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How to Find True Happiness

Beyond survival, we seek happiness. It’s a human desire brought on, perhaps, by prosperity and disposable time, like disposable money, seeking a place to be spent. We evaluate our feelings and want more of that ‘feel good’ feeling more of the time. Better yet, we want it all the time. Our search consists of wanting something or person that we believe will satisfy our expectations.

When we get what we’re looking for the satisfaction is fleeting. We move on then to another hot ticket item to make us happy. At some point, a spiritual path may seem like the answer. We look for happiness to result from prayers, meditation & retreats. We work at being a better person or doing good.

None of these answer the question for how to find true happiness. Happiness is never to be found more than briefly. As an emotion it comes and goes. Like hunger, we feed the need and it disappears to soon return. Yet, we think we should be happy at least most of the time and something is wrong if we are not.

There is ‘something’ deeper and more enduring than happiness. It lies in answering the call of life, doing each moment what is in front of us to do without constantly evaluating and honoring our feelings about it.

how to find true happiness in life

What calls for us is most often mundane: simple worldly actions required of the living. Hold a job, cook and clean, chauffeur the kids. The work of each moment can be happy or sad and sometimes very difficult. Celebrate a birth; visit a dying friend; go through a divorce.

There are two ways to be in life. Only one answers the true call. The other is judging, resenting, begrudging, impatient, bored, feeling cheated, missing out, complaining. We are attuned to negative perspectives when we assess how our work at this moment rates on the ‘feel good’ scale.

Such moments occur taking care of an infirm parent or listening to a friend describe her recent fabulous vacation. Judgments come up with the laundry or cleaning a closet. The feeling we’re trapped, we’re missing out. We question our lives and our worth thinking, ‘what’s the point of this?’

Instead of judgment the possibility is to embrace the life we have as it is here and now. That is, to do what is asked of us in peace, with presence. This doesn’t mean tolerating what shouldn’t be tolerated such as abuse, or staying in an unhealthy relationship or miserable job. Sometimes life calls us to make changes. No matter what circumstance, embracing life is about peace and presence without judgment.

The question is how to achieve that peace. The answer lies in Presence.

False Beliefs and Feelings

how to find real happiness

First, we must be aware of our false beliefs, however small, about what will make us happy. “If only I had more money, if my job was more exciting, if my husband was attentive.” With our opinions are the feelings. Anger, helplessness, sadness, failure, mourning, resenting. We each have circumstances in which our lives fall short.

Whatever the task at hand, it isn’t boring, our time isn’t too valuable, and we are not victims of an unfair life. Life calls on us to do, to care for, to support ourselves and others. Life will be what it is, not what we think it should be. Fighting reality intensifies the suffering and reality goes on happening.

Experience is Physical

When my mother was terminally ill I took care of her. I didn’t want her to die and she was dying. For me it was breathing fire, colostomy bags and bed baths, fixing food, exhaustion. More than I ever thought I could do and I was strangely alive for doing it.

the tiger and the strawberry

Whatever cards we’re dealt, our work is to stay with ourselves. How is my body now? Are my muscles tense? Do I want to run or cry? Does my chest hurt? Sensations, not thoughts, are the truth of immediate experience and presence.
Once again, a Buddhist story of the man chased by a tiger gives us an analogy to live by. Desperate to escape the man runs off a cliff, catches a hanging root and clings for dear life. The tiger salivates above. Looking down, the man sees the tiger’s mate licking her chops below. Then, a miraculous moment. He spots a strawberry bush growing beside him with a single lush berry. He picks the strawberry and savors its perfection. Ahh, peaceful presence. After which, events move on, as they must, to a painful physiological conclusion. Presence doesn’t guarantee ‘sweetness and light.’ It promises the discovery of this very moment.

how do i find true happiness

This morning I received a text photo of my great-niece only an hour out of the womb. My breath was deep and slow with awe. An hour later, unbelievably, another text, this one with news of a nephew diagnosed with a brain lesion. This breath, also slow, was constricted from pain in my heart.

Life will be as it is. People are healthy and they get sick. Some people are wealthy and others not. The weather suits us or it doesn’t. If we are present to our sensory experience, we will get through it. We will hold both the best and the worst in the palm of our hand.


If you’re looking for spiritual guidance in Scottsdale, reach out and contact Dr. Sandra Egli at Center of Intention to start your holistic journey. Call (480) 860-0400 today!

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Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.


Sandra's graceful way of listening & non-judgmental demeanor allowed me to open up effortlessly. I was certain, as I left her office, that I had received precisely the healing I needed.

Female client, age 44
Phoenix, Arizona