Article: How to be happy
Article: How to be happy

How to be happy

We all want to know how to be happy and we are trying many different things to achieve happiness. In this article, Master Sri Avinash explains that happiness can only arise when we truly make happiness our number one priority.

Decide to be happy

The beginning point and the most important factor for happiness is a decision. It’s not about practicing meditation or about which teacher you learn from. Those things are important in learning how to be happy, but the most important factor is a decision itselfthe decision to be happy.

For example, sometimes in a relationship there might be friction or our partner might dump us, and so we feel disturbance and anger and these sorts of emotions. Over time it goes away naturally, because something inside us just lets it go and accepts that it’s over. We actually make a decision to not let it disturb us anymore. Although we may not be aware of it, somewhere along the way we made a decision.

My first break-up

When I was in high school, I was dating this girl and after only three weeks we broke up. I was feeling sad and my face was looking sad all day. I remember saying to my step mother, “Have you noticed a change in how I am?” She said, “It’s obvious! Before, you were your normal bubbly self and now suddenly you’re all quiet and sad-looking.”

So you can see, I was experiencing the break up for real but I was also actually aware that I was acting this dramatic role of, “Oh the break up, oh the loss of the romance,” exactly like the Hollywood movies we watch!

So happiness is just a decision to stop acting, stop taking life seriously.

It’s almost like somewhere inside us we are told to be sad when someone breaks up with us, so therefore we have to play that role out. But it’s important to know that we don’t have to do that, we have the power within us to let go of that role-playing and choose a new way of being.

We know how to be happy

Each of us is actually aware and knows when we’re ‘being’ sad. This is important in the search for how to be happy, because it means we can drop being sad if we want to. In the same way, when we are angry, if we really want to, we can just drop it and stop playing that moody person. We are playing it like we are acting.

Happiness is truly about making a decision that we are going to be happy, no matter what.

When I was a spiritual seeker I made a conscious decision: “In my life I will let nothing disturb me.” At the time I would get disturbed by many things, but I made a decision that nothing would disturb me. In other words, “I’m not going to be sad and upset, whatever is happening. I’m not going to get nervous, no matter what’s happening.” It’s a decision you make.

When you decide to be happy, your whole perspective shifts

When you make the decision to be happy, that has massive consequencesmassive! Immediately my perspective was shifted and my reactions to challenging situations were different, because of the decision to be happy, to let nothing disturb me.

Meditation techniques helped me to prepare to face life’s challenges, but I didn’t even have to learn too many techniques. In the moment when I was facing a challenge, I just didn’t participate in the drama. So therefore I remained as I was before the event happened, because I had truly made the decision not to let anything affect my normal state of being.

What really is happiness

Believe it or not, when you’re not disturbed, when you’re relaxed and calm, you’re happyin that moment you are happy. If you are looking for a greater happiness it is not going to come.

When you are not disturbed, know that you are happy.

We are taught that we have to achieve something to be happy. But if we are not disturbed, we are actually happy.

Practicing how to be happy

When you make a decision to be happy, it’s not a technique. You just have that will to keep your calm and not participate in any disturbance.

It’s not always easy practicing how to be happy, because of the conditioning that pulls you to react with disturbance. Conditioning is all the rules that come when we are facing a challenge in life. We react, thinking, “I should stand up for myself, I shouldn’t let that person scream at me like that, he has no right, I should quit my job!”

These thoughts or conditioning come in, but if you have made a decision to be happy, to not let anything disturb you, then there is something inside you that uses will and strength to be calm, to be relaxed.

At first, you’re not so good at it, but as long as that decision to be happy remains, next time it happens you get better at it. You get better and better, and you get disturbed less easily.

The tools for happiness

Everyone else is facing challenges in life too. But if we have made that decision, it shifts the whole perspective towards happiness, towards life. Now, spiritual practices like meditation, kind deeds and living consciously in the present moment, start to make sense.

They don’t just make senseyou love these tools! It’s like a painter loves their paintbrush. They just love using it to paint because it is their tool of trade.

So these practices become your tools of trade, you love them.

The real decision

Once you make that decision to be happy, you are 90% to mastery. Really! But just because someone is doing actions on the outside, like joining a spiritual group, that doesn’t mean they made the decision to be happy. It could be that they would like to be a part of a group so they feel some sort of connection and love. That is human, it’s beautiful, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that is not a decision to be happy.

There are people in monasteries who have spent many years with great Masters but they may not have improved very much. How could it be? Because that person made a decision to be a nun or a monk, but did not make a decision to be happy! So that person’s actions do not reflect sincere practice towards happiness. They are not wholeheartedly practicing these tools of trade.

Similarly, someone can make a decision to come to one of my classes, saying, “I’ve had enough of the struggle, I just want peace of mind, I want to learn how to be happy.” But that doesn’t mean they have made the decision to be happy. For their happiness level to progress quickly, they have to make the decision to be happy, not the decision to come to a class.

If a person truly feels they want to be happy, usually it builds up over a period of time. They don’t just say out of the blue one day, “I want to be happy.”

When life smashes you and you feel heavy pain and suffering, then one day you just make the decision, “I’m not going to let anything disturb me.” You make that decision.

How to be happy

What does it mean to decide?

What does “I want to be happy” mean? It means something really simple. It means happiness is the top priority in our life.

Maybe one of our priorities is that we want to be successful in our job, or that we want to have a partner, or a bit more money in our bank account—there is nothing wrong with that. These things are important, but where is happiness on that priority list? Where on that list is the decision to be undisturbed in any situation in life? Is it first on the list, or third, or not even on the list?

If it’s not even on a person’s list, they won’t look for a teacher, or read books to be inspired to learn how to be happy.

If it’s somewhere on the list, maybe at number seven, then occasionally it is a priority but other things like security, wealth and relationships are more important. So happiness is important, but it’s at number seven. What that means is that when life smashes them, when the relationship breaks up, they start to look for some books that will comfort them, but as soon as they find another partner the books get hidden on the shelf again. So happiness remains at number seven.

Being happy is the number one priority

When we make a decision to be happy, then happiness becomes number one. The other priorities are still importantnumbers two, three, four, five, six and sevenbut happiness comes to number one on the list. That means you have truly made the decision to be happy.

When that happens, then you’re going to get real good at the spiritual practice techniques you learn. Where someone might take 10 years to practice and be good at something, you will learn it in 10 days and you will be better than people who have been practicing it for 10 years.

The Buddha made a decision to be happy and when he went out to search, he learned techniques from different Masters. He would practice each Master’s technique for a short period of time, and within a week or a month he would reach the highest level of practice for that particular technique. But if he hadn’t made the decision to be happy, and his priority for happiness was