Times like this cause many people to re-evaluate what life is really about. Is the chase for external happiness and security truly giving us what we want? Or is the real driver about being much more awake and alive?
03:30 – Happiness that comes from an external circumstance is usually accompanied by the fear of losing it
06:30 – Thoughts are ‘things’ that greatly affect your external reality
13:00 – Are you bored or inspired by your life choices?
24:30 – Are you on an ascending or a descending timeline?
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This is episode 103 – Being Awake versus Being Happy. Times like this cause many people to re-evaluate what life is really about. Is the chase for external contentedness and security really giving us what we want? Or is the real driver about being awake and alive. Let’s explore. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast, activating leaders to help steer humanity into a golden age.
I think there is a confusion about why we have our human lives. Perhaps we are sold a bad MindStory about what life should be about, that it’s about being happy. And that the way to be happy is to look a certain way, to have a certain amount of money, to own certain things, to have people think about you in a certain way, to have certain kinds of relationships. And if you don’t look that way, or have that money, or own those things, or have people look at you in that way, or be in those relationships…then you can’t be happy.
So clearly that Mindstory is not very beneficial, and yet it still runs a lot of people, albeit often subconsciously. You only notice it by the choices you make and the results you get. And I’ve talked about this on other episodes from a few angles, but in this episode I want it challenge you to have it go deeper in your consciousness, this understanding of what it means to be human….which I believe is to be an alive, awake, aware person, living on purpose – finding meaning. I think times like this really call for that re-evaluation of what life is all about.
Because trying to be happy based on external situations like that, can actually rob us all from living a life where we truly expand and evolve and fulfill on something we may or may not yet be conscious of. And by happy I mean content, comfortable, safe, as opposed to joyful, ecstatic, excited. Where you are happy because your external reality is conforming to what you want it to be.
But what many humans do, at least in Western societies, is that they go through life trying to figure out what they need to accumulate, do, act, associate with, in order to land at this place called happiness where they are promised they will live happily ever after. Of course, running below the surface under that sense of happiness usually comes fear, it’s the fear that it could all go away at any moment. The money, the health, the security, the home, the reputation, the job, the looks, the health, the freedom, the relationships…poof…it could all just disappear in an instant. And of course this last year has perhaps been a testament to that for many people in certain ways. Through no fault of your own…it’s gone or changed in a way you didn’t expect.
So, if you only allow yourself to be happy if you have those external things you are victim of circumstances. And of course it is only you allowing you to be happy or not. It’s all about the thoughts you’re choosing to focus on.
But just for fun let’s imagine that there is a land of happily ever after. Everybody’s happy all of the time. You’re just happy with everything in your life, no reason to change anything, no reason to do anything, no contrast, nothing that ignites you inside because you’re just content with what is.
Now, you may think that sounds amazing, and maybe you’ve had times in your life like that, and it was great and you needed it. But has your whole life been like that, has anyone’s life been like that all the way through? Likely not. Maybe that’s because it’s not supposed to be that way. Maybe the point of our life isn’t to land at happinessville and just be content all the time, where there’s no contrast, nothing to actually tell you when you really are happy, because it’s that way all the time. It’s like the fish who lives in water can’t really appreciate being in water, because she’s never been outside of it. So, if the point of our life is to grow and evolve, to explore…that requires stretching our edges, going on adventures, testing our mettle, being in a state of uncertainty, changing, letting go of the old, going through the seasons of change to actually produce something of value. And by value it could mean an external thing like write a book, or build a piece of furniture, but it can also mean raise healthy children, become a better version of yourself, affect the world just by having a great attitude and compassionate heart in the things you do and the people you interact with, or even just how you’re thinking and feeling when you’re alone. Some people do believe that thoughts are things, they are the building blocks of our external reality. With the right conditions those thoughts become that reality for good or bad. So, good thoughts, therefore often equate to a good reality.
For example, I was learning tennis back in my twenties. I’d been taking lessons 3 days a week over the summer for a few weeks. When I hit the ball badly or lost a game I would get very upset with myself, and my game continued to not improve and often would get worse. I then read the book, The Inner Game of Tennis, by Timothy Gallwey which was about monitoring and changing your thoughts before, during and after you play tennis. I read it over one long weekend. My game on Friday versus on Tuesday was massively different. If I hit the ball badly I held a neutral thought about it. If I lost a game, same thing. I focused on when I hit the ball well. I watched what my opponent was doing that was working. I played better, and better as the week went on. By the end of the week, my instructor asked me, what changed for you over the weekend? All that changed were my thoughts. Those thoughts became things…the ability to play the game in a much better way.
Now, back to the Aware versus Happy topic. Of course you can choose to be happy about whatever life brings. Like you can be happy about everything that’s going on in the world personally and globally. So, someone steals from you, lies to you, abuses you – and you just decide to be okay about it all – because that’s your modus operandi, you’re happy. Or, the lying, stealing and abuse is happening to others, or happening globally. But you won’t have any motivation to evolve or change or challenge existing circumstances… because then you might not be happy for a while. I chose to get better at tennis because I was unhappy about not being good at it. But instead of staying unhappy about not playing well, I learned what it took to become better – the inner game in my mind and the outer game using lessons and practice. So contrast is a motivator. If I was born a good tennis player. I literally walked onto a court the very first time and I was like Billie Jean King at the top of her game, what motivation is there to improve? I’m sure the first time she batted around a ball, she sucked at it.
Now on the opposite side of the coin you find people who are addicted to misery, who look for as many ways to suffer as possible. For them, the glass is always half empty. You know those people who are sitting under a palm tree, beautiful weather looking out at an amazing view, relaxing, but start looping on something, anything that will get them back in an agitated state? There’s a scratch mark on my sandals. I’ve been that type of person, I know. As I’ve said on other episodes, my father was known as — The Beacon of Doom — always looking how to turn any situation into something bad, loved to complain, so I learned from the best. But I grew out of it, thankfully. So, if you have that tendency towards being a Beacon of Doom, it does help to know you’re a thought away from happiness anytime you want. What you focus on grows. Exercising your ability to choose your thoughts will change your life forever for the better. But that is not to say that the point of our lives is to land there and to stay in contentedness land forever.
Now if you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you value your aliveness and your growth more than you value being content, comfortable, safe based on outside circumstances, because you know, you’ve been there, that can you keep you stuck, feeling dead inside, asleep to the truth, and very off purpose.
Now even if you can have an intellectual awareness of that, you can still get stuck. You ventured out into the land of aliveness, where you’re challenging yourself, growing, learning and it gets nice and uncomfortable. It’s so easy to pull back, or to quit, to go back to the land of happily ever after.
Because, have you ever noticed, there are almost no stories that start with “And they lived happily ever after”, and then the story begins and is about how nothing new or exciting or gritty or challenging or magical ever happens to the characters. You’d put that book down, or turn off that movie soon after. Same with your life, you are the player in your life but also the spectator. Are you boring yourself with how life has become?
And if that is true…if you really admit to yourself that in some ways you are bored by your life…uninspired by your choices…you’re chasing external sources of being happy, content, safe, comfortable. I invite you to explore that your life has pathways available to you right now that would no longer be boring, that would instead make you inspired by your choices, alive with possibility, awake in a way you’ve never been before. And sometimes you’ll feel deliriously happy because of that, and sometimes not. But you’re no longer trying to paint over life with one false color, but you’re wanting the true spectrum of what your life is meant to be.
Yes, there might be some negative emotion, loneliness, pain, failure, confusion, loss of things you once held so dear. But the payoff is aliveness, feeling on purpose, feeling fully human.
What I have noticed as I have observed the world and the people in it and the clients that I work with is that this human life is filled with contrast on purpose. The goal is not to eliminate negativity and badness. The goal is to use the contrast, the good and the bad, the balance of both of those in order to evolve to the next version of ourselves, to unify those, to use them as an engine for creative growth, to keep moving forward so your life keeps flowing, the creativity and wisdom flourish, so you become the Sea of Galilee which has rivers flowing in and out of it, versus the Dead Sea, that was no inflows and no outflows and that’s why it’s dead.
So when you ask yourself what you want, be careful not to just default to I want to be happy. Because being happy, relative to what else is possible in your life is easy as long as you’re talking about it from an inner game perspective. It’s a couple thoughts here and there. It’s focusing on believing them. Then boom happiness grows within you, and you have complete control over it, no matter what happens in the world outside.
This inner happiness, which we’ve all heard about, which might make some people roll their eyes…is actually everything. I think it’s people who are addicted to negative emotions that roll their eyes, because it means taking responsibility, taking back control of your thoughts, it requires commitment, willingness, open mindedness and a regular focus. That’s why we created the MindStory Blueprint audios, to help build the muscle of inner happiness, awakeness and aliveness.
Because when you cultivate true inner happiness…you naturally begin exploring into the uniqueness that is you and to bring that uniqueness to the world, regardless of the obstacles. There is something from you that nobody else can bring to the world.
And if you’re zoning out eating too much or watching too many shows and being the Dead Sea, we will miss you. We will miss that which is you as part of the contribution to the overall evolution of humankind, literally.
Now for some people, the idea of finding that uniqueness, contributing it, the idea of evolving, the idea of showing up and risking rejection and failure and offering themselves to the world seems quite overwhelming and stressful. Wow, I need to find something unique, I need to create something, I need to have something already going in order to get out on this playing field called Life, I can’t come empty-handed or without any skills.
But what I want to suggest is that you find it by being in the game, by showing up, by being willing to get out of the playing field in the uncertainty of it all, where it may not always be comfortable, but it’s alive and awake. It’s where you can actually be seen by Life, like Life is the Coach of the Game. He’s noticed you’re there. You showed up. You’re out there, you’re playing, you’re fumbling along. Kudos to you. You’re not in the stands anymore, that’s all we need.
For example, for years I’ve worked with emerging leaders and new entrepreneurs who say they want to be a leader, or a business owner because they want to be happy. I warn them that the emotion of happy, contentedness is not going to be h helpful. The most useful emotions are inspiration, willingness, and passion.
The passion for growth. The willingness to be uncomfortable, the willingness to fail. That’s not happiness. That’s not contentedness. That’s not comfort. Now, many of us who are willing to put ourselves out there have found a way to be happy in the pain, to understand that the pain and the discomfort and the grind and the work is on purpose, and that makes us happy. So, it’s re-wiring the program. It’s the happiness based on internal, intrinsic choices, rather than on the results and circumstances that Life gives you. You have control over the former, and none over the latter.
Because that stance is ultimately helping us fulfill that deep purpose within our life to continue to flow and move and grow…which affects all of humanity. Now it’s not the externally based happiness that many of us initially are seeking, it’s not the same happiness we get from eating ice cream, or winning that award, or owning a Lexus.
Nothing wrong with those things, it’s just different. It’s a happiness that comes from using your gifts in the world. Working through all the obstacles, the doubts, fears, shame and unresolved pain that cover up the seed of who you really are from reaching the sunlight
There’s an underlying core of well-being that comes when we expose ourselves to that sunlight, as the magnificence that we are, with no apology. Showing up with all of our flaws, and asking to be shone down upon anyway in all our uniqueness precisely because the world is not whole without us.
Happiness and contentedness doesn’t happen because we’ve achieved something, it’s your thought about what you achieved. True well-being is where your entire body-mind-spirit changes for the better. You don’t have to achieve anything to have happily ever after. All you need to do is grow…you. Life doesn’t want a bunch of seeds locked away in dry soil, covered over in rocks, it wants fields of flowers and fruits, but you have to do your part. All the ingredients are there, but you have to want it, you have to find the willingness to grow.
But if you’re like me and you probably are because you’re listening to my podcast, there will be a yearning inside of you for more, for growth, for movement, for flow, for aliveness. You will want to let go of your contentedness, let go of your happiness in order to be uncomfortable enough to grow to the next level.
That is the price we’re willing to pay for a life of aliveness, awareness, and fulfillment of a sense of purpose.
And you can look back at this pathway you took years from now, and I think many people will because this period in history is creating a bifurcation. There is the ascending and descending timelines. There’s the Golden Age timeline and there is other one. So you can look back at the journey, and you will see that it has made you more you. That is as long as you don’t use it as an excuse to quit because you’re not feeling happy, and you have this old MindStory, this old program that tells you what happiness is. That instead you rewrite the MindStory, give happiness a new definition, then you will find yourself on that journey on the ascending, Golden Age timeline. You will find out what you’re really made of, and you’ll help others do the same just be being you.
Because think about all the inventions, all of the ways of being, all the unique things that come into existence especially during and after a challenging time in history. Necessity is the mother of invention. Look around you. Everything we get to experience and enjoy and consume and be in wonder over is something that came from human creativity and is because of the people that went before us that risked evolving, risked growing, risked going beyond just surviving.
Where to start? If you haven’t already done so, try the Explore Your Passions worksheet, which is a free download in the free tab of MindStoryAcademy.com. A second place to look for what’s next in your life to explore, if you’re unsure, is …who do you feel compelled to pay attention to in a good way…maybe what they’re doing makes you feel a bit envious. Use that envy in a good way…if that’s how you feel…that’s something important for you to share. Maybe not so much exactly what they’re doing or how they’re doing it, but who they are being. Something in there is meant to be an inspiration to you.
I remember being dragged by a friend to a reading of a new fiction novelist. The story sounded fascinating, and the author seemed so alive. I drove home that night feeling so envious, but my friend didn’t. How could that be? She said…that’s because you’re meant to do that. After a year of disbelieving her, humming and hawing and feeling envious of other authors, I got to work. Two years later my first novel came out. Was it a NYT bestseller? No. Was it a lot of work? Yes. Did it cost a lot to create and promote. Sure. Did some people love it, yes. Did I get some great reviews, some mediocre reviews and some criticism? Of course I did. Do I relook at it sometimes and cringe at the writing, yes. I’m a much better writer now, but I would never have gotten there if I didn’t write the book in the first place. You can’t improve if you’re not willing to get out on the playing field.
So think of something in your life where you envied someone else, but you chose to get out there and play, to improve, to try instead of say on the sidelines. If you did it once you can do it again with whatever you’re tempted to try or to improve on now.
If you continuously listen to that which is within you, that voice that is within you that is telling you to get up and start writing, or making videos, or dancing, or going after that job, or building that business, or having that family, or building that house, and even if everyone is watching and some people are criticizing you maybe it’s because they’re just envious that they are not out there at least giving it a try. Even if you’re the only one out on the field trying it, and everyone is saying your crazy, you will never regret having lived your life on purpose, listening to that inner voice of wisdom, pursuing being alive and awake to what’s truly important.
And nobody else can tell you what that is. Nobody else can give you advice on what you need to do. But you do know if you truly choose to look, if you’re willing to see the truth. So stop telling yourself that you don’t know and ask yourself the question, what do I need to do to be more alive and awake in my life for the rest of my life?
That is your challenge for this week, everyone.
Okay, that’s it for today. Do check out the Explore Your Passions worksheet, which is a free download to help you get past many of the blinds spots that lots of us have to seeing what’s right for us in our lives right now. It’ in the free tab of MindStoryAcademy.com, or you can go to the direct link that’s in the shownotes.
In the meantime, please hit subscribe, please like this episode and do share if you liked this episode so others can find it. Have a wonderful week. By for now.