The Happiness Trail

by Rob Dorgan

I used to think being happy was a matter of chance. It seemed some folks were naturally happy and optimistic and others like me just had different circumstances.

I grew up with a lot of fears. I know some were from my upbringing but others I now feel are samskaras from past lives. In yoga philosophy it is written that we bring things with us from past lives called samskaras, deep habitual patterns. If this concept is too much for you think of it as inheriting tendencies, fears and even talents from your relatives. Think of it as what you bring in to this lifetime with your DNA.

Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do or think the way you think? Was it learned? Did it come from somewhere else?

It can be fun orconfusing to think about why and where but in reality it is a waste of your time. Seriously, if you recognize a common tendency in your family, you can spend your precious time blaming your parents or your grandparents or you can work on moving on.You can decide to release old baggage that is weighing you down and free yourself from the inside out.

Setting the bags down is not easy. I will admit it. I am still working on getting rid of the stuff in the steamer trunk I pull around with me. How?

I searched for the tools and disciplines that help me to rid myself of this baggage little by little.

I wish there was a pill we could take that would just solve all our relationship issues, wipe out of lack of self confidence, heal the wounds we carry that deplete our energy and hold us back from living life full on.

That is not the case. If it where we would all be perfect beings and there would be no struggle - or sense of accomplishment for that matter.

Happiness is a process. A process we work on everyday. We find practices like yoga, exercise, meditation, that help us to harness our mind so we can be more discerning about who we are and what we want. Happiness is the fulfillment we experience when we realize we can stop old patterns that push us around like a bully. Happiness is realizing we have choices. We can choose to do or not do. We can choose or not choose to add to our fulfillment.

Happiness is even recognizing and admitting to our not-so-good choices and learning from them. It is all part of the process.

We experiment with our life. We find practices that take us a step closer to being who we want to be and we commit to them.

Man meditating

Man meditating

For me, the practices of yoga, meditation, exercise, movement of all types were all “A-HA” moments. “Wow! These things are helping me create space inside so I can feel an internal freedom.” I slowly changed my thinking from “I have to do these things” to “I want to to do these things.” I want to do them because they are taking me places I want to go. They make me happy. They deepen the well of joy I know is in my heart.

Happiness may seem to come naturally to some but I bet if you ask them, it’s a work in progress. It is for me. I look forward to my morning ritual of meditation and yoga. I look forward to getting my butt kicked at the gym three times a week. OK, not every day or every time but over time I have developed a love of the things that help me be happy and free from the internal critic.

It is all worth it. You are worth it. You are a beautiful creation of the Universe. The life force experiences it self through you!

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life??” asks the poet, Mary Oliver.

Choose happiness. Choose it and go for it!


Rob Dorgan and his partner Steve Bolia will be leading a retreat, Personal Training for the Body and Soul, June 16-19, at Easton Mountain.