Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


I used to think that the most powerful energy in the world is love. There were many reasons for this, as love changes everything. Love is the creative aspect to creation, it is the energy that flows through us all, it is life. The love of the creative energy of the universe created us, sustains us, renews us. After experiencing true happiness, I now believe that there is a stronger force, the force of happiness.

If love is the cause, happiness is the effect. Happiness is the end result of loving ourselves unconditionally. Happiness is the result of loving our lives, not only the pleasant events but also the unpleasant stuff. Happiness is not only getting what we want, it is the wanting what we get. Just as love underlies all of our awareness and consciousness, happiness is the foundation of bliss. I believe that we are programmed and hardwired with happiness at our core, the problem is we are easily distracted by fear, anger, guilt, shame, blame and other negative emotions and thoughts. If we can let go of these negative experiences we can reconnect with our core happiness.

Happiness is an experiential concept. It is not something to intellectualize, it is not something that you can “fake it until you make it.” You either feel happy or you don’t. Once you feel happiness, you know what it is and you can return to that state by quieting your mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to meditate or become completely thoughtless, but it does mean that you have to focus on the feeling of happiness over all other distractions.

I believe that children are born naturally happy. When we trust that we will be taken care of and we believe that we are loved, then we feel happy. This is our natural state of being. At some point most of us experience trauma in our lives in the form of abuse that distracts us from our natural state of happiness. We create defense mechanisms to avoid any more trauma, however, these defense mechanism also distract us from our natural state of happiness. We fear others, we suppress anger and guilt, we deny our feelings, and we feel unworthy or invalid.

There is a way back to our natural state of happiness. It requires trust and faith that we are not victims and that the divine creator knew what he/she was doing when it created us. First and foremost, we have to love ourselves. It is impossible to feel happiness if we do not love our lives and ourselves. If we love our lives and ourselves, we accept that everything will be okay and remember that everything changes with time. If we are not experiencing pleasure at any given moment, we are not concerned because we know that will change. If we detach from the pleasure and pain, we can start to get down to the underlying natural state of happiness.

Our lives may be difficult or challenging at the moment. We are fully aware that the challenges are difficult and we may not know how things will turn out. If we are in denial, we ignore the lessons we have come to learn by creating our challenges, while if we are happy we fully embrace the challenges as rungs in the ladder to enlightenment. We become happy for ourselves no matter what happens and our circumstances are irrelevant.

The biggest block to happiness is the illusion that if we are not getting what we want then we can’t be happy. We all were programmed from birth with beliefs by our parents, teachers and peers regarding what we want in life. If we don’t get what we want, we are programmed to suffer, especially by feeling that we are doing something wrong. We must let go of this programming and understand that happiness arises when we accept that what is happening is for our greater good. We can be happy that we have challenges because they make us strong.

I received an email the other day from someone who had made the observation that most spiritual teaching these days are from people who are rich or live in great abundance. He wanted to know what good these teachings would do for people who struggle to survive from one meal to the next. My observation is that people who live in poverty often are happier than people who live in abundance. At least the people who live in poverty understand that happiness does not depend on material possessions or wealth. It is easier to accept this lesson when you are in poverty than if you live in the USA and are surrounded by material wealth. There is a spiritual truth that happiness may be easier to find on an empty belly than a full one.

Finding happiness requires one to dig very deep under core beliefs and illusions to love us no matter what. That is the true nature of a spiritual path. Happiness is the goal that we all seek. Once we find it, it is easy to hold on to. We can be rejected, abandoned or abused, and we realize how artificial and illusory those concepts are. Happiness is what we all want. Where we become differentiated is how we believe we will find it. When we realize that all it takes is the love of self, we do not need the houses, cars, bank accounts or soul mates to be happy. We cease to suffer and begin to enjoy life. I am beginning to believe that enlightenment is the connection to this state of being.

When we are happy we are connected to our higher self and our divinity. When we disconnect from our higher self and divinity we are unhappy. This is the easy and simple litmus test of our connection to God. I like to imagine that when we are in our hearts, we are happy. When we are in our heads, we often are not.  So when people say that the longest journey is from our heads to our hearts, what they are really saying is the longest journey is from suffering to happiness. However, even though the journey may seem long, it is easy. All we have to do is allow ourselves to be happy, love ourselves unconditionally and stop the nonsense in our heads. Let it be, let it be, let it be.

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