My favourite picture for what seems to be the problem with peoples relationship to their own happiness, about the problem the mind can cause, figuratively spoken, is on of a huge lake. In front of that lake stands a person, thirsty. Instead of turning to the lake to drink from it, it turns to a faucet at the end of a long pipe coming out of the lake. But it does not dring from that ether, there are signs in infinite number around that faucet stating when that person can drink or better when it can´t. Signs like: „Not before you have done your homework“, „only when achieved a stable income“ or „only with a healthy body“. The person does not dare to drink because it did not fulfil what is demanded by the signs. What would you tell that person? Would you expect them to fulfil these requirements first? Would you expect them to die of thirst if they can´t make it? Should they ignore all signs? Why are they then there in the first place?
The lake symbolises peoples happiness, their good-feeling state. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling. We mostly try to gain positive feelings through outside conditions like making or spending money, having relationships or even meditation and other spiritual practices. But the thing is feelings are inside us. They are not dependent on anything on the outside. They don´t get injected into you through a syringe along with buying something or being with somebody that you love. They can be developed or called to live on the inside and from the inside at any given moment. Have you never experienced a dream, a daydream or at night that make you feel happy? How is that possible if your happiness depends on reality, on manifested factors? It is the mind that limits us to the faucet and puts up all these signs and that is not wrong, it simply is the job of the mind.
All these signs are a necessary part of social systems, a necessary part of being a cultural and social being and it is not wise to just aggressively and nonreflective through them all overboard and become ignorant to other peoples needs and to rules that are necessary to structure social life. But it is equally unwise, especially in suffering, to believe that happiness can´t be achieved and found aside from all regulations of the mind. To believe that the suggestions societies make on what happiness should be connected to have to be right and that these connections are inevitable. Happiness can be found even in the darkest places. There are many examples of people that found it in all kind of suffering. Monks meditating their way into happiness in jail, sickness or even while dying. People that have recovered from sickness and trauma stating that they are not scared of anything anymore because after being through that and knowing that they have found happiness even when they were in pain, even in sorrow what could scare them now?
Like always it seems to be disbalance and ongoing extremes that lead to suffering and ought to be avoided. Being antisocial and ignorant about sensible social rules is wrong and so is failing to take care of oneself before one dies of thirst. It is about finding the right amount and time for either of them. Being centred and calm in ourselves, our body and mind is a good place to start that journey from
Whatever your mind is telling you why you can´t drink from the lake or the faucet, whatever you think is blocking your happiness take a closer look at it. Are there people that have found peace or even happiness even though they were in trouble like you are? Are there small things that you can say are, not countervailing to the bad stuff but still, bringing happiness? And most of all: learn to quiet your mind. Not shutting it off because it is a burden or annoying but deciding that it deserves a break for once and allowing it to become quiet or better calm. If you want to turn it off you will only get frustrated and maybe even angry. Try to become its friend instead. If it wants to tell you something listen to it but don´t get wrapped up in it. You can try to let your thoughts become a radio or TV running in the background, it is there but you don´t really follow what is said. Focusing on other calm things can help with that that´s why many people like to focus on their breath at that point. If you are having problems allowing these things to yourself because they don´t seem effective enough remember that your body has been your friend for quite a while now and in all that time when did your brain ever really get a break or a holiday, not to speak of your lunges that work even when your are sleeping. Be glad that they don´t form a union that would give you a problem. Your body deserves a bit of attention and your mind a bit of rest, that should be reason enough. If it is your body causing your problems for example through pain, don´t forget what pain is, physically or emotionally. It is the alarm system of your body trying to warn you, giving it attention might not be the most comfortable thing to but it´s probably still a good idea. Either way, be aware of your expectations. Do you need to feel pure bliss after a minute of meditation even though you were devastated when you started? Does the pain have to reduce itself from a 10 to a 0 in just one meditation? Or do you give yourself and your body, mind and energy time to develop and evolve step by step and in time?
There are many other methods like breathing technics, visualisation etc. and more things to be sad about mediation and mental training. These are just the things that often come up for me and my clients. I would suggest you try different technics that are available for you and see what works for you. After that, you can work on establishing a practice, a routine and if you want to also find some kind of teacher or community in your surrounding area or online to support you.
Just remember: Essentially it is not the mediation that makes you happy, it is happiness that makes you happy. There is nothing you need to have or do or be for that, you already have it, you already are it.