Really the question should be: What gets in the way of Happiness? Happiness is innate, it is the subjective experience of the flow of life itself. If we are alive, simply being, we should be happy. It’s our natural state. You’ll notice it shows up naturally when we open, like in awe or in love.
But it does move in the depths of our being. So the sheaths (koshas) or veils between our “bliss body” and the other layers of our experience need to be fairly clear.
From the kosha perspective, the first body is Annamaya or the food body. What we put in our mouth, its volume and its suitability are the difference between a plugged up system and a clear one. The body has great intelligence on what it needs if we don’t confuse it or overload it. We may need to learn to listen though.
The second body is the Pranamaya, the vital body, also known as the astral or emotional. This is another body that is often plugged up, but with unresolved traumas that cloud our feelings. Same rules as above. The tendency to excess (food, drink, activity, etc) is one way people try to mask how they feel. Avoidance is another but these don’t exactly support happiness.
Manonmaya comes next, the lower mind. This is the home of thoughts and identification. Out of touch with our source, we become ego-identified and build a false self-construct. We believe ourselves to be in control to feel safe. This creates a false barrier to who we are and what is here. Of course, Self Realization is the resolver of this trap.
You may have noticed by now that the bodies have a relationship with the chakras, the above being first to third. This isn’t one to one but there is close ties.
Vijnanamaya is the next. This is the intuitive mind and discrimination. While we do have to awaken this value within and remove some crusts, it is not typically as polluted or stuck as the lower energies.
And thus we come to Anandamaya, the bliss body. The prior sheaths don’t have to be perfectly clear. Just unfogged enough for the bliss to shine through. And then we’ll find happiness is indeed our birthright. It is only for us to prepare the way.
Readers of this blog know that the best way to clear the decks is transcendence (samadhi). When we practice an effortless meditation, we regularly touch down into source. That gives the body deep rest, allows feelings to release, and breaks the boundaries of the mind. Of course, we’ll still have healing to do through conscious attention. But meditation will lighten the load considerably.