I was lucky enough to go to a practitioner conference in California recently and it was an amazing experience.
There were so many things I took away from it, which I’ll be sharing here on the blog over the coming weeks and months.
But the thing I wanted to start with, because it struck me most, was the capacity we all have to be happy for no reason.
Until the conference I had never come across a group of people who seemed to have such a genuine peace and joy in their lives, which came from the inside.
Many of the speakers had been practicing Psychology or Psychiatry for thirty to forty years, and they all spoke about how they had suffered and struggled with their own mental health, despite all the tools and training they had at their disposal.
It wasn’t until they gained a new understanding that their experience of life began to shift.
This understanding was based on the Three Principles and the work of Syd Banks, which my coaching is grounded in.
Some of the speakers reported that they had faced a huge amount of challenges in their lives, and suffered as a result. Other speakers reported that they had all the benefits of success, and everything they could have wanted on the outside, yet felt miserable and lost on the inside. They suffered too.
For all of them, once they started to get a better understanding of how the mind actually works, and how we’re creating our experiences from the inside out, things started to change.
They came to see how they’d been innocently misusing the power of thought against themselves, and they began to realize there was an alternative.
One psychiatrist, Bill Pettit, described seeing how he’d been innocently hitting himself over the head with a hammer for many years. Once he gained a new understanding he realized he could put the hammer down.
All of the practitioners spoke about how their lives became more and more beautiful as they deepened into this understanding, and that life just got better and better. This really struck me as different to the common assumption that life goes downhill after a certain age or that all of our best experiences happen when we’re younger.
This collection of people had happy relationships, fulfilment in their work, and a joy in the everyday – often despite health challenges and the loss of loved ones. The genuine warmth and contentment that emanated from them was wonderful.
Needless to say I’m more convinced than ever to keep deepening my own understanding and to keep sharing what I’ve seen with those I work with.
What I came away from California with a strong sense of was that we really can be happy for no reason.
It’s become more and more clear to me how much our experiences are created from the inside out. It’s easy to see how my own and other people’s moods go up and down, as all human’s moods do, according to the thoughts we’re having. Things can look entirely different to us one day to the next, or even one hour to the next, when nothing in our circumstances has changed.
We often innocently believe our circumstances are causing our feelings, because it really and truly seems that way, thanks to consciousness bringing our thoughts to life in a very visceral sense. And we all have instances where it’s normal to feel insistent that our feelings our coming from challenges that we face outside.
But when we see there are moments where we feel different, despite the fact that our circumstances remain the same, we start to see some evidence for the fact that our experience is coming from the inside.
This is great news. Because it means that no matter what’s happening we have the freedom to create our experiences. We’ve been given free will and we are all free thinkers. New thought is always available.
It also means that nothing out there can make you feel a certain way, despite it sometimes seeming very convincing that it can.
Both suffering and joy are generated inside of us, as we’re always feeling our thinking. This means there is a lot less to be afraid of, and that we can feel a happiness on the inside that isn’t dependent on a single thing outside.
We can know that it’s possible for us to be happy, and that we will be happy. Because it doesn’t have to depend on our always changing circumstances, and the always changing thoughts that continue to pass through.
Our innate wellbeing goes deeper than that, and paves the way for a happiness that is ours to keep and enjoy for life.
A quiet contentment, a beautiful feeling, a smile and a deep sense of love.
Where a great life comes from being happy, and not the other way around.