The following includes excerpts from the book How to Be Happy all the Time by Paramhansa Yogananda.
Happiness Is a Choice
Happiness depends to some extent upon external conditions, but chiefly upon conditions of the inner mind. If you have made up your mind to find joy within yourself, sooner or later you will find it. If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.
Happiness comes, not by helplessly wishing for it, but by dreaming, thinking, and living it in all circumstances. Persons of strong character are usually the happiest. They do not blame others for troubles that can be traced to their own actions and lack of understanding. They know that no one has the power to add to their happiness or to take away from it, unless they themselves allow the adverse thoughts or wicked actions of others to affect them.
A strong determination to be happy will help you. Do not wait for your situation to change, thinking that therein lies the trouble. Try to be happy under all circumstances. If your happiness sometimes seems dependent on certain conditions, then change your circumstances so that you will be happy all the time.
Perhaps you say, “If this or that happens, I shall be very contented.” Don’t wait. Snatch the highest prize of happiness that is within your reach now, for the will-o’-the-wisp of hoping for happiness, and thereby postponing it, leads you through many sloughs of disappointment.
Happiness grows by what feeds it. Learn to be happy by being happy all the time.
Make up your mind that you will be happy whether you are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, happily married or unhappily married, young or old, smiling or crying. Don’t wait for yourself, your family, or your surrounding to change before you can be happy within yourself. Make up your mind to be happy within yourself, right now, whatever you are, wherever you are.
Simplicity Is the Key
In a life of balance between opposite extremes lies inner happiness. Too much luxury, instead of producing happiness, drives it away from your mind. Materialistic people, frantically pursue the butterfly of happiness, yet never succeed in catching it. Were they to possess everything their hearts ever craved, happiness would still elude them. It is foolish to expect true happiness from material things, for they are powerless to give it, and yet, millions of people die of broken hearts trying vainly to find the comfort in material things which God alone can impart.
On the other hand, happiness blooms naturally in the hearts of those who are inwardly free. It flows spontaneously, like a mountain spring after April showers, in minds that are contented with simple living and that willingly renounce the clutter of unnecessary, so-called ‘necessities’—the dream castles of a restless mind.
Make a little money and be satisfied with it by living a simple life and expressing your ideals, rather than have lots of money and worries without end.
Happiness and Meditation
Meditate regularly, and you will find a joy inside that is real. The joyous rays of the soul can be perceived when you interiorize your attention during meditation. Make a steady effort to go within, and you will find your greatest happiness there. Even if you do not meditate, be silent and calm every night for at least ten minutes (longer if possible) before you retire, and again in the morning before rising. This will produce an undaunted, unbreakable inner habit of happiness that will make you able to meet all the trying situations of the everyday battle of life.
Seek happiness daily, by continuously deeper meditation within, and you will surely find everlasting happiness. For happiness is mankind’s true and native state of being.
What Is the Secret of Happiness?
If you have given up hope of ever being happy, cheer up. Never lose hope. Your soul, being the reflection of the ever-joyous Spirit, is happiness itself.
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