All aboard the peace train!
More and more I watch so many people grasping for happiness. Facebook tends to illuminate this so profoundly with all the posts and pictures from people showing their desire for happiness. Heck, I have even heard many monastics say that it is all about being happy.
Well I may be the odd man out here, but I totally disagree with this type of thinking.
To begin with, just think about the idea of happiness and see what comes to mind. Is the thing that would make you happy today the same thing that would have made you happy yesterday, or even an hour ago? Is the thing that would make you happy the same thing that would make everyone else happy too?
You see, happiness is a moving target and never stays the same for any of us. And simply understanding that, you can see the frustration and dissatisfaction that will arise from this grasping and desire to be happy.
I think that many times we all miss out on happiness because we are searching for that elusive intangible. While wishing we had more money, we lose awareness of the loving Family that surrounds us. When we wish that we had a better job, we lose sight of the gratitude we should have that we are employed in the first place. So many people in this country are without jobs and are even homeless and hungry. What do you think those people envision when they think about happiness? Is it the same as your idea of happy?
This idea of happy is the cause of more discontent and delusion than probably any other concept. It causes most of us to lack a great deal of present awareness and gratitude. We disconnect, in a way, from reality and attach to stories that are purely illusion. The seeds of which are planted with thoughts about the future, not the present, and thinking how “if only…”.
I will refer again to a teaching be Venerable Madika, when she taught about “dropping the stories”. And in doing so, we come back to the present moment with much more gratitude and acceptance. There is a peace that arises once we accept this life and this moment for exactly what they are. No clinging to the past, or grasping for the future, but instead a serenity that all is right with the World because things are exactly as they should be.
Understand that there is nothing wrong with being happy. Happiness is not only a natural part of our lives, but a very healthy one as well. And we can all experience so much more happiness once we let go of the expectation of happiness. No need to label it, or have any desire for things to be different. There is no need to change your circumstances, only to allow a change in your mind. You can test this any time you like by simply smiling to yourself. Yes, make yourself put a huge smile on your face right now as you read this. (I’ll wait for you)
Do you feel better? Did you sense some happiness when you did that? Of course you did! The mind and body are intimately connected, and just as we can control our face to smile, we can develop our minds to view this life with joy.
I hope you smiled with me today, and that you are happy for that moment. No need to expect anymore than that, but remember throughout the day today that you can smile to yourself anytime that you like.
Welcome aboard the peace train!