As is said, it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s the fun (and important.)  Which is good – since each of us is on a journey, like it or not.  Many people do not like their journey.  Mischief ensues when they get the formula, the equation, for happiness, backwards.

It’s always useful to define the subject before discussion.  So, what is happiness?

Feeling, showing, or expression JOY.  We recognize JOY as the highest positive emotion in the emotional scale humans experience.  So, we can speak of happiness as a synonym for Joy.

Is Happiness the emotion felt when a person sees someone else experiencing misery?  Of course not.  However, there are some people who are so unhappy, so miserable, that their definition of “happiness” is but another degree of misery.

There’s the old joke:  A Russian, an Englishman and a Frenchman were walking along a county road one day when they spied a lamp in the ditch.  The Frenchman retrieved it and cleaned it up.  Poof! The Genie appeared.  Grateful for her liberation she offered all one wish.  The Frenchman said “Genie, I wish to be a famous movie star with beautiful women all around me.”  POOF!  He was a famous movie star.

The Englishman thought:  “Genie – I wish to be a Lord over a grand estate with enormous revenues and a loving family.”  POOF!  He was now a wealthy Peer.

The Russian thought deeply about his situation.  “Genie – my neighbor has a new car and I do not.  Wreck my neighbors car!”  POOF!  His neighbor’s car was destroyed.

Which of the three experienced Happiness?

The Russian may have experienced a curious relief that his neighbor was now as miserable as he was, but is that happiness?  Is that Joy?

That is getting the formula, the equation, for happiness backwards.

Emmet Fox summed it up:  People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.

In the joke the Frenchman changed himself  in order to have more joy; the same with the Englishman.  The Russian wanted change in his neighbor’s status – an outer condition – to share the misery.  Somehow, he imagined, his neighbor’s increased misery would lessen his own.

It is the essence of materialism that the environment – which means outer conditions. people around you, the “time” you live in, and such – is the primary influence, or cause, of your happiness or misery.  Therefore, it is the environment (other people, situations, circumstances) that must change before you are able to experience relief and get on the journey to happiness.  Much of history is the account of this effort.  Too many lives, sadly, are stories of the effort.

Materialism, as a formula, is flawed as a personal approach for joyful living.  It simply does not work; it does not produce the desire result.  Never has.  Never will.  Why?  The materialism formula is based on controlling other people, events, situations, and circumstances.  That’s way too many moving parts to succeed. And, it’s impossible.

Why, you could go insane trying to corral all those people and situations into something you could live with.  Come to think of it, isn’t that a definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result?  Why is this?  Because you cannot think for another person!  You might bully, bribe or cajole them into temporarily acting in a way you want, but you have to keep at it.  The instant you let up, they act like, well, they act like themselves.

No one can think your thoughts.  You can, however, surrender your judgment to another’s thinking (the bully, bribe, cajole)  – which may or may not end well for you.  Your thoughts, your thinking, ARE you.  The only force, authority, power, energy (use your favorite descriptor) that can re-direct your thinking is you.  Period.  End of formula.  At the end of the day, your manner of thinking (a.k.a. your beliefs) determines how you experience your life on this marvelous planet.

There is remarkable resistance in many people to grasp that they hold the key to their personal comfort and delight.  Much of this resistance is learned behavior, pounded in from day one (if not before).  Indeed, for the infant, his/her survival and well-being is dependent on what others (mother especially) do.  Childhood is a learning experience of family and social structures and “norms” that define approved behavior and behavior that is not approved (often labeled selfish.)  Throw in contemporary technology and exposure to a theme of “you’re not important” and approval by others becomes a measure of success.

At some point many folks mentally step-back and assess their situation.  Many times it is a variant of 1) Spending money I don’t have, to 2) buy things I don’t want, to 3) Impress people I don’t like.

The aha moment for some is when they realize that they’ve been working very hard for other people, and very little for themselves.  Fully institutionalized it’s called slavery, and it’s still practiced these days.  Once a sense of freedom is grasped – freedom to think for oneself and hence to determine what is best for oneself – then begins the pursuit of happiness.  There is a sequence:  Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness.  It’s a powerful formula that works and has been proven over and over.  And fought, over and over.

Entrenched materialism is opposed to individual freedom, since control is the soul of materialism.  Individuals, freely thinking, are difficult to control.  The history of Mankind is the record of this struggle of thinking.

This is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad.  Such definitions are relative.  They are the same thing, measured by degrees.  Consider prohibiting by law a person’s possession of a 32 ounce soft drink.  Is this good?  Bad?  Right?  Wrong?  For the person desiring a big, cold drink, it’s clearly a bad law and definitely wrong in that it prohibits freedom of choice.  From a materialists perspective limiting the “right” of a person to indulge in what is decreed an illegal act is both good and right.  What kind of environment is likely to result in a greater sense of happiness?

The Law of Attraction is universal.  That which is like unto itself is attracted.  This applies to things great and small, upon every degree of energy from dispersed to condensed, and very much to thoughts and their creative process – thinking.

You know this.  There are places where you simply have no interest in going – or when near you get an intuition or hunch, that you shouldn’t be there.  And visa versa.  That doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going there – they are comfortable in such circumstances.  Comfort doesn’t mean happy, just familiar and of similar frequency.

Some people are very comfortable in their misery and are very resistant to alternatives.  They aren’t happy, but they are unable or unwilling to begin changing their thinking in order to introduce in their experience an improved feeling.  The resistance is the manifestation of a belief that their wellbeing is dependent on circumstances, environment, other people’s behaviors, etc. – materialism.  As long as that belief is active, then their experience IS dependent on external forces.  Like attracts like.  Unfettered.  Belief in powerlessness results in lack of power – that’s the way it works!  “I don’t believe in the law of attraction,” one may state.  And the Law of Attraction will provide more evidence to that person that there is no law of attraction!

This is why changing thinking can be difficult.  It’s a simple truth and process, but inertia, habit, and continual reinforcement of materialism weighs heavy.  It can be subtle, however.

Years ago I met up with a high school pal living in another state.  He was quite cheerful, as usual, and enjoying his life, wife, dog, and job (yes, in that order.)  I inquired how he managed to remain so cheerful and he replied “I don’t watch the news, and don’t get involved in other people’s problems.”  At the time I considered that to be selfish.  (See, subtle!)  Why was he avoiding his civic responsibility to keep up with the news and doing his part of make life better for others?  He explained, in effect, that news (by this he meant newspapers and television – it was some time ago) was by design negative and depressing.  Watching/reading about what’s wrong in the world, society, etc., made him feel bad.  How could he be of any service to another (he was a social worker) if he felt miserable?

He had a point.  It took a couple of years for his position to sink in – if I’m unhappy, how can I be of any assistance to another?  I intellectually grasped the Law of Attraction but had yet to have it viscerally understood.  The more I considered my friend’s decision, the more I understood its benefit.  And the more sensitive I became to “news,” complaining, blaming and whining.  Those frequencies on the scale of human feeling were a bit more distant and thus more discordant.  The result was that unhappy people tended to recede in my experience and what I’d describe as more comfortable people showed up (or I engaged in activities that brought me near them.)  That’s when Emmet Fox’s statement proved to be a formula, an equation.

Finding your point of attraction, the usual manner of thinking, is a good exercise.  But, regardless, simply changing the focus of a thought will produce relief.

So, let us look closer at this universal constant – the Law of Attraction.

It is best described as the universal manager.  It is the operation of all that is that allows, well, all that IS.  It is not a matter of belief – it IS.  Of course, as mentioned a moment ago, if you do not believe there is a Law of Attraction it will see to it that similar thoughts/experiences come to you that support your belief that there is no Law of Attraction.

We are energy Beings.  At present conscious in a human form.  Energy vibrates and the frequency of the vibration is what attracts.  A fair analogy is broadcast television and radio.  The music or program is issued at a certain frequency of vibration.  That frequency will not interfere with other energies.  There are hundreds of radio signals, television, cell phone, and all manner of radiation zipping through here at this moment.  They don’t bother us nor we them because of the difference in frequency.  But, with technology (machines) we can tune a radio to the specific frequency of the program we want, and, voila!  We can hear it.  In a sense we have “tuned in” to its frequency and thus its energy and offerings.

Consider then our daily experience as a radio.  We are tuned into a certain energy frequency with the beliefs that we hold.  A belief is a thought, an idea, held in mind over and over until it is automatic and becomes a default state of mind.  This is often called our “disposition.”It is our state of mind that seeks, and is sought, by similar thought energy.  This is the origin of “birds of a feather flock together.”  So, in this cosmic sense, we influence what we experience by our primary thinking.

“Well, George,” I hear, “I’m not pleased with my situation so what about that?  I wouldn’t wish to be unhappy!”

Of course not.  Don’t forget our Russian friend who could only interpret his “happiness” in terms of misery for his neighbor.  His thinking, thus his dominant vibration, was misery.  And that’s what he continued to experience.

Dis-satisfaction indicates that you are ready to move your thinking up a notch (octave) in frequency.  This is totally normal and natural.  In Creation nothing is static, everything is in constant motion and motion is movement towards a higher frequency.  So, to be aware that your situation isn’t all that you’d like is a good thing!  It means that you are also AWARE that your Being is ready to increase your Life experience by raising your thinking, or consciousness as often called.

When you raise your thinking you access a greater vista.  If your current experience is bumping around a mess of trees (in a forest you can’t see) then by literally raising your consciousness you become aware of the forest and – most exciting – the horizon.  Your interests will quickly move beyond a bunch of trees and into a broader, more exciting, landscape.

Unhappiness is the result of having that discomfort with a circumstance but not knowing what to do about it.  Doing the same old things – and thinking in the same old manner – will only recreate the same-old-same-old – that’s the Law!  An improvement – the pursuit of Happiness – is all about changing thinking.  Attracting a higher frequency of experience.