Back in the “dark ages” (say, circa 1990), everything was just a little bit different. Calling a friend if you weren’t home meant digging for a quarter and locating a phone booth. If you got lost while driving, first, you had to admit it, then, you had to stop to check the gritty map on the gas station wall or hope for a kind attendant to help you find your way again. God forbid you had a curious mind, because if you wanted to recall any of life’s facts (say, when the Magna Carta was signed or how many James Bond movies there are), you had to—well, how did we do this? Go to the library, or call our dad? To get the weather forecast, you had to wait for the weatherperson’s regular morning broadcast or call your city’s weather hotline and listen to the recording. Your “space” referred to your personal comfort zone, and your friends’ “profiles” referred more to the size of their nose than how they chose to present themselves online.
Today, all of these things can be purchased, downloaded, experienced, and stored via one smart device easily stored in your pocket or handbag. Technology in all of its exciting new forms has fundamentally changed the way we experience the world. Before I get carried away (because I do love technology), here’s the question I’m posing: Would you be able to live a happy twenty-first-century life without technology? Keeping that in mind, here’s my second question. What’s your definition of happiness?
I hope your answer to the first question is no. (Really, I do.) And I hope your answer to the second question is some variation of this important theme: Happiness is born from within. The next time you are feeling too “plugged in,” turn everything off (literally, except your reading lamp) and spend some time exploring consciousness, energy, and your spiritual and emotional drive—all of the many components that contribute to your sense of happiness, internally. This month, you can pursue that inner richness with David Pond’s new release, The Pursuit of Happiness. Pond translates the human energy centers into the “seven levels of happiness,” creating an eloquent framework for experiencing all of the factors that lead to inner fulfillment. “You have to experience happiness within yourself,” he says, “and then it unfolds naturally, as a blossoming of your inward state.” Explore the seven levels of happiness and their corresponding emotions, as follows:
- The Physical Level. You feel secure and grounded on the Earth, and feel a reverence and sacredness for all life. You are passionate and honor your body’s instincts.
- The Pleasure Level. The sensory world of music, art, dancing, and romancing provide outlets for your celebrative nature. You are comfortable in both outward expression and the cultivation of your emotion.
- The Power Level. You define your boundaries without being insensitive and learn from mistakes as much as successes.
- The Heart Level. Your heart is involved in all choices you make in life, and you’ve learned that love is the most powerful force in the world.
- The Expression Level. You have put together your own unique worldview and act on it without needing to prove yourself to others. You can be counted on to offer originality and fresh insight.
- The Mental Level. You are able to rise above the noise of the everyday world to a place of inner refuge where your imagination leads you to a source of inspiration.
- The Spiritual Level. You have become a universal being by liberating yourself from attachments and anchoring yourself to the divine.
Pond reminds us that we have this abundance of inspiration to draw from, and fortunately—unlike your playlists or online status—it never goes out of style. Being able to access these levels of experience makes happiness a constant companion, and serves as a reminder that what we seek is already available.