Looking for Happiness? Your Search is Over.
Happiness, the moment and the unseen.
You might recognize this as a drawing of a flower. It might not make you necessarily all that happy.. as it's well, pretty mediocre. However, the important thing about this drawing is that I was thinking about how many things we can find around us, dirctly and immediately in our experience in this moment, breathing in and out, and noticing something we like...anything.. just to get to the place where a happy thought is possible. (unless, or course, you are flooded with happy thoughts.. But, there are those who have somehow measured how many thoughts we actually have in a day.. and, they say most of them are not so happy). I'm not talking about petty little happy thoughts.. I'm talking about a life altering feeling/belief/knowing/peace/that/in/fact/we/are/going/to/be/ok/place. Better than that. ..we ARE ok. better than that. We are happy. Because in this moment.. we CHOOSE to be it...no matter what. Even if you think it is the very absolutely LAST thing you can be
at this moment.
So. What if you can't see ANYTHING you like around you. You hate it all. that happens. And you don't care about the sky or the trees or birds chirping or the smell of coffee or Styx "come sail away" blaring from somewhere.. or how the wind feels on your face. especially how the wind feels on your face. Nothing.
Well, then, it might help to look for the unseen.
Like the little seeds and the roots under the ground in the above drawing of a flower. Flowers are Great. no kidding. 5 roses in my kitchen have been known to save my life. More than once. But. there is something even more beautiful in knowing they are doing what they do no matter what. That somehow they KNOW what to do, is a whole other amazing thing. The life that is exploding everywhere around us at every single second of every single moment. Breathing in, 1,2,3 and out, 4,5,6,7... maybe we can hear it. like the instrumental in the middle of "come sail away"... it feels to me, sounds to me, like so much life.
The point is
the next time someone tells you about the elusive nature of happiness,
what all the studies have shown,
how hard it is to find it,
and that the odds are most your thoughts during the day are going to be unhappy,
there is always the unseen,
your heart is beating,
a completely unverifiable statement coming to me by a very very wise source
that I choose to believe
it makes me happy.
So, what is the guarantee that ANY of this is going to make you happy? Absolutely none.
What I think it does is let us know we always have a choice about what we think. Always. And if we think things, deliberately, that plant us in the moment, we are not in the past, causes suffering, or the future, also causes suffering. Even if we are suffering in this moment, then we can give ourselves a break... to find a moment of peace, even as impossible as that may seem. I know there have been times when I've had to say..."Right now. Happy thought. right this moment, Julie, Have one. get one." And I have fought with myself that I was asking the impossible. How dare I ask myself to do such a shallow thing at a time like this. But, once I knew, one time, that this moment was in fact a better place than the _____________fill in the blank of the past, or the _______________fill in the blank of the future...I started to trust it. the moment that is. Being there, here. now. As many times today as I possibly can. breathe and notice. or imagine. right now.
Seems to me at the very least, we can begin to beat the odds.
Which reminds me of something I saw last week at a new york intersection: east 14th and 2nd Avenue. A wildly busy intersection. I mean wildly busy. I'm waiting on the NW corner, looking up 2nd avenue. This guy in a wheelchair, maybe in his fifties (?), smoking, is coming down the outside lane (one way street, lane closest to the other side of second ave), wheeling his chair at breakneck speed. I mean as fast as his arms could POSSIBLY make that chair fly. He manages to race through a completely empty intersection, across 14th street, impossible, actually, and the moment he got across 14th street, he threw his fists in the air. and coasted for a while. The thrill of victory. It was amazing. I told my daughter about it a few minutes later... She said, "that's what I like about New York... someone is always trying to beat the odds."