Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daodejing, Verse 44

Daodejing - Other Voices
When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble. Give a whistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best. And...
Always look on the bright side of life.
- Monty Python (Always Look On The Bright Side of Life)

The pursuit of happiness. It's right there in the Declaration of Independence. One of our inalienable rights. The founding fathers were smart, but they were setting us up for failure on this one.

Because if we are constantly in pursuit of happiness, we will never find it. Happiness isn't a destination, it's the journey itself. If you're living with the mindset of "I'll be happy as soon as I get this" or "as soon as I finish this..." you'll never find it.

The key to happiness is simple. Just be happy. Admittedly, that's extremely hard to do. But only because we think it should be hard. And because of our expectation of what happiness is - which, frankly, is pretty unrealistic. It's just an emotion. It will come and go. Just like being sad. Or tired. Or gassy.

Happiness is not a process. It's not a reward. It's simply a state of mind. And, lucky for us, that's the one thing we have somewhat control over - regardless of our external circumstance.

You're not happy because of things you have (or don't have) or where you're at or who is in your life. You're just happy. Don't give it a reason.

Focus on being happy instead of finding happiness. Or as Nathaniel Hawthorne put it:

Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued,
Is always beyond our grasp,
But which, if you sit down quietly,
May alight upon you.

Your state of mind always defines your environment. So choose a happy state of mind. Close your eyes and put a smile on your mind. And when you find yourself in your happy place, enjoy it! Because when you're there, things just feel... happier!

Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you. (v. 44)
~ from Tao for Today, author unknown, original post date: 5/21/09 ~
This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.


  1. It is soothing and reaffirming to find a person who believes in the strength of the mind. Who understands that happiness is appreciating what you have, not when I get this I will be happy or when this happens then that is when I will be happy. I tend to be called righteous in my belief that many things can be fixed/healed by some strong self talk and a good dose of stopping to take a look at what you have. To appreciate heathy children...we do not spend our days in the hospital with a termanlly ill child, food on the table, we buy groceries and make dinner and i serve my family dinner every night, our family.....we do not sit alone isolated with no one to see or hear or touch.....Positive energy given outward, only brings positive energy coming inward. I could go on and on. I do not know how or when i began to think this way or as Tim would say in the Tao way, but I do know that it has held me thru many of tough days and keeps me grounded. So Rambling, keep ramnling to Tim he hears you, you say what i say byt he actually hears you. You are a good soul.

  2. Nicole,
    We tend not to hear those closest to us. My wife can tell me something one hundred times and I just shrug it off, but if my dad or a friend suggests it, then I take notice! It happens just the same when I'm giving the advice and my wife only hears it when somebody else says the same thing. ;-)

    :) back at ya!


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