Can you be in pain and happy at the same time? Of course, ask any mother who just gave birth to a healthy baby. Or think about a day spent getting sore hiking, horse-back riding, or even completing a hard won project like painting your garage.
Happiness has nothing to do with pain, and everything to do with connection.
Connection to what? Connection to almost anything you can think of. If you can look at a tree and know you are both carbon life forms that sustain one another by exchanging breath, eating fruit, or enjoying shade or beauty together, you can experience happiness.
Do not take anyone’s word for it, but experience it yourself, connecting to another, whether it is a person, lover, flower, singing bird, colorful sky, is what heals and helps us feel belonging. How often you find yourself happy is a reflection of how often you feel your authentic self in connection, and belonging on earth.
It is also in all the literature. Alienation, isolation, is the number one theme of most brilliant novels and plays, music, and art. Until the belonging is re-established, be it Romeo to Juliet, or Blanche Dubois to kind strangers, we all seek to belong. We evolved to connect to others, and in the modern world we have created barriers to doing so, so there is a lot of unhappiness.
How, then, to find happiness? Realize you are the creation of billions of years of evolution. You have only one life, and you can belong both to the creation and to humanity. We just need to align ourselves with the creation, and its wisdom.
What about mental illness? Many realize that mental illness is yet another form of unhappiness brought about by imbalance. Seek to know what connection, what harmony, and what balance, is missing by activating connection in creative ways, and you can discover through every day exploration into the healing power of inner and outer nature.
Living simply allows many to find greater contentment. Appreciate good food, clean water, earth, air and soil, and you will find protecting what you appreciate becomes easier. Appreciating others becomes natural when we drop our posturing for power, status, wealth, and control.
You should seek treatment with a physician, or therapist, if you are really unable to shake off chronic unhappiness. Many other illnesses, not just mental, is a result of our inability to connect and interpret the signs our own bodies give us about changes we need to make. Realize that you are not alone, and that everyone to some extent, feels alienated in the modern world. We live indoors, and we have lost many of our senses that resonate when we walk on a beach, or through a deep forest. Spiritual connection is there.
External world crisis is a reflection of our internal pathology. When we are surrounded by toxic air, water, food, soil, and garbage culture we feel it both inside and out. The only answer is to claim the power of the moment, and realize you largely have control. Even if you largely cannot control events, you can always control your response to them.
This is the world we are given, what do you choose to do differently to create a better one, more harmonious in all relationships to living things?
Until we realize our own inner power, we will feel empty and isolated. Finally, happiness should not be confused with contentment. Contentment in relationships is worthy to pursue, but the pursuit of happiness is a zero sum game. It is said there are two ways of attaining unhappiness. 1. One is to long for something. 2.Two is to get it. You are right back where you began your longing!
When we finally know that it is the wanting of things that causes unhappiness, we can switch over to building healthy relationships that support and sustain one another instead of being caught in an endless cycle of disappointment and yearning.