I believe that happiness is contingent upon contentment. But how can one be content with their life when one is not where they want to be with dreams for further down the road? The key to contentment is to cultivate an inner orientation of gratitude. Our commodity-driven culture teaches us that we lack things that the culture wants to sell us. In fact the culture convinces us that we need these things, that we must have them! As a result we are used to focusing on what we lack and not on what we have. So how can we open the eyes of our heart to the blessings that actually surround us?
Daily write down three things in that day for which we are grateful. In the beginning to the extent that we are not used to focusing on blessings this may be difficult to do. Many of us are so used to being possessed by a negative inner orientation that we need to train ourselves to see the blessings to which our negativity blinds us. Once we start to become aware of blessings the next step is to cultivate gratitude for these blessings. We can actually grow gratitude by expressing it because gratitude is an outward movement of the heart and the arms! Each day deliberately do one act of kindness for someone… put change in a parking meter for someone we don’t know, shovel someone’s walk, pick up a piece of trash instead of leaving it for someone else.
Happiness is not something that we simply hug to ourselves. If we do then we smother it! Happiness is itself and is increased by giving it away to others! The Divine has loaned us life and we should return it with interest by becoming grateful for that life! The recognition of how precious being alive is should fuel our gratitude and cause us to create happiness and blessings for others, thereby increasing our own. If we find ourselves unhappy perhaps that is an indication that we are holding onto ourselves a bit too tightly?