We know that water always seeks its own level and that this planet is two-thirds water and our bodies are similarly composed; I figure those truths have something to say about our lives. Let's take happiness.

Are you happy? Are you happier than I am? Do most people appear happier than you? Do you need someone else to make you happy? Are there different degrees of happiness? A pleasant feeling... contentment... joy? Does happiness depend on your circumstances? Are rich people happy and poor people unhappy, or the other way around? Do you need a drink/drugs to feel happy? Were you happier when you were younger? Are you only happy on weekends or when you're on vacation? Do you feel happy when you see someone who is worse off than you? Does buying a new "toy" make you happy? For how long? Are you happy when you're getting your needs met, but when you're rejected, abused, left out, put down or lose something, do you become unhappy? How do you know whether you're happy or not?

I decided, at a time when I felt very unhappy, to make a list of what was going right and what was going wrong in my life to see if my attitude was indeed correct. When I compared dozens of "rights" with half a dozen "wrongs," I realized that I couldn't be trusted to decide my state of mind. It tends to pay attention to the one-third going wrong and neglect the two-thirds that are going right. It's not necessarily reasonable to be rational. Just because I had no job, no income and no place to call home, didn't mean I had to choose to be unhappy. Being poor is temporary; poverty is a state of mind. I'm happier doing what I love than I've ever been having money. My ideal, of course, is to do what I love and make money at it, but in the meantime, I choose to happy no matter what my circumstances.

I used to work in what many people perceive as the "real" world. Big business, High finances. Bottom lines. 9 to 5. Drink your lunch. Nose to the grindstone. If it's not broke, don't fix it. C.Y.A. Salary reviews. Hurry up and wait. Get an ulcer. Corporate ladders. Stab someone in the back. Life or death decisions. Quality control. Drink your dinner. Have a heart attack. Retire. Play golf. Drop dead.

I'm sorry. I couldn't do it anymore. I had to get off that roller coaster and reconnect with the universe. That's not my idea of life. Man came out of the muck and mire to rise above it, not to wallow in it. "They" made up all that stuff and all those rules to give people something to do between birth and death, and look where it's gotten us! People are stressed out, uptight, angry, frustrated, obsessed, selfish, vengeful, sick and unhappy. And you don't see anything wrong with that, Bucko? Just because something has always been one way doesn't mean it always has to be that way.

There's this old story... I was preparing a ham for Christmas dinner and my daughter asked me why I cut the end of the ham off before I put it in the pan. I told her I'd always done it that way because that's how my mother taught me. So she called my mother and asked her why and Mom told her that's what her mother taught her. So my daughter called up my grandmother and she told her it was because the ham was too big for the pan she used to cook it in!

We don't have to keep putting up with "the way it is." We can change anything that doesn't make sense to us anymore. Use you imagination, for pete's sake. What do we need clones or robots for when we have human beings who will jump off bridges just because someone in authority tells them to do it?

I bet you thought I forgot about water seeking its own level ...back to the point. When you allow yourself to seek you own level of happiness, instead of buying into other peoples' definitions of how things "should" be, you're taking a step toward becoming the unique individual that you are.

I found that I need five dream cycles (about 7-1/2 hours of sleep) each night to maintain a comfortable level of happiness, productivity and stress. I don't like to go to bed at a certain time nor use an alarm clock and I don't schedule anything before 10:00 AM. Some days I don't feel like working, sometimes I work day and night. Some weeks, I only want to work 20 hours, some 80; some, not at all. I go with my creativity flow. I'm able to be more spontaneous and relaxed, and accomplish more. I can't deal with time clocks, routines, deadlines, or people looking over my shoulder. Now who, out in the "real" world, is going to hire a person like that? That's why I do my own thing and leave the rest to people who live by external clocks.

By the way, don't tell anybody about this. If word gets out, what will happen to the government, the stock market, the military-industrial complex... ?

Relationships are another thing. I don't want to live a soap opera life with one emotional trauma after another. But most people apparently do, otherwise, why would they continue to live the way they do? The couple next door are always screaming accusations at each other. He keeps throwing her out, she keeps coming back. The neighbors on the other side blame all their problems on the 4-year old son and vent their wrath at the world on the child. They hate their lives, they hate their jobs, they hate other people and each other, they hate the whole world. Why do people attract these things into their lives? I know, I know, they are evolving souls who have lessons to learn about unconditional love and they have to grow through this to learn. But they're not learning, they stay stuck in it, angry, resentful, abusive toward each other, unhappy. That's just the way life is!

I decided those kinds of relationships were not what I wanted to attract and became a recluse for a long time in order to process my own experiences. Now, I don't get into relationships with negative people. Working with clients' emotions helped me learn detachment. Its' only when we are attached to our addictions (the need for love, the need for someone else to make us whole, the need for someone else to support us, and the like) that we bring this unhappiness on ourselves. When we can let go of those needs, by supplying them for ourselves, we begin to form more comfortable relationships with others. We find our own levels of happiness.

You can choose to seek your own level of happiness. First, you have to know what that means to you and then create it for yourself. The answers to your particular dilemma are inside you. Once you find inner peace, you exist in a state of bliss and no longer look to others for fulfillment. You find fulfillment because you no longer need it; you have it within yourself.

Excerpted from "Sitting in the Lotus Blossom"

Author's Bio: 

Diane has been a spiritual seeker since her near death experience in 1971 and a spiritual teacher for the past 20 years. She has written several books and has maintained an Internet presence since 1996 with her well-known web site about near death experiences www.BeyondtheVeil.net, which also offers spiritual lessons and resources for seekers. On her newest website, www.TransitionGuideTraining.org she offers a certified online training course for educators and healers who wish to train Transition Guides in the practice of Conscious Dying into the Clear Light.