I firmly believe that we must be growing as a person to be fully happy. Growing can come in many shapes and sizes, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
People often say they feel “stuck.” That their life is somehow not how they thought it would be or not headed in the direction they’d like it to go. Their life feels stagnant, or they see the same pattern happening again and again.
That can become a bit depressing if you keep hitting the same wall and you don’t know what to do to get out of it, and a sort of downward spiral takes over.
Growing, on the other hand, means learning about yourself and learning new things about the world around you, overcoming challenges. This can happen actively, or somewhat passively - just by putting yourself in new circumstances or around new people.
You can be totally happy with who you are already, but I don't think it lasts unless you’re seeking and working on some area of growth (I'm not old, but I'm not young either, and most of that statement comes from observation). Of course, there’s nothing really wrong with any of us as we are, but growing is imperative.
Children grow physically, mentally and emotionally, pretty steadily (most of them at least, hopefully), and we can see it happening before our eyes. Everyday: a new word, a new concept, a new skill, new level of complexity. And we nurture it - healthy food, physical play, calmer ways of expressing emotion. When the child shows growth, they’re happy (the new ability to ride a bike!) and we’re happy (their ability to hold composure when things aren’t “perfectly”) You can see that when a person is growing, they’re happy and the people around them are happy.
Physically, we finish growing (upward, and hopefully outward), but there’s always room for emotional and intellectual growth.
Let’s say you’re feeling “stuck.” Something doesn’t feel right about your work or relationship (or lack thereof), or whatever. Seek growth.
Not that simple.
When we’re all “grown up,” getting going as an adult, earning money and building a career, living on our own, exploring and finding committed relationships, we easily come under the impression that there’s no need to grow anymore - actually, it may even be a point of pride: We made it! We’re grown adults who have life all tied up in a neat bow. (as some people learn, there is no neat bow, but that’s beside the point).
It’s easy to seek out opportunities for growth, though that’s not the end of story. The real path to growth - the fertile soil - is to discover why you’re not already growing in the first place.
And that’s where meditation comes in (this is a blog on meditation, not human potential and growth).
Sit down to meditate. Be still. Close your eyes. Breath slowly through your nose, concentrate your awareness on your breath. Return to your breath as your thoughts wander. Observe your thoughts. Come back to the breath.
Good job, you're meditating. Do it again soon.
With time and practice, by observing your thoughts, gaining calm, taking control of your reactions, and breathing through difficult emotions, you begin to see the root reasons of why you’re not growing.
Don’t get along with your boss, which makes going to work dreadful? Start meditating, and you may see that you conflict with her style because you’re reacting to her in a way that stems from how your mother reacted to how your kindergarten teacher treated you, or something else, like you never wanted to be in that job, but you went in that direction because your father smiled when you announced your course of study, and he rarely smiled. Or, again whatever, it’s for you to discover. Meditation, with dedicated practice, gives you clarity, and insight, and fertilizes that soil of growth.
Meditating, in my humble opinion, is the most efficient way of getting unstuck, beginning to grow again, and feel happy. It doesn’t “fix” life (there is no neat bow). It does help you see and feel the beauty of the present, become aware of the areas and reasons why you’re not growing, and help you catalyze growth and action toward the full person you want and can be. And that leads feeling fully happy with yourself.
Don't take my word on face value. Try it.