I was recently asked, “Kevin, how can I find true happiness?”
“True Happiness” is a word trap. Here’s why.
Let’s run with the concept of us having three natures: Body, Mind, and Spirit. Happiness and sadness are inevitable swings on the emotional spectrum that fall into the realm of the Mind or mental health. Emotions are based on conditions: Birth of a healthy child — happy! Death of a parent or friend — sad.
“True happiness” implies a state of constant euphoria. About the only people in a state of constant happiness have a form of dementia — they’re disconnected from reality. Their minds aren’t fully functioning. Of course, for those around them, that beats the other extreme of constant anger and aggression.
How’s the State of Your Spirit?
May I have your permission to replace “true happiness” with words such as peace, joy, and contentment? These words reside in our state of being or of our Spirit both with and apart from experiencing happiness or sadness. There’s a maturity of accepting reality and conditions for what they are while still maintaining a healthy perspective and state of well-being. There’s an emotional connection as well as emotional boundaries.
Inevitably life is jarring to Body, Mind, and Spirit. Peace and joy, however, are like internal gyroscopes readily resetting us to our better nature. We may go through and hell and back during the reset, but we’re not left spinning out of control and stuck in chaos and confusion simply because “true happiness” is our primary mistaken metric for our well-being.
The most dramatic example of this comes from Dr. Viktor Frankl’s famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and his ensuing logotherapy work. In his book, he recounts surviving a Nazi concentration camp. The inherent meaning of life and one’s identity being anchored in something greater than oneself (God for instance) sustains us despite the most vile treatment and despicable conditions.
Purpose Is the First Stone on the Pathway to Peace
My decades-long work about purpose and being on-purpose sees purpose as our cause or reason for being. It is the first stone on the pathway to peace, joy, and contentment. The more you press into knowing your purpose, the more predictably you’ll find happiness in most any circumstance. Purpose inspires a positive perspective and attitude that becomes a layer of protection from circumstantial slings and arrows.
Whereas most of us confuse purpose with mission or what we’re doing, that’s confusing the effect with the cause. Purpose is the cause and missions are the effect or expression of the purpose.
In the simplest of terms, missions fail or succeed, so sadness or happiness follows. Purpose is permanent — it just exists! It helps us process our emotions with an healthy objectivity and perspective. Purpose puts us in our “right spirit.”
We must, however, search for purpose in order to know our purpose. Enter ONPURPOSE.me to make the search ingeniously fast and forever meaningful. Once we know our purpose, then we can harness the amazing power of our purpose to align our lives to our core goodness and reason for being. The intangible becomes tangible and functional.
Emotions are information. Impaired emotions are dangerous!
Therefore, happiness or sadness is information to the Mind and processed by the Spirit that when grounded in purpose provides a bedrock of resilience. While the Mind and Body can get stuck or impaired in the emotion and feelings, the strength of the on-purpose Spirit owns a healthy “emotional distance” calling us into a state of peace, joy, and contentment. Unfortunately, too few of us are equipped or trained to engage our purpose in this manner. It’s also why we need other on-purpose persons to help us right our upsets.
Purpose, like the universe, just exists. It is inherently good (versus evil). So when you know your purpose in life, you forever have a place within you that is good, nourishing, and safe even if all hell is breaking loose around you. The power of finding your 2-word purpose is knowing that you are no longer a slave to emotional swings, especially to events outside of your control. Being in full possession of your life purpose, you gain a forever touchstone that’s simple, practical, and, most of all, with you always. Now you have a positive and productive place to soothe the sadness and high-five the happiness. You are an on-purpose person in creation because you are in the world, not at the mercy of it, and powerfully positioned to navigate it true to you.