If you watch enough television and commercials, it’s easy to think love and fulfillment come from outside of us. We may think somewhere ‘out there’ has what we need to feel happy, enlightened, wealthy, wanted, or loved. If we just keep searching, we think someday we will find it—we just haven’t looked in the right place. There was a country song I heard growing up that said the secret to happiness was “younger women, faster horses, older whiskey, and more money!” But if you have played the game of ‘more’, you know the acquisition of those things is only fun for so long.
In this search for more externally, we forget that the source of positive emotions and virtues is inside of us. We can cultivate these feelings through practices and intention. Peace, stillness, and creativity arise from a connection with the kidneys. Love, joy, and happiness are grown in the heart. Stability and trust coincide with a healthy spleen. Courage and self-love come from strong lungs. And… forgiveness can be found in the liver.
As these qualities are grown in the physical body, we attract and resonate with the same qualities outside of us. Like a tuning fork, we increase the vibration of our environment and those around us. More importantly, we make choices that lead us to less circumstances that cause less of the negative emotions and make room for the positive ones. I first started these practices 20 years ago and there were a lot of ups and downs. Looking back today, I can say that the more I searched externally the more I postponed the natural emergence of these qualities from inside myself. I hope I can remember this lesson for the next 60 years. Of course I have bad days and bad moments in good days. But over time, I’m more consistently seeing the results that bring me peace and happiness. What about you? What helps you find peace and happiness?