Robert Holden, Be Happy
is a state that most
of us say we want to experience more of and yet most of
us do not have a definition of happiness, let alone know
how to actually achieve happiness consciously. Happiness
for many of us is little more than a fleeting emotion
which we sometimes confuse with mere
Holden in his book Be Happy, sets out the
essential components of his annual signature event, the
eight week Happiness Course. Robert Holden founded the
Happiness Project and was originally a psychologist, but
quickly realised that psychologists were there to fix
extreme conditions, rather than to study and encourage
development and growth of others in order to
help everybody achieve happiness.
So what is
Happiness is not the mere absence of
problems and unhappiness, but is a state which we can achieve
by being more ourselves. The path to being more happy is the path
to being more ourselves. Robert Holden talks a lot about our
Self as being oour true nature underneath the ego that is
constantly chattering in our ear. He talks about the fact that
most of us "suffer from psychology" and that we suffer from
having a personality - but the key point here is that our
personality is not us.
Having read this book on happiness there
is no danger that you will become a shallow, positive thinking,
constantly smiling simpleton - on the contrary you will
experience a deeper knowledge of yourself and a compassionate
self-acceptance. Through that you will become happier, although
you will still experience unhappy emotions from time to time!
You will however be a more deeply content and happy version of
yourself. You will learn to accept that happiness is your state
of being. Holden says that you literally ARE happy.
Robert Holden looks at all the difference
reasons that we might have that prevent us from being happy -
one of the easy ones to relate to is the "Happiness Contract" -
the place where we set out the ration of happiness that we
allow ourselves and the preconditions for us to experience it.
The point is that we are happy in our being, that happiness is
free and accessible to all. We just need to be willing to
receive it and acknowledge it. For example we may believe that
happiness can only be earned - the great work ethic belief.
This means that we have to do things in order to make us feel
happy. Unfortunately, as Robert points out, the work is never
done and so we never quite get round to experiencing that
Robert talks about being more present as being
a key to happiness, for happiness can only be experienced in
the now. He explores our desire for more of everything in order
to feel happy and looks at the patterns of behaviour and belief
that we have inherited from our families and help us to see
where some of the clauses in our happiness contract have come
from. This gives us the power to pick up the red pen and delete
contract terms that no longer make sense!
In the world of personal development,
there are many books that talk about having more and doing more
and achieving more, but the main purpose for most of that is to
feel a certain way and generally speaking, most people will talk about wanting to be happy.
Robert Holden cuts to the chase and in his book Be Happy sets
out the learning from his eight-week happiness course that has
been running for many years and gives us the tools to set us on
the road to being more