The Dalai Lama says, “The purpose of our existence is to seek happiness, the level of happiness is determined by one’s state of mind.” But what is true happiness? The Greek work for experiencing ultimate happiness is Eudaimonia. It describes our spirit, born of both truth and love.  The word is comprised of eu, meaning good or “well,” and daimon, which in Ancient Greece referred to a guardian spirit that is always within us, there to connect us to happiness. Aristotle used the word to describe happiness in terms of how we experience the joy in life, courtesy of that guardian spirit.

But we are often our own biggest obstacles to happiness. We look for ourselves where we are not, and mistakenly believe happiness is determined by particular events or circumstances. Many of us compare our own  happiness to others’ and feel like we’re lacking in comparison. Mistakenly, we feel powerless to increase the happiness we do experience. But we do have the power to achieve true happiness, no matter where we are at any time on the happiness scale. Here are four avenues to follow to increase our own happiness:

Protect the energy of happiness.

Start each day by being aware of the energy of your body and connecting to your higher state of consciousness. Keep eliminating the need for outside sources, and when happiness comes, it will come in its own wave. And never allow anyone to invalidate your happiness: the waves of happiness you feel each morning will have a profound impact on the circumstances you encounter throughout your days. They will enable you to feel more vivacious and bubblier, and prompt others to feel at ease in your presence. You will attract happiness from others as well — because your ability to cheer them up is contagious. Yes, happiness and its energy are indeed contagious.

Reach for happiness through engagement.

We need to participate fully in life — which means welcoming our human idiosyncrasies, welcoming fear as well as safety, welcoming sorrow as well as bliss, and even accept feelings of shame as well as pride. By using all of our emotions as advisors and signals, we will find ourselves on a wonderful adventure in which life is beautiful, marvelous and graceful. We are all gifted with precious gifts: an awesome mind, an incredible body and a warm, loving and cosmic heart. Our purpose is to be happy, and discover the beauty of life. Our heart’s desire is to for everyone else to be happy, and to enrich other people’s lives. Truly, we are here to have the most of good times. Happy people smile, and have everything that we need. We are joyful and grateful, and we shine from within. Our happiness is internal, and depends solely on ourselves.

Connect to the happiness of feeling worthy.

We need to feel worthy of the incredible gifts and opportunities life provides, and feel a sense of balance from truly knowing ourselves. This feeling of wholeness and acceptance connects us to the very fabric of life.  When we experience our own worthiness, even the smallest things can fill our days with delight. We feel a sense of wonder and awe as we look around and witness the beauty, kindness, and laughter around us. As we take in the details of our surroundings, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and we realize just how blessed we truly are.

Find the happiness in detachment.

Even in this moment, as you read this, begin to shift the way you respond to happiness. You can welcome your happiness like it’s a long-awaited friend. Know that you can own your state of happiness, and that nothing, and no one, can take it away from you. Feel free of the attachments of wealth and power: happiness is an inward state of satisfaction. Know that it is not dependent on riches, fame, accomplishments, perfection, social affirmations or validation. It just is.

When happiness begins to blossom in your heart, accept it, relish it, and ask it to stay. Connect and embrace your wholeness, and your connection to all that is. And remember: to feel true happiness is to feel joy and gratitude for whatever you have. You will always shine like gold, knowing how to love, and how to be safe not only with yourself, but others too.