Daodejing - Other Voices
HAPPINESSThis post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.
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 ~