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“Happiness is a direction, not a place” – Sydney J Harris

If there is one thing that unites humanity it is the pursuit of happiness. An almost dizzying array of websites, books and blogs abound on the subject. There is a mix of very different and overlapping advice, a smorgasbord of ideas and suggestions and, at times, an almost overwhelming assemblage of possibilities that if just followed correctly, will lead to “happiness”.

While all of the advice is well meaning, and some of it may be life changing, there is often a flaw in the idea of happiness. This is because we often see happiness as a fixed endpoint, somewhere on the horizon. If we just get the right job, or the right possession or tick off whatever arbitrary things are on our “happiness” list, then we will be happy.

The problem with this is that this definition of happiness is based on the principle that happiness is something external that we import and when we have enough of it we have arrived at the destination. In reality, happiness is something internal, something that we cultivate by bringing awareness, gratitude and appreciation to those fragments of life that make us smile, laugh and feel connected.

Happiness is not a destination, it is very much a journey. Happiness is cultivated through paying attention to that which is good and learning to let go of those moments of rumination and habit that sustain stress and difficulty.

Mindfulness is a practice that implicitly cultivates joy and happiness by allowing us to fully embody those moments. This practice is a gift to ourselves and those around us. Why not reflect now, mindfully, on something in this moment that is good? Maybe a sensation in the body, a sound, a feeling or just the face of someone we care about. Embody that moment and feel it fully. Do this again and again and notice how this affects your day.