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Happiness Is Not the Goal of The Work

Do you need rainbows in order to be happy?

This May Sound Sacrilegious

But for me The Work is not about happiness.

Believe me, I am a happiness junkie. Happiness is my number one addiction. I’m always looking for ways to be more happy.

What Am I Addicted To?

I’m addicted to a feeling.

A feeling that I get in my heart and stomach and all over my body that feels like a high. I love it when I’m in that zone, and a part of me is always searching for how to have that high all the time.

I take care of my health for that reason. I meditate for that reason. I seek success in many fields for that reason. And sometimes I do The Work for that reason.

But The Work Cuts Through My Addiction

Because The Work invites me to question everything I want, including happiness.

What I find as a result of doing The Work is that I’m fine without my high. I’m fine when my health is not perfect. I’m fine when I’m tired or heavy. I’m fine when I’m not successful. I’m fine when I don’t meditate. I’m fine when I’m not enlightened.

I can’t bring any situation to The Work without it turning out to be fine.

This Recalibrates Me

This makes me smile when I look at my idea of a permanent high, of a permanent state of happiness. Why would I need that high feeling in my body when not being high is just as fine?

In other words, The Work delivers an experience of freedom for me—not happiness. If happiness could be compared to golden light, then freedom, for me, would be pure transparency.

And what I love about transparency is that it can coexist with any color. It can coexist with golden light or with pure darkness. It doesn’t matter what color is there.

There Is a Freedom in Not Needing Even Happiness

And that’s what The Work keeps pointing me towards. Happiness is wonderful. Health is wonderful. Success is wonderful. But needing any of these is not.

And being fine with or without them is peace.

That’s what The Work is all about for me. It’s not about getting to a state of happiness. But rather, it’s about getting out of a state of craving happiness—which is actually the opposite of happiness.

Then Life Is Simple

It just is. And with all of life’s ups and downs, I’m still totally fine.

Have a great weekend,

“I have an Israeli friend who is paralyzed from his neck to his toes. He used to see himself as a victim, and he had all the proof—the mind is good at that. He was certain that life was unfair. But after doing The Work for a while, he came to realize that reality is just the way it should be. He doesn’t have a problem now. He’s a happy man in a paralyzed body. And he didn’t do anything to change his mind. He simply questioned his thinking, and mind changed.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

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Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.