(NaturalNews) Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a phrase that appears in the original Declaration of Independence.
According to Marci Shimoff in her book Happy for No Reason, "Back in Jefferson's day, the common usage of the word pursue was not to chase after. In 1776, to pursue something meant to practice that activity, to do it regularly, to make a habit of it."
The American way has been debased into doing what it takes to achieve material wealth and die with the most toys as the key to happiness, or conversely, indulging in intoxication, party-party, TV, sexual craving, and all manner of degrading activity.
Comic social commentator George Carlin once said becoming happy through material possessions is like taping sandwiches to your body to stop being hungry.
You may be aware that the world's really gotten scary lately, making happiness seem more elusive. That's because the curtains have been drawn and the true nature of the powers that be have been revealed. But we don't need them for our true individual happiness.
We may not succeed in conquering the elusive beasts in power who are destroying life and liberty, but we can discover true happiness within if we practice regardless of their imposed external madness.
Five hopefully helpful tips for practicing happiness
(1) In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Pollonius gave this advice to his son Laertus upon his departure to college, "This above all, to thine own self be true." We are all in different stages of awareness with what our own self is. Finding that is essential.
You can start by being more interested in your circumstances, surroundings and others instead of focusing on being interesting or appealing to others. Developing an interesting persona leads to narcissism, and most narcissists only fake happiness to gain others' attention.
(2) Thousands of thoughts go on without our awareness. Instead of hiding a negative emotion from yourself, such as resentment, anger or angst, try to catch the fleeting thought behind that emotion without putting yourself down.
Simply identify that thought objectively and label it for what it is. This serves to put it in its place to help you let go of it. We are creatures of habit who tend to operate automatically. Mindfulness helps eliminate thoughts that hold us in place and lock up our awareness, which is consciousness.
(3) Practice gratitude often. Gratitude is not a platitude or an attitude of arrogance to claim superiority. It is true humility that evokes love from the heart. Some say it evokes grace. For most of us, it takes some practice before we begin understanding the difference between true humility instead of "I'm glad I'm not like them."
(4) One method to obtain the humility needed for real gratitude is selfless service and sharing. This means you function in this world without proud expectations of praise and recognition or fearing consequences from failure.
Some call this the middle way or non-attachment. It doesn't mean you don't care or shouldn't get paid. You simply function with utmost mindfulness and the attitude of giving instead of receiving.
(5) Meditation is a major key to unlocking the happiness within. It should be practiced daily in a relatively tranquil space. The exact time is not as relevant as steady practice. There are places that teach meditation. But you can start practicing by sitting relaxed and comfortably on the floor or chair with your eyes closed.
Don't struggle with your mind. Observe it with detachment. To avoid chasing or squashing thoughts, focus on your breathing or your solar plexus or navel area. Some use mantra repetition. All of these methods are simply centering techniques to keep you from getting entangled with your thoughts instead of letting them come and go.