuel required to live a fulfilling life. This is what I found to be the true path to happiness. Live in the moment of now and release all cravings that may try to infiltrate your mind. Trust and believe deep in your heart that this moment, good or bad, is temporary. That each moment without cravings can be fully experienced without knowledge of the lesson or outcome that the moment was intended to bring. Just pure appreciation for the feeling of now. Each moment will be replaced with another moment, and our attitude towards that moment is what gives it power. The power to guide a life of happiness and empowerment.
"The only way to be fully liberated from suffering is to be fully liberated from craving"
Yuval Noah Harari