During a coaching session, my coachee’s request fell like a sentence: I am looking to be happier.

What makes people happy is happiness. But what is happiness? Luck (the good luck charm) or the state of fully satisfied consciousness.

There are countless quotes on happiness:

“Happiness, wrote Roger Martin du Gard, is not a cup of coffee that you get, it is above all an aptitude“.

Arthur Schopenhauer defined happiness by its absence, writing that

the happiest part of our existence is the part where we feel it least.”

It would therefore be something we seek but would not be aware of when we have it.

This search for happiness would ultimately take us away from the heart of our life, from its very essence.

For the last thirty years, happiness has been associated with a certain material enjoyment: the individual house, the individual car… One of the classic images is the American house of Victorian architecture with the driveway adorned on each side with a well-mown green lawn in front of which is parked a large and comfortable car. The famous Victoria Lane from Desperate Housewives is an example.

Happiness is also about feeling good, about feeling comfortable in one’s body, in one’s mind, about having a balanced life. The development of the practice of well-being disciplines such as yoga and its derivatives is a witness to this.

But is the material, physical and mental self-fulfillment enough to be happy?

Certainly, satisfying one’s desires and personal satisfaction is a condition of happiness.

However, there are several forms of desires:

those which are dictated to us more or less consciously by our education, by society, by advertisements, by our mental representations;

those that emanate from our innermost being.

What are my true desires? Or rather what is my deepest desire? This seems to be the fundamental question to ask ourselves, which can also be formulated as follows:

Is my desire the result of a diktat or does it emanate from my deepest being?

Am I in coherence, aligned with my ultimate purpose, my own identity, my values and my beliefs as represented by Robert Dilts in his pyramid?

This is where the importance of being free, truly free, comes into play. Freedom, more than being able to satisfy those desires, is being able to identify those true desires that are aligned with our deepest and most fundamental self. To open this self to express itself freely without constraint.

To achieve this, we must act against our ego.

Happiness would therefore be to be able to make room for our deepest self, the one that allows us to enter into relationship with otherness, and more broadly with the Nous, that is to say the community that surrounds us.

Coming back to my coachee’s request to be happier, the question could be: how can I make more room for myself and thus curb my ego?

So I ask him to specify what it is to be happy for him. What does he need for that?

To be happy for him is to feel good, to experience joy, to be in a feeling of fullness and accomplishment of what he is made for.

So I ask him what he is made for?

He answers that he doesn’t know, that he has never really thought about it.

Of course, he is a teacher, but that doesn’t mean that he is “made” for it. Before being a teacher, he was something else and will certainly be something else afterwards. This question of “what is he made for?” seems to go beyond the simple professional vocation. What is the meaning of his life? Why is he on Earth? What trace will he leave?

Step by step, we moved from “being happy is feeling good” to this question of the deepest self: Who am I called to be, apart from the injunctions I may have received from my parents, my entourage, society, etc.?

He became aware that, in order to be happier, he had to answer this question, in complete freedom, without being attached to what is superficial and temporal, without letting himself be influenced.

I ask him how this awareness will be useful to him in the future?

He answers that he will take the time to identify the criteria that push him to make this or that choice, to be more attentive to his motivations in order to be able to verify if they are in coherence with what he is fundamentally.

To conclude, I ask him about the needs he would have to ensure that he puts this time of discernment in place and does not get caught up by external diktats.

He quickly identifies the need to have a clear warning signal as soon as he risks straying from his self.

As soon as he notices a rush to make up his mind, to want something at any cost, it’s a sign! It is then urgent to choose nothing; it is time to tame this first impulse, especially if it is ardent, and to consider all the options while being attentive to what they generate in oneself: a deep and lasting joy or a short-lived and quickly thirsty desire.

This is how, step by step, he will detach himself from that which distances him from what he was made for, from his first vocation, in short, and his life will take on more meaning.