“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus

I once met a woman who had a little dog. The dog was very sweet and quiet, and wore a yellow uniform that said “Therapy Dog” in block letters. I was impressed by it’s patience, and evident attention to her needs.

As she sat I watched the dog adjust so he could be closer to her. ”What a lovely friend,” I said in admiration.

“He’s supposed to make me feel better,” she said. ”But he doesn’t work.”

I did not pursue a conversation further with the woman, but I wondered how much of her life was spent frustrated that various people, animals, and events didn’t do a better job of making her happy.

At the same time, I found myself able to relate to her example. More than once I’ve gotten a job I’d been hoping for, or started a relationship, or received something else I wanted or believed I needed only to discover it didn’t make me happy. Always there has been something uncomfortable, an element that needed to be fixed so I could feel better.

Ultimately what we have to realize is that external circumstances do not make us happy or unhappy. They trigger feelings inside us, but the feelings are our own. We can control them, we can change them, without needing to change anything about our circumstances.

Some months ago, tired of hitting a wall in my life, I decided to be happy anyway. More than that, I decided I would be in a state of joy.

I practiced feeling into myself, finding an awareness of joy that had nothing to do with the outside world. I chose to do this through breathing into my center, a point two inches below the navel and an inch in toward the spine. Breathing here, I ask to activate joy in my life. I do not deny other emotions that might be present, I only ask to experience the joy which is also there. I put my attention on joy because it’s where I want to look.

I practice doing this when the dog barks, or when I’m stuck in traffic. When I’m in a hurry, when I’m overwhelmed, when my car is broken into, when I get a $300 traffic ticket for running a red light I didn’t see, and when my computer breaks down and erases my business records just before I sit down to do taxes. I practice feeling my light, my internal joy, even when I’m just thinking about these experiences.

What I didn’t expect was how external events would then change themselves to meet and encourage my new state. Not needing the world to make me happy, the world suddenly rushed to the job. Exciting new business opportunities appeared, I started earning more money without having to do extra work, I was able to do my taxes on time and receive a refund, items stolen from my car were returned, I started a new relationship, and far more.

Practice feeling the joy which is there at the deepest level. Even if you can’t feel it, look for it, ask it to be there. It will start showing up. Sometimes it will be a feeling that arises as you go about the day, sometimes it will be through an event you desire in your life. Sometimes you won’t feel it at all. You’ll feel worse because feelings that distract you from this joy will show up more clearly. Keep checking in, and those feelings will release.

Practice feeling better, and you will feel better. Don’t ask the world to do it for you. It’s not the world’s job to make you happy. It’s yours. Practice and you will become good at it, regardless of the external circumstances in your life.

What I’ve shared here is a basic outline of some very deep and profound work. I will be teaching a class, “Accepting Peace”, that explores this process in greater depth on May 25th. Learn more about it at http://www.bodyinsights.com/events/upcoming-talks/

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Lambert is a Spiritual Coach and Psychic. Using psychic channeling, trained bodywork, and emotional release techniques she helps clients connect with their Divine Purpose and transform all blocks surrounding it's expression.