Part of the reason for the inability to chart a "happiness course" or to actually list the items on your happiness wish list may also be due to the inadequacy of the Q&A model itself, meaning that we associate answers with finality. And we are held to our answers, like flies on flypaper. If we say, "I need more freedom in my life and less responsibilities and a more understanding partner," we have to logically wonder, "Is that just for now or will that always be true?" Answers are dicey things. How we answer today is not how we would answer this same question tomorrow—and there is a wisdom in us that knows this to be the case. Thus, we often prefer to pass on the question, to ponder it a bit longer, to hesitate awhile before we actually commit to an answer.
If you look through the lens of wisdom, you can discern an even more subtle reason that holds people back from giving "direct answers to direct questions": We know that truth changes our life. We hesitate to speak or seek truth too ambitiously precisely because of the power it yields—the power to change our life. Again, an inner wisdom tells us to proceed with caution when we are asked questions that may appear to be socially interesting but that could, in fact, pick at deep scabs beneath the surface. I suspect that many people fear answering life-changing questions—such as matters regarding happiness—too directly because they really do not want to be lifted all that far from the circumstances of their familiar world. Most people really do not want to be jettisoned away from the people both dear and irritating to them because, in spite of the highs and lows, these are "their" people. And our gut wisdom tells us that if we answer too loudly, if we say too much, we just might lose the familiar world we know. So we hold back and say very little. The most common pattern I have experienced is that we feel comfortable admitting that we are seeking happiness, but we hesitate to actually name what is missing—unless we have nothing to lose.
As with all matters in life, we have exceptions. I have met several people who have no fear in speaking up and saying exactly what they are looking for and what they believe will make them happy. Some are prepared to go the distance and initiate all life changes. Others often review their wish lists and compare them with their ambition and then hit a midrange compromise. Most people, however, "dwell in possibilities," as the great poet, Emily Dickinson so aptly put it. Part of the reason for the inability to chart a "happiness course" or to actually list the items on your happiness wish list may well lay in the reality of the Q&A model, meaning that it is.
So what does wisdom tell us about happiness? If we thought about seeking wisdom in the significant matter of life rather than answers, how would that change our approach?
1. Wisdom is the search for truth and insight. Do an evaluation and appraisal of all the ingredients in your life. Is it likely you will walk away from your present situation? If not, then the wise move is to walk back in and give it all you got. Life has cycles of good times and bad, ups and downs, highs and lows. It's the wise person who recognizes where she is in that cycle and whether it's the energy of the cycle that is exhausting or a more personal level of guidance.
2. If you come to the conclusion after your appraisal that these are not the right ingredients for you—then have the wisdom to acknowledge that truth and realize that truth will not change. You have to act on that truth if happiness is of any value to you much less your health.
3. And no matter what you decide, you can't go wrong following these wise policies in all matters, as they can only add to your happiness: Make no judgments; have no expectations; give up the need to know why things happen as they do; and release the words "blame" and "deserve" from your vocabulary forever.
Caroline Myss has been in the field of energy medicine and human consciousness for 20 years. Since 1982, she has worked as a medical intuitive, providing individuals with an evaluation of the health of their energetic anatomy system. She specializes in assisting people in understanding the emotional, psychological and physical reasons their bodies have developed an illness. Myss is a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Anatomy of the Spirit, Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, Sacred Contracts and Entering the Castle. Myss' latest book, Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason, was published by Hay House in October 2009. Visit her website at Myss.com.