The Source of All Misery (How to Achieve Ultimate Happiness)

Throughout life, we have moments of misery or unhappiness. Sometimes we experience long periods of deep depression. None of this is necessary. Happiness is your true nature – your natural state. In this article, you’ll discover the source of all misery and how to achieve ultimate happiness.

Watch the video below or scroll down if you prefer to read. 

Frustrated Desires: The Source of All Misery

What ultimately makes us feel unhappiness or sorrow are frustrated desires. There are two types of desires we have:

  • Positive Desires: Wanting to have, be, or do something

  • Negative Desires: Not wanting to have, be, or do something

Whenever you hold onto either of these desires, it creates misery and suffering. If you can let go of the desire, the unhappiness it creates will go away and you will experience your natural state of peace and joy.

The Problem with Positive Desires

When you are wanting something, it creates a feeling of lack. And lack doesn’t feel good. The feeling of lack or limitation is agonizing. When you focus on what you don’t have, you are unhappy.

You might think having, being, or doing that thing you want will make you happy, but happiness comes from within. Even if you do get that thing and feel happy, the feeling of happiness is still coming from within.

So why not skip the intermediary and just feel happy now? When you make your happiness dependent on people, things, or circumstances, you are giving your power away. What you are really saying is that your happiness is dependent on the external world. There is no freedom in that.

When you make your happiness dependent on external circumstances, you are giving your power away. What you can do instead is let go of the desire. When you do this, you will feel more and more happiness because you are eliminating the agonizing feeling of lack.

Now you might be saying, “If I let go of wanting something, how will I get it?” And in reply I would say, wanting is not the same as having. Wanting can often get in the way of having.

Why Wanting Won’t Lead to Having

Have you ever been on a date with someone and they acted so needy and desperate that you got turned off and didn’t want to date them anymore? Or have you ever talked with a pushy salesperson who was so eager to make the sale that you didn’t buy, even though you liked the product or service they were offering?

Compare those two scenarios with the opposite. Imagine going on date with someone and they are completely confident and able to express themselves honestly. Or think about talking with a salesperson with genuine interest in you and your needs rather than just wanting to get the sale.

Which of these two scenarios do you think is more likely to lead to success? If you guessed the latter, you’re right! When you are coming from a place of “I am enough” or “I have enough” you don’t engage in self-defeating behaviors like neediness or pushing for the sale. And you don’t experience the agony and misery that the sense of lack brings.

The Problem with Negative Desires

There is another type of desire that also creates suffering, and that is the desire to not have, be or do something. Another word for negative desires is aversion. Aversions also create misery and suffering, but for different reasons than positive desires.

When you have the desire to not experience something, you are still picturing it in your mind. When you picture something you don’t want in your mind, you are already experiencing it, at least internally. You experience the misery and suffering you think that thing will bring.

And picturing what you don’t want in your mind can manifest it into your experience. The reason why is that we tend to get what we focus on. One of the most common causes of car accidents is something called target fixation.

Loosely defined, target fixation is a behavior in which a person becomes so focused on a singular object that they tend to ride (or drive) straight into it. This occurs more commonly in motorcyclists because the steering on a motorcycle is much more attuned to the minuscule, sometimes-subconscious, movements of the rider.

You could also say that the steering of your life is more attuned to the minuscule, sometimes-subconscious, movements of you, the rider. So when you focus on something you want to avoid, you will often subconsciously steer yourself towards it.

Letting Go of Desires: The Secret to Happiness and Havingness

There is a way to avoid the pain and suffering that both positive and negative desires create: letting them go. When you let go of desire, you also let go of the suffering they create. And you will avoid the subconscious behaviors that lead to undesirable outcomes.

Letting go of desires is easy. It make take a while to completely let go of any given desire or aversion, but with persistent effort, you can be free of desire and the suffering it creates.

In my coaching program, I teach several different ways of letting go. But to get you started, I’m going to share with you one of the simplest and most powerful ways to release desires: welcoming.

To welcome something is to allow it to be here – opening to it fully. When you do this, there is an opening inside and the desire often releases all on it’s own. Welcoming is the opposite of what we normally do with desires. What we normally do is hold onto the desire – clutching or gripping it as tightly as we can.

And gripping onto a desire like that is what creates suffering. This clutching also is the cause of self-defeating behaviors that lead to undesirable outcomes. If you do the opposite, then the desire and the suffering it creates will release.

The 3 Elements of Desire and Misery

With any desire we have, there are three aspects to it:

  • The desire itself

  • The wanting to do something with or about it

  • The sense that it’s personal, that it’s about you or who you are

If you welcome or acknowledge these three elements of a desire, it will release all on its own. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s try it now so you can see how it works.

Exercise: Letting Go of Positive Desires

Allow yourself to focus inside and think of something you’ve been wanting. Something you want to have, be, or do. And just take the first thought or feeling that comes to mind.

And could you welcome whatever pictures, sensations, or sounds that brings up in awareness? Could you allow that to be here, just for now?

Next, could you welcome any wanting to do something with or about that? Notice any wanting to fix it, any wanting to change it, or any wanting to figure it out. Just notice or allow any and all wanting associated with that desire.

And then could you welcome any sense of “me” or “mine”? Could you welcome any sense that it’s personal, about you or who you are?

And then, just for you, could you let go of that desire, as best you can?

If you’re struggling with this, remember, wanting is not the same as having. When you let go of wanting, you make room for having. So do the best you can to let go of this desire.

Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary to let go of the desire. When you do this, do a quick check inside and notice how you feel. Do you feel more happy or more at ease? If not, keep working with this process. If you spent only a few days letting go of desires it will make a huge difference in your overall experience of life.

Exercise: Letting Go of Negative Desires

Now let’s do an exercise to help you let go of aversions or fears. These negative desires also create misery and suffering in your life. The more you can let them go, the happier you will feel. 

Watch the video below or scroll down for the text version of the exercise. 

Allow yourself to focus inside and think of something you’ve been wanting to avoid. Something you don’t want to have, be, or do. And just take the first thought or feeling that comes to mind.

And could you welcome whatever pictures, sensations, or sounds that brings up in awareness? Could you allow that to be here, just for now?

Next, could you welcome any wanting to do something with our about that? Notice any wanting to fix it, any wanting to change it, or any wanting to figure it out. Just notice or allow any and all wanting associated with that desire.

And then could you welcome any sense of “me” or “mine”? Could you welcome any sense that it’s personal, about you or who you are?

And then, just for you, could you let go of that aversion or fear, as best you can?

If you’re struggling with this, remember that focusing on something you don’t can cause you to unconsciously steer yourself in that direction. The more you can let go of wanting to avoid something, the less likely it is to enter your experience. And you won’t experience the suffering that picturing that undesirable outcome in your mind creates.

Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary to let go of that fear or aversion. When you do this, do a quick check inside and notice how you feel. Do you feel more happy or more at ease? If not, keep working with this process. If you spent only a few days letting go of negative desires it will make a huge difference in your overall experience of life.

Jeremy Standiford
 

After a profound spiritual awakening, Jeremy Standiford went from feeling hopeless and unemployed to having it all - health, wealth, and love. Now his mission is to help other people realize true abundance in all aspects of their lives.