We all want to be happy, and the $1,000,000 question is: 'how'?
I would like to suggest we are all born naturally happy, i.e. – that happiness is our natural state of existence, happiness is our only reality. Any unhappiness we experience is not 'real', but a kind of 'movie' we delve into, and experience as reality.
We could compare it to the sun in the sky. The sun is always there. The skies are always blue. Yet, sometimes we just can't see them, as the clouds hide them away from us. Even though we don't see the sun in the blue sky, they are always there, they are the sole true reality.
In order to be happy, then, we need to clear the things which are blocking our experience of the good reality.
The ways of doing this are many and varied. (Meditation, for example, is a most efficient such way, aiming exactly at that target).
I would like to suggest another such a way, which I named 'Emotional Growth'.
The first presumption of Emotional Growth states that in the most natural way all human beings are good, strong, and happy.
The times in which we experience our selves, our lives or the people around us as if it was not so, are the times when emotional 'clouds' dim our sight.
A few such 'emotional clouds' are, for example, fear, loneliness, shame or anger. Another name for such 'clouds' is emotional distress, or simply – 'distress'.
Most of the emotional distress we experience in our daily life began to accumulate in our early childhood. When we felt we were too weak to cope we started accumulating fear. Criticism made us believe we were not good enough, and thus we started accumulating shame. Sometimes we needed that someone would listen to us or would be with us, and when such a person did not exist we started accumulating loneliness.
In contrast to what we might have expected, although the situations which gave birth to such distress might well are gone and forgotten, the distress that was born there and then did not disappear.
Although today we might be strong enough to cope with life we might still experience ourselves as the little, weak children that we were. Although today there is nobody there to criticize us, we might still be afraid of 'what people might say' and stop ourselves from being fully expressed.
The same goes for loneliness. We might be well courted, well loved and most seriously approached, yet in our heart we might still believe that nobody 'really' loves us, 'really' sees us, or 'really' wants us.
Those different types of emotional distress distort the way in which we see reality and experience our daily life. When shame dims our sight we think that we are less wonderful than we actually are. When anger does it we think that other people are less wonderful than they really are. When loneliness blocks our sight we won't be able to see the love that is there for us to be given and received.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE IS A WAY OUT!!!
One of the ways I'd like to offer, a way that I am practicing for a few years now, is a way that in many kinds of self-growth methods proved to be extremely efficient and beneficial - the group work.
Such an emotional-growth group would consist of a few people – big enough to form a receptive, supporting audience, yet small enough to keep it intimate.
The group would start in a cycle of 'new and good' things that happened to us today, tomorrow, or since our last meeting. Each participant would tell the rest of us one such 'new and good' thing – to remind ourselves that we are gathered not in order to moan, but in order to enable ourselves to experience a more happy life.
We would then proceed to 'give time'. The time left would be divided to the number of participants, so that each of us in his/her turn would have the whole stage for him/herself. The group leader might choose to take an active part in the session, or just let the participant unload her/his emotional burden.
One could also choose to share happy, good news with the group and receive acknowledgements. I've been to sessions when the participant chose to put up a dance show she made up. In other cases we had a dialogue with people who gave the participant a 'hard time'. The options are almost infinite.
The group would finish by a 'closing circle', in which each participant would be able to state something s/he takes from the meeting, something that touched his/her heart, etc.
Such group meetings enable us to bring up the distress we are carrying since childhood in a new, safe and supportive atmosphere and environment. In such a group we could practice new ways of behavior and new ways of experiencing ourselves and others in a more beneficent way, until these ways become natural to us, and we return to be the loving, happy and secure person we were when we were born.
Michelle Ron, BA in psychology and practitioner of the Grinberg method, lives in San Francisco, California, works with people on an individual basis, and lead emotional-growth groups.For further information please call 415-504-6117; or write to firstname.lastname@example.org