Let me begin by sharing with you part of my personal journey that is The Happiness Experience for me. I do this for the reason that it outlines ways in which the journey to finding happiness unfolds, not only in my own personal life, but in most people’s lives.
I was born in the year 1950. I was one of twin boys born in a small village two miles outside the city of Armagh in my home land of Northern Ireland. We twins were born three months premature and not expected to live. Dr Bell, who was our family doctor and also my mother’s friend, advised her, “Edna don’t get too fond of them.”
I was one of a family of seven including my mother and father. There was my eldest brother John. Then there was my elder sister Mary. There were the twins, myself and my brother Jeff, and then there was the youngest sister Gillian.
Each of these children would journey in life in different ways. Each would take with them the central lessons learnt in childhood and manifest them in different ways in the world. The key lesson that I took from living within this family dynamic was the wish of my mother. This was her wish that was stated in the phrase, “We only want you to be happy.”
There are probably very few parents living in the world,or who have ever lived in the world, who have ever wanted anything other than their children’s happiness. However, it would only be later that I would learn that, at least in my own perception, the keyword in that phrase was not the word ‘happy’ but the word ‘only.’
Thus was seeded inside myself the key question that I then followed throughout my life. This was to quest for the answer to the question, “How to only be happy?” Or in the words that end so many fairy tales to discover what it means when it is said, “And they lived happily ever after.” Thus I followed a quest that would be both a curse and an ultimate blessing.