One of the quality-of-life “formulas” that I came across in my early years as a kundalini yogi was “Six Steps to Happiness.” I pondered the pieces of that particular puzzle for quite some time back then; throughout the ensuing years; and again, I find myself ruminating not only about each step, but about the word “happiness.”

I am not entirely at ease with the word, because I am not convinced of the concept. To me, Happiness is ephemeral; it is not a static state to be achieved once and for all. Just as the definition of “success” may morph in a person’s life, due to changing circumstances and priorities, Happiness likely will shape-shift many times over the course of an individual’s lifetime.

So, as I introduce and discuss the Six Steps to Happiness, know that Happiness as I discuss it here is not a giddy, care-free state of being, nor is it the end-all, be-all: Rather, it is an organism comprised of health, positivity, kindness, and generosity. Further, Happiness moves: As it begins to imbue one’s being, it naturally seeks an outlet; and a shortage of Happiness within often results from a stiffening of our ability to reach out. Happiness does ebb and flow, wax and wane: Like the tides and the lunar cycles, Happiness can become a given in Life; and, as in Nature, the presence and quality of Happiness will have its seasons.

The six stepping stones on the path to Happiness are, according to Yogi Bhajan: Commitment, Character, Dignity, Divinity, Grace, and Strength to Sacrifice. You may find that one or more of these words feels foreign to your philosophy or perspective regarding Life. Or you may feel tension or aversion in relation to one or more of the concepts. For example, if you often feel “used” by others, or if you have a difficult time prioritizing your mental or physical well-being, the idea of Strength to Sacrifice may seem like a prescription for emotional exhaustion.

Remember, however, that when that step enters your life as a precursor to Happiness, it has been preceded by the manifestation of five other qualities. Those traits and states build you from the ground up, so that by the time you arrive at “Sacrifice,” you will no longer feel put-upon; rather, you will be operating from a place of self-confidence and overarching spiritual strength. Thus, “Sacrifice’ ultimately feels enriching and exciting, and not as if you are chipping away at yourself for the sake of others.

Also, any one of the six steps may trip you up if the word itself is not one that fits into your psychological or intellectual lexicon. For some, Divinity may present a roadblock: Does this concept mean that one has to believe in God, or gods and goddesses? My sense of the word in this context is that of an ongoing expansion of mind and opening of heart: One begins to recognize that the materiality of the earthly realm and the confines of the physical body are but an illusory fragment of existence. We become acquainted with Divinity when we recognize and ultimately cherish the generative forces and subtle energies that sustain us throughout eternity.

In tomorrow’s post, I will address each step in association with its related chakra, or chakras. If you have already discerned that one of the steps listed above gives you pause, you may also discover that its chakra correlate is depleted or closed. I will offer specific techniques and exercises to access, enliven, and balance the chakras, so that you may embark on your road to Happiness without burden or constraint.

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