Bliss-Following, the New Trend, Leading to Meaning.
Happiness. Happiness is one’s bliss. It is a motivating, life affirming energy. We are designed, in our human fabric, to seek and experience this joy, this bliss, this happiness as often as possible. We all want to be happy.
But what can we do to increase the presence of joy in our lives, to experience it as often as possible and what changes in our lives might occur if we do?
Joseph Campbell has a marvelous, now iconic phrase. It is this: “Follow your Bliss”. Three words that say it all.
Here is the idea. We all want to be happy. When we are following what makes us feel happy, we have happiness. Some people, instead of following their happiness, follow money. But sometimes, money dries up. It goes away. The economy changes. Then what do they have? But when you follow your bliss, you always have your bliss.
Is that not what life is about? Don’t we all want to feel as much bliss as possible and lessen those experiences that do not make us happy as much as possible?
Here is the crazy thing about bliss-following…It enables us to deal with difficult times, it fills our lives with interesting experiences and it opens doors.
When you are doing what makes you happy and letting that be a motivating and guiding principle in your life, you are destined to live an interesting life, meet interesting people, have interesting experiences and live a life that is absolutely filled with bliss. Why so interesting? Because your experiences generate out of your interest. So, they are interesting.
Bliss-following enables us to deal with difficult times because their is a great pay off for overcoming or weathering the hard times: our bliss.
Following your bliss can lead to opportunities that were not previously there before. This is what the hero journey is all about. Once one commits to achieving their life desires and goals, they find themselves on a grand, epic adventure. These adventures we find ourselves on have a way of mirroring the Hero Journey, a structure in most stories told throughout the world and time. There appears to be magic in doing what we love.
Bliss is contagious. Everyone wants it and wants to be around those who possess much of it. Some people just radiate bliss and I have found that these people have a way of inspiring other people and having opportunities in their lives.
We all seek inspiration. Inspiration is a sweet muse. Inspiration sometimes brings great ideas, propels us into action, gives us courage to engage in activities we would not before. Inspiration is also a form of happiness in our lives. We need inspiration, as inspiration can lift you out of darkness and very rough times. Inspiration is light.
When you follow your bliss, you are coming into accord with yourself, your very being, who you are. In being who you are and acting out of that, you are realizing your potential and your “self”, which is what life is all about–being able to answer the questions: “Who am I?” and the other one: “Why am I here?”
“Just follow your bliss”, some people are thinking. “Sounds so easy”. But it can be hard to have the courage to follow your bliss. Sometimes choosing to follow your bliss involves quitting jobs that make us miserable. It means not associating with people who drain your energy and pull you backwards, rather than forwards. Sometimes to follow our bliss, we much engage in live changes and change, for some, can be very scary. It can demand great sacrifice. I have found that most experiences in life have a price and bliss, the golden radiance in life, the golden ring we all seek, often has a very heavy price tag. Nothing of great value in life comes cheap.
This dues-paying can be a heavy process. Once we decide to engage in change, we are put through a series of obstacles. When we commit to manifesting bliss in our lives, the universe seems to push back upon us and we, like the hero found in every hero adventure (translate to mean most movies, plays and novels) we face difficulty that tests us, pushes us and requires of us that we fight for what we want.
Sometimes happiness comes easily. Sometimes happiness can be found in something as simple as a picnic on a sun-lit spring day. But deep, meaningful, life affirming happiness comes through having a structure in your life that accommodates happiness and a willingness to pay for it.
To have more happiness, build the infrastructure, like the metal scaffolding of a skyscraper. Build the opportunities, map your goals, establish the sense of order and direction that is going to lead you towards the courage, opportunities and experiences that are going to create the memories that give us joy throughout our lifetimes.
I like to describe this type of bliss-following as Living your Life as Art. A lot of graduates from TITAN Teaterskole, my theatre conservatory in Oslo, Norway tell me they are really happy. They say that they have the courage and discipline and the sense of understanding of how to live heroically and follow their bliss. When I hear this sort of thing, I think “My job is done. I can die happy. I helped others find more happiness in their lives”. That is very powerful to me.
When we have happiness in our lives, oftentimes we also find courage.
Happiness leads to inspiration. Inspiration leads to motivation. The combination of each of these leads to innovation.
Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.