Happiness 301: The Master’s Guide for How to be Happy Spiritually (Presence, Letting Go, Transcendence, Joy)

Aug 14 · 11 min read

This is the final post in the 3-part happiness series. Jump to the first or second post here:

As much as our minds and egos would like to be #1 and be responsible for maximum happiness, we ultimately realize that they will only take us so far.

You have everything you need for happiness, right now…Happiness is realizing the world around us, no matter where we are, is a miracle, is beautiful and filled with sources of joy. Do you have eyes? Then you have the tools to enjoy the sky, the water, greenery, people — all miracles, all wonderful. Do you have ears? You have the tools to enjoy music, and laughter, and conversation. Do you have taste buds? You are blessed with a symphony of wonders, in berries and chocolate and popcorn and pure water and mint and chocolate chip cookies and spicy Thai food. These are the tools for happiness. Use them, and realize you are blessed beyond belief. — Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Paradoxically, we have to let our mind/ego go. Not only will happiness flow through you, you will move beyond happiness to holistic well-being, deep fulfillment, transcendence, and joy.

Now, what, then, will be happiness? And happiness, of course, is such a vague word, so let’s say well-being. And so, I think the best definition, according to the Buddhist view, is that well-being is not just a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment. A state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states, and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way. — Matthieu Ricard, Biochemist turned Buddhist monk often described as world’s happiest person

You’ll see that many of the spiritual teachings are paradoxes — let’s dive into the spiritual side of happiness.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. — Denis Waitley

Happiness 301 Post Contents:

9. PRESENCE: Happiness is the way — it’s the path in the present moment

10. LETTING GO: Happiness is letting go of desires and accepting life as it is

11. TRANSCENDENCE: Happiness is transcending your self

12. JOY: Happiness is living the Joy of Being — the only true happiness

Sloww Hierarchy of Happiness How to be Happy
Sloww Hierarchy of Happiness How to be Happy

The Master’s Guide for How to be Happy Spiritually: Presence, Letting Go, Transcendence, Joy (& 35+ Happiness Quotes)

How to be Happy #9 (PRESENCE): Happiness is the way — it’s the path in the present moment

One of many paradoxes — Happiness is not something you’ll find by seeking it:

Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being and inner peace, the source of true happiness. — Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. — Albert Camus

We begin a never-ending search for a satisfying experience of identity. We look beyond ourselves for the next thing that will make us happy…But the search is both endless and hopeless, because it is continually directed away from the ‘self’ that is doing the searching. — Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity

Happiness is the way — it’s the path in the present moment:

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. — Thich Nhat Hanh

There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path. — Siddhārtha Gautama

I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man…Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now. — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Peace is happiness at rest, and happiness is peace in motion. You can convert peace to happiness any time you want, but peace is want you want most of the time…If you’re a peaceful person, anything you do will be a happy activity. — Naval Ravikant

If there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

How to be Happy #10 (LETTING GO): Happiness is letting go of desires and accepting life as it is

On desire:

Desire to me is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. — Naval Ravikant

Happiness is simply the absence of desire. When you observe a cue, but do not desire to change your state, you are content with the current situation. Happiness is not about the achievement of pleasure…but about the lack of desire. It arrives when you have no urge to feel differently. Happiness is the state you enter when you no longer want to change your state. However, happiness is fleeting because a new desire always comes along. As Caed Budris says, ‘Happiness is the space between one desire being fulfilled and a new desire forming.’ Likewise, suffering is the space between craving a change in state and getting it. — James Clear, Atomic Habits

Nothing can satisfy the ego for long. As long as it runs your life, there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other. — Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Happiness is a default state. It’s what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing from your life. — Naval Ravikant

To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. — Matt Haig

You are able to accept life as it is once you let go and practice non-resistance, non-judgment and non-attachment:

Happiness is a function of accepting what is. — Werner Erhard

Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness. — Eckhart Tolle

Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest. — Sri Chinmoy

On the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except that they are so. — William R. Inge

We need to start by understanding that true happiness is not reflected in the modern world’s view of it being fun, elation or laughter. Happiness is finding peace and being OK with life exactly as it is. — Mo Gawdat

If you want permanent peace, permanent joy, and permanent happiness, you have to get through to the other side of the inner turmoil. You can experience a life in which waves of love can rush up inside of you any time you want. It is the nature of your being. You simply have to go to the other side of the psyche. You do that by letting go of the tendency to cling. You do it by not using your mind to build false solidity. You just decide, once and for all, to take the journey by constantly letting go. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

Happiness is in the extraordinarily ordinary:

The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. — William Morris

It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. — Richard Branson

Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness — I call it the joy of Being — is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things. Most people, in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all. The philosopher Nietzsche, in a rare moment of deep stillness, wrote, ‘For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!…. the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance — little maketh up the best happiness. Be still.’ — Eckhart Tolle

How to be Happy #11 (TRANSCENDENCE): Happiness is transcending your self

What happens when life is no longer all about you?

‘The self-transcendence of human existence’…being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself…self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. — Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance. — Eckhart Tolle

From unenlightened to enlightenment and unconditional happiness:

For unenlightened people, not every day is a good day, because they feel happy only when things happen the way they want them to. For enlightened people, every single day is a good day, because they feel free knowing that nothing can take away their wisdom. — Haemin Sunim, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down

If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

This choice to enjoy life will lead you through your spiritual journey. In truth, it is itself a spiritual teacher. Committing yourself to unconditional happiness will teach you every single thing there is to learn about yourself, about others, and about the nature of life. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

Moving beyond happiness to bliss, liberation, and joy:

The key to staying happy is really very simple. Begin by understanding your inner energies. If you look inside, you will see that when you’re happy, your heart feels open and the energy rushes up inside of you. When you aren’t happy, your heart feels closed and no energy comes up inside. So to stay happy, just don’t close your heart. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

Once you have passed through trial by fire, and you are thoroughly convinced that you will let go no matter what, then the veils of the human mind and heart will fall away. You will stand face-to-face with what is beyond you because there is no longer a need for you. When you are done playing with the temporal and finite, you will open to the eternal and infinite. Then the word ‘happiness’ can’t describe your state. That’s where words like ecstasy, bliss, liberation, Nirvana, and freedom come in. The joy becomes overwhelming, and your cup runneth over. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

How to be Happy #12 (JOY): Happiness is living the Joy of Being — the only true happiness

It’s rooted in ancient spiritual traditions:

One of the ancient names for God in the yogic tradition is Satchitananda — Eternal, Conscious Bliss. God is ecstasy. God is as high as it gets. If you want to be close to God, learn to be joyful. If you remain spontaneously happy and centered, no matter what happens, you will find God. — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

Learn to carry all the conditions of happiness within yourself by meditating and attuning your consciousness to the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy, which is God. Your happiness should never be subject to any outside influence. Whatever your environment is, don’t allow your inner peace be touched by it. — Paramahansa Yogananda

Ancient sages of India called ananda — the bliss of Being. — Eckhart Tolle

What is joy?

When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do — and with it the quality of your life — increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of Being. When the creative power of the universe becomes conscious of itself, it manifests as joy. — Eckhart Tolle

What is the joy of Being?

The joy of Being is the joy of being conscious. — Eckhart Tolle

The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, can not come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event — through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you — ever. It emanates form the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are. — Eckhart Tolle

The joy of Being…You can only feel it when you get out of your head. Being must be felt. It can’t be thought. The ego doesn’t know about it because thought is what it consists of. — Eckhart Tolle

The joy of Being doesn’t come from doing:

Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. — Eckhart Tolle

To be more precise, what you are enjoying is not really the outward action but the inner dimension of consciousness that flows into the action. This is finding the joy of Being in what you are doing. — Eckhart Tolle

Why is it the ‘least thing’ that makes up ‘the best happiness’? Because true happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears. The thing or event is so subtle, so unobtrusive, that it takes up only a small part of your consciousness — and the rest is inner space, consciousness itself unobstructed by form. Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. In other words, the form of little things leaves room for inner space. And it is from inner space, the unconditioned consciousness itself, that true happiness, the joy of Being, emanates. — Eckhart Tolle

That wraps up the happiness series! What was most eye-opening or mind-expanding for you? Please let me know in the comments. If you loved this post/series, social sharing is always much appreciated.

I’ll leave you to contemplate one quote that was already mentioned in the previous post. It takes on an entirely different meaning when you view it from a spiritual perspective:

If you want to be happy, be. — Leo Tolstoy

Continue to the other posts:


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