Happiness is a choice.
This may come as a bold statement for many, yet it is the absolute truth. In almost any situation we find ourselves, we can choose to be happy if we want to. Obviously, this is more difficult to do in some situations than in others. For example, if we are in physical pain, it's very difficult to focus our minds on happiness. And when we are experiencing something pleasurable, happiness almost comes on it's own.
In our modern world, we rarely experience physical pain. Most of the situations we find ourselves unhappy in are simply situations that don't meet our expectations. A friend who betrays our trust, a life partner that is dishonest or unfaithful, a boss that is difficult and demanding. These are the types of situations that we can choose to be happy in if we set our mental focus properly.
But how do we find happiness in the midst of these situations? Or, on a more basic level, how do we control our emotions to be what we want them to be? And an even more basic question, why would we want to?
Let's start with the most basic question, why would we want to control our emotions and make them be something other than those expected?
One of the core principles in the Keys To Power system (and many New Thought systems) is that the Power of Spirit is directed by the thoughts and feelings within us to create our experiences. This means that when we're thinking and feeling happy thoughts, Power will be directed to create happy experiences. When we think and feel unhappy thoughts, Power is directed to create unhappy experiences. This 'Law of Power' works just as surely and accurately as any other natural Law, such as gravity.
Most people understand the basic concepts here, so I won't go into detail here. If you need more detail, read through some of the ebooks in the Download section of this site. What continually amazes me, however, is the number of people who will agree with the concepts just mentioned, yet will do nothing to implement them into their lives!
But maybe that is because they don't really know how. Which gets us to the next question, how do we control our emotions to be what we want them to be?
To get to the answer to that question, we need to understand how the emotions work. Not an easy task, and a full description would take far too much time and space to include here. But in essence, the emotions react to mental stimulus. This means that the combination of our thoughts, beliefs, mental images, and perceptions of the world around us work together to create our emotions.
The sight of a mountain can arouse feelings of pride in one person, and feelings of failure in another. Obviously, the sight of the mountain itself did not create the feelings, or everyone would feel the same way about seeing a mountain. Hearing that the stock market dropped 500 points will make one person feel like the end of the world is at hand, yet make someone else feel that a grand opportunity has arrived. And on a more personal level, finding out that your spouse has engaged in extramarital affairs can be either a blessing or a curse to the relationship, depending on how you look at it.
So, to control our emotions, we need to control the mental stimulus that creates those emotions.
One of the most basic (and most effective) mental stimulus is the judgment that we place on the interpretation of each event. When we judge an event to be bad, our emotional reaction is negative and unhappiness results. If we judge an event to be good, then happiness is much more likely. In many motivational programs, you will find the instruction to label all experiences as good, and then to search for the goodness in the experience. If you lose your job, claim "this is good" and then go about looking for the good in losing your job. It's usually the opportunity to find a better means of employment.
In other situations, the goodness of the situation is harder to find. For example, someone lies to you and causes you to lose your trust in them. What good is there in that? Maybe it's an indication that your trust is misplaced and you need to focus elsewhere for truth. Maybe it's an indication that you've allowed an experience to be created (from previous usages of Power) that you don't like. In this case, it's an indication that you need to refocus your mind to create what you do want, and not what you don't want.
And this is the central message here. Your thoughts and feelings are directing Power to create your life experiences. Think about the possibility of dishonesty, or allow yourself to feel that dishonesty is a possibility, and you sow the seeds for a dishonest experience.
I know what you're probably thinking - "People lie and cheat all the time. How can I possibly NOT think or feel that dishonesty is a possibility? It's more than a possibility, it's real!" This is where the principles of the Keys To Power get the most difficult to implement in real life. All I can say is that if you can convince yourself that you will never experience dishonesty, then you won't. I'm not saying that it's easy to do, I'm just relaying the principles.
Now let's get to our first question, how can we find happiness in the midst of unhappy experiences?
Whatever the situation, we need to focus our mind on happy things. Maybe we start to think about other situations other than the one we are currently in. Think about a time when you were tremendously happy. Relive the experience in your mind. Pretend that you are having the same experience right now. Or maybe it's better to think about how you would like the current situation to end. Imagine that the situation is completely transformed and becomes what you want it to become. Or maybe you only need to focus on the concept that everything will be okay, whether you know how it will end or not.
There's a story that I like to remember from time to time. There was once a farmer living on a plot of land with his family. This farmer had 2 horses to help him farm his land. And if he worked with those 2 horses from sun up to sun down, he barely made enough to support his family. One day, one of the horses ran away. The farmer's neighbor, once he found out about it, said "That's terrible. Now you won't have what you need to support your family. You'll surely starve to death." The farmer replied "Maybe, maybe not."
The next day, the horse that ran away came back, and brought 2 other horses with it. The farmer's neighbor happened to be there, and exclaimed jubilantly "This is wonderful! Now you'll be able to earn much more, and you and your family will live in luxury!" Again, the farmer's response was "Maybe, maybe not."
A few days later, one of the farmer's sons tried to tame one of the wild horses. The horse threw the young boy. When the boy fell, one of his legs was broken. Again the farmer's neighbor said "That's terrible!" and again the farmer replied "Maybe, maybe not."
About a week later, the local militia came around recruiting all available young men. Because the farmer's son's leg was broken, they passed by without taking him. Again the farmer's neighbor said "That's great!" and again the farmer replied "Maybe, maybe not."
The basic lesson in this story (which could go on forever), is that you never really know what will happen because of the current event. Even if the situation now is "terrible", it may be necessary to get to a situation that's "Great!"