Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

The Highest Spiritual Path

--by Michael Singer (Sep 08, 2008)

The highest spiritual path is life itself. If you know how to live daily life, it all becomes a liberating experience. But first you have to approach life properly, or it can be very confusing. To begin with, you have to realize that you really only have one choice in this life, and it's not about your career, whom you want to marry, or whether you want to seek God. People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It's really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.

Most people don't dare give themselves that choice because they think it's not under their control. Someone might say, “Well, of course I want to be happy, but my wife left me.” In other words, they want to be happy, but not if their wife leaves them. But that wasn't the question. The question was, very simply, “Do you want to be happy or not?” If you keep it that simple, you will see that it really is under your control. It's just that you have a deep-seated set of preferences that gets in the way. […]

It's not a question of whether your happiness is under your control. Of course it's under your control. It's just that you don't really mean it when you say you're willing to stay happy. You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn't happen, or as long as that does happen, then you're willing to be happy. That's why it seems like it is out of your control. Any condition you create will limit your happiness. You simply aren't going to be able to control things and keep them the way you want them.

You have to give an unconditional answer. If you decide that you're going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don't have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don't have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.

--Michael Singer from "The Untethered Soul"

Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

Previous Reflections:

On Sep 8, 2008 PRS wrote:
I am in total agreement with Mr.Michael Singer. Only I would like to add, when I say I am going to be happy I am postponing my happiness, which may never materialise. Therefore it should be "I am HAPPY". With this unconditional statement / thought one need not bother about any thing, it is "THE BLISS".

On Sep 9, 2008 Annie wrote:
How does the pursuit of happiness as a goal deal with the sometimes ineveitable (and necessary) feelings of guilt (when you know you have harmed someone), sadness (when you experience loss) etc. If the pursuit of happiness becomes the goal, isn't it possible that people will attempt to escape those feelings just because "This does not make me feel happy"? It seems a little shallow to me .. surely there's an alternative where happiness is sometimes the by-product, and sometimes not .. perhaps something like, "Am I still engaged with life and moving forward, or am I not?"

On Sep 9, 2008 Jayanthi wrote:
I think PRS is right.

On Sep 9, 2008 D N Sharma wrote:
If you are free from desires you are free and if you are free you are happy. In Shrimad Bhagwat Gita, Shri Krishna has explained unattached attachment.

On Sep 11, 2008 R v/d Westhuizen wrote:
True happiness is a gift from God. Seek God first and all His righteousness and the rest shall be added unto you. Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Your brain is a very powerful force. If you convince yourself that you should be happy, yes maybe you will be. But a life without God is meaningless. Focusing on yourself and your own happiness leads to destruction. If you chose to be happy without God you are opening a door to become selfish and arrogant.

On Sep 12, 2008 Tristan wrote:
Seems true that to be happy, just let go of your attachments and be creative and free. I've been trying it, and so far so good. But it isn't something that just gets solved with a single magic "decision".

But this is a primitive goal. What about others while you enjoy your supposedly easily-gained happiness?
Try instead to Love (for the sake of the other, not for your own formula) and the human goal of happiness will become "child's play".

On Sep 30, 2008 sivasandur wrote:
Happiness or depressed is a habit, It is the same energy that becomes unhappiness or happiness; you just have to change your habit, your outlook, your attitude, your inner climate then the energy starts flowing into a new channel

Instead of waiting or longing or searching for a reason to be happy,
create for yourself a way to be happy.
Something as simple as a smile can get you started,
and that's something you can do right now.


On Nov 22, 2008 astia wrote:
i dont agree that i only have one choice in life. i have many the moment i wake up. its true that i myself have control over my actions and feelings but there is no way in my whole life span that i can be happy everyday just because i choose to. caz things happen. and there is nothing wrong with being unhappy. we cry we get mad and its all part of life. we should feel happy because that brings peace into our lives but we have to think realistically and how we just simply wont always feel happy.

On Aug 22, 2016 Pavol wrote:

your opinion of a Highest Spiritual Level is described in a first sentence of your article.
I am very happy to read expressions like this and you are absolutely true.
Sundays visits to church, talking about the Highest Truth and be a member of  the Wise Spiritual Groups do not equal to a spiritual level of a person.
The Life itself - every second every day - it is an opportunity to prove if I am a Holy man or not.
There are the tests every day and every night for every person, there are always the temptations for dishonesty.
The decisions is on the person - will I take an advantage or will I stay as a rock and follow the TRUTH.
There is NO Big or Whit lie - there is only WHITE or BLACK - the TRUTH is only one!
My name is Pavol and I have decided to follow the Truth. I am trying to do the right decision in every second in my life and it puts me on some spiritual level. Maybe, sometimes my decisions are not equal to the Highest TRUTH but I don't care about it. The point is that I always do the best to follow the Highest TRUTH, in every second of my life.