It seems so long ago when my initial personal development journey started because today and just about every day, I wake up feeling what I consider to be happy. There were some very dark times in my earlier years that I have written about here and in my books where the sensation of genuine, deep rooted happiness was alien to me, both in theory and in actuality. In fact, if I met someone claiming to be experiencing the sort of happiness that I am speaking about today, it would have made my lip curl, my eyebrows frown and make me feign being sick! I was certainly cynical of such.
Now I have written and spoken much about my love for books. Hypnosis books are a particular love of mine of course. I have an extensive library of them. Recently I have taken to collecting old hypnosis books that have found their way into the public domain – that means that the author may have died well over 50 years ago or the copyright expired and was not renewed in any way. I have some books that are well over 100 years old and are originals. They give me an excitable feeling when I page through them and read them.
The reason I mention this is because a couple of years ago, I found a simply beautiful little book by an author called Martini, the Palmist. I wrote about this book when I first got it. It is entitled How To Be Happy and was first published in 1901 by H. Ray Haas & Co. costing 25 cents to purchase! It is just great.
It has lots of seemingly archaic notions that may well have been cutting edge at the time. The reason I am mentioning it today is because todays blog entry is not going to comprise of a technique or strategy or news development by me. Today’s blog is a chapter taken from this marvellous little book that I think everyone should read. It sums up wonderfully succinctly (although with a few dated words) how to develop the habit of happiness. This good stuff really does endure time and development.
To me, it seemed so appropriate that I stole a moment in my busy working week to once again read this little book written over 100 years ago, and that I should be mulling on the fact that I was happier that day than I had ever been before. Today, I simply wanted to share this chapter with you by Martini, called: The Habit Of Happiness. Here it is:
Think of the happiest moment that life has brought – The richest, sweetest in your memory,
And then a faint suggestion has been caught,
Of just how happy you were meant to be.
To one interested in modern psychology it would seem that civilization had taught us to be unhappy. Taught us to beget a gray head, to become aged. Taught us to suffer and to feel the misery of our poverty and create within an appetite that we are not permitted to obtain. Consequently we see happiness that is not happiness and pleasure that is not pleasure. So on top of it we become restless in the pursuit of artificialities such as wealth, luxuries, ease and numerous vices.
In short, we are in thraldom by noting the pleasures, luxuries and seeming happiness that others appear to possess, consequently a discontented mind.
Happiness is the first requisite to a healthy existence. This, however, cannot be handed from one soul to another but must be achieved and attained to. True, it is not always found at the foot of the mountain, more often at the top-most peak, which is only reached through tireless application, infinite patience and a hopeful mental condition.
Your ability to carry your own sunshine with you, your own lubricant, your own light, so that no matter how heavy the load or dark the way, you will be equal to the emergency, and continue to achieve.
When we cease to enjoy, we are dying. Therefore it is essential that we form the habit of happiness. But when are we happy? We are all looking for the recipe that will tell how to go to bed every night with a quiet mind and awaken every morning with a glad heart. But when are we happy?
The sick tell us, when we are well. Those in need, when we have wealth. The ambitious, when we succeed, etc.
Happiness is a condition we are all seeking.
There are those who stumble upon their desire, be it health, wealth, fame or love, but are they happy? They may attain their object in life, but after having reached it they slide back into an unhappy mental condition. Since conditions are ever changing the individual who builds hope of happiness upon the shifting sands of condition may awake to find a hollow where the hill once stood. You have no burdens except what you carry in your mind. As soon as you become conscious that you are not obliged to burden yourself with any such undesirable loads, you are on the road to HAPPINESS. So stop carting any such dead weight in your mind.
Happiness comes from within, not without. It is not what we have, or what we possess that makes us happy: it’s what we are. When we know ourselves thoroughly; can reason and philosophize, and are at peace with ourselves, and are busy thinking of making others happy, and have a perfect mastery of ourselves; live in harmony with our environments and cease to care whether we are or not, then we are happy and have found the summum bonum. If we are not happy with a little, we will be less happy if we have more. It is attitude of mind, more than circumstances, that gives happiness.
The way to be happy is to take advantage of the little opportunities that come to us to brighten life as we go along. Live in the NOW. Happiness is contagious. Happiness, like unhappiness, is a state of the mind. To give a prescription that might be applied to the entire human race would be a well nigh impossibility. Yet a principle may be adopted that would be practical, from which each man can work out the problem of ‘How To Be Happy’.
I would say look for happiness; resolve to look for the pleasant things in life and the unpleasant things which would mar all else will fade away. By looking for happiness is not meant a vague hoping that happiness will come somewhere, sometime in the future, but an actual searching for it in the present with an eye blind to all but happiness. Here the question arises, what constitutes looking for happiness?
First, ceasing to worry. For what is worry but a looking for unhappiness? It is to live in to-day, enjoy to-day’s gifts, to look upon trials as friendly helps. So to be happy we must not pin our happiness to a condition, thing or friend.
Real happiness never comes as a result of shaping circumstances to our notions. The fitting of ourselves to circumstances is what shapes the work.
For an example take one who has met with a misfortune, thereby maimed for life. Should he let his mind dwell upon conditions, the result would be a miserable existence and possibly an early death. But if such a one can be happy within and hold the right mental picture and adapt himself to environments and conditions, he is not unhappy. He feels that whatever is, is best; his philosophy and wisdom gives him contentment.
Eternity is before us. We will get what we want if we but believe that ‘time is a gentleman’. Whatever is secured quickly and too easily is little prized.
Someone has said, there is not enough laughter in this world. We are all too serious ‘Laugh and grow fat’ is one of the truest things ever said. ‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine’. Criminals and crazy people seldom laugh. The nearer sane we are the less seriously we take things. Emerson said:
‘The great will not condescend to take anything seriously.’
Establish the habbit of happiness, control your emotions and feelings. It is just as easy to start the habit of happiness as it is of worrying and fretting. Happiness is said to run in grooves and can be led into new channels. For it is a matter of habit, and habit CAN be altered if one makes an effort to hold a mental picture of happiness. But in so doing we must assert our mastery and manage to keep cool and self-possessed under trying conditions. For it is so much easier to follow the lines of least resistance and get into the habit of grumbling, fault finding and other things that will irritate everyone about us.
Acquire the habit of getting pleasure out of everything that comes your way. Learn to smile at everyday things which constantly arise, and joy will soon grow to be your dominant note and realize good returns from all sides. To always look for the dark side of life gets to be a habit of mind. Such is very uncharacter like and pessimistic. Happiness is produced by forming a habit of seeing good in everything until it becomes second nature. Marcus Aurelius says: The happiness of our lives depends upon the character of our thoughts.
So many of us live in the tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. We think that everything depends upon the outcome. We harbor the thought that if things go wrong, our future will be robbed of happiness.
If you would stop to think how you will regard the thing one year from today, or what will I think of things that caused me so much unhappiness a year ago? It will aid you materially if you fix in mind the things, how they may appear one year hence. It may seem a little difficult at first, but you will soon fall in the way of it.
Men do not need to be rich and powerful to enter the gateway where flows the rippling river of happiness. It is our desires and attractions that ascertain our intimate happiness or sorrow. Our WILL should direct our thoughts and feelings, and through its exercise we build character. So in striving for the desired object, do not forget the value of happiness, the value of good cheer and sunshine. Keep your face toward the sunshine and your shadows will go behind.
In forming the habit of happiness strive with all your might to keep your temper and be amiable. Keeping our temper and being amiable is a condition that certainly is productive of great results in forming the habit of happiness. He who does not keep his temper, certainly cannot expect happiness while in a constant state of irritation.
Hold the same mental picture and the same thought the first thing upon awakening in the morning as mentioned in previous chapters. Remember it is the WILL that makes great men great. So every thought and action must be watched and guarded until the habit becomes thoroughly established. Ceasing to worry and keeping your temper are stepping stones that will lead to the habit of happiness.
E. S. Phelps says: Happiness must be cultivated. It is like character, it is not a thing to be let safely alone for a moment, or it will run to weeds.
**Chapter ends **
That is the end of the little chapter. I love that. The quote rings so true with me and my own approaches to therapy, personal development and my own well-being. This week, have a good think about what you can do to develop the habit of happiness. My thanks to Mr Martini for once again bringing some additional sunshine into my life this week. Have a great weekend… 🙂