Happiness is a very popular theme these days and we guess it always has been. From the time we were children, we have been taught that it is better to be happy. Everyone knows it is better to be happy or joyous than sad or angry or upset or unsure of what to do with one's life. So people try, ...Happiness is a very popular theme these days and we guess it always has been. From the time we were children, we have been taught that it is better to be happy. Everyone knows it is better to be happy or joyous than sad or angry or upset or unsure of what to do with one's life. So people try, they try to be happy. In this country we pursue "The American Dream".

We have been taught that acquiring certain possessions will bring satisfaction and so will landing the right job. And of course, many believe that finding that perfect someone, our soul mate, will bring bliss eternal. Obviously this isn't true.

Remember how excited you were when you got that doll or toy or your favorite hero on a baseball card? And later how it felt to finally get your first car or stereo system or that engagement ring? Today those toys and possessions are long since discarded, forgotten, or have been assimilated into your day to day life. Those of us who have been especially good at acquiring things have discovered that this form of happiness is transitory at best. How many of us have found the relationship of our dreams only to have it become a nightmare? Others actually have found their "soul mate" only to keep wondering why other areas of their lives weren't working and wondering if maybe there were more to life than just a great relationship. It wasn't too long ago that having a family was the thing that would do it, and yet these days, the cat is out of the bag -- raising a child is hard work, and stressful at times, too.

So what are we to do? It seems as if our myths and fairy tales which were purported to be the signposts for utopia are being discarded along the road. And yet most of us are left with the same question which sings to us, repeating as variations on a theme throughout our lives: How can I achieve true and lasting happiness in this lifetime?

In 1988, the two of us stumbled onto something, or perhaps more accurately put, into something which has led to an ongoing sense of satisfaction and well-being -- a state which includes happiness as well as the entire range of human emotions. We have found this Moment and in so doing have found the answer to that age old Siren's song that cried out for lasting answers. True and lasting happiness can only be found, Now, in this Moment. After having worked with thousands of people, we have found that there are certain inhibitors to the Moment, and therefore to that state of balance (and yes, happiness too) that people have been looking for and we would like to share them with you.

Part of the reason most people's lives are not happy is that they have designated "happy" as a desired state and they then resist or judge those states that are not. This locks them into the emotion or condition which they are resisting. Until you are willing to be the way you are in any given moment you can never be happy, because happiness is only one of many emotions that human beings are capable of experiencing. If we resist whatever emotion happens to be there in this moment in favor of a preferred emotion, i.e., happiness, we are stuck with the emotion that we are resisting. For example, if you only like sunny weather and then a cloud bank comes along, you are likely to resist it, spending time and energy trying to stop the clouds, rather than let them move through. Your efforts to regain the sunny times actually keep the sky in perpetual rainy weather. How many times have you seen somebody smiling and you can see that while pretending to be happy they are actually in pain? They are upset.

What we are saying is, if you are willing to experience what is happening in your life in this moment, it will allow an easement of the situation. For instance, if you are experiencing sadness and you don't resist it and you don't try to get rid of it and you don't try to be happy instead, but just let yourself feel the emotion of sadness, it will complete itself. Most people's lives are about the avoidance of the experience or the emotions that they consider negative. When these "negative" experiences or emotions are avoided and we try to live our lives pretending they don't exist, they persist as current themes and no amount of cosmetic surgery or achievement or acquiring will change that. So we become prisoners of an attempt to avoid unpleasant experiences in our lives in favor of "happiness".

The essence of true happiness comes out of your willingness to experience what is between you and happiness. Most people are not willing to do that. Instead they will settle for a pale facsimile of it, and even then it is often that this simulated happiness can only come with the aid of drugs or alcohol. But you can't be with sadness in order to get over it for that is not being with it at all. That is just a manipulation so that you can once again achieve what your mind says is going to make you happy.

Have you ever been with a person who is truly sad? We are not talking about wallowing around, feeling sorry for themselves or dramatizing the emotion so that they don't have to feel, but someone who is actually allowing themselves to touch into a deep well of sadness or grief, perhaps over the passing of a loved one. Or perhaps you have been with someone as they have been close to death themselves. Being with someone in this state is rich. It is alive. It can be healing and surprisingly it can feel wonderful. Sometimes it is in these moments that people discover how to be truly intimate -- they rediscover their ability to love and have compassion. Only by being the way you are can you find that illusive state of contentment.

A common misconception that people have is the idea that they will be satisfied when goals are attained and they sacrifice this moment for the future. Not true. All we have is this moment. One of the biggest things that keeps people from being in the moment is their agendas, wants and desires, or goals. The moment is always different than what people think they want because their agendas and wants are a function of their mind. In reality life shows up the way it does and it almost never matches those pictures. So, people think they will be happy when their wants, desires, and agendas are fulfilled and they manipulate their lives to try to get that to happen -- the whole time missing the gifts that life gives them.

Attachment to the future and future outcomes are not the only things that keep you from the moment. Your attachment to the past -- both what you considered good and bad -- does as well. Of course, there are those who pine for the good old days. We once had a friend who did a lot of traveling and she always talked about where she had been. She would get a kind of glow to her eyes and talk about how great it was to have been in different countries. It was never as good here as it was there. This woman could make most anyone jealous and have them wishing for her life. Eventually, we spent a great deal of time with her in some of these exotic locales and guess what -- she wasn't happy anywhere. It was all a fantasy that she would create in retrospect. The sunset may not be as spectacular today as it was on your vacation and work may be more challenging, but if you invest in what you are doing and where you are, in any given moment, the comparisons fade and life becomes real and exciting.

Greatest of all the other components that keep people from experiencing this moment is attachment to stories of the past and why you are the way you are. Sometimes people repeat a story for years -- "I am an angry person because my mother hit me when I was four" -- and the retelling of the story does nothing to lessen the anger. If you allow yourself to simply feel what it is to be angry without judging it or blaming it on the past or past circumstances, then it will fade and the whole repetitive pattern will start to lose its hold over you.

The moment is like the philosopher's stone in alchemy, which was believed to change base metals into gold. If you are in the moment, there is nothing you need to achieve, fix or get rid of, and there is a deep sense of satisfaction that radiates from within rather than being just out of reach. When you are in the moment, what was once held as base becomes golden.

Author's Bio: 

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have taught individuals, couples and organizations across the globe how to live in the moment and unwire the knee-jerk behaviors that get in the way of living life with ease. Together for 30 years and counting, people still ask Ariel and Shya if they are on their honeymoon. To find out more about the Kanes, their books, videos & seminars, visit: www.TransformationMadeEasy.com.

The Kanes' newest book "How to Have A Match Made in Heaven: A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating and Marriage" has won numerous awards, including the Mom's Choice Award Gold Medal, and is now available in English, Spanish and German. Learn more at www.MatchMadeinHeavenBook.com

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