My cousin has been really ill. She is a cancer survivor from childhood and is a fragile woman. Weighing less than 85 lbs. at 4’10-1/2 she carries a delicate body with a tenacious spirit. A friend took her to see her acupuncturist in hope of finding relief. The Chinese woman took one look at her, after having been in the hospital, and told her that the issue with her health was that she needed to find happiness. “You no happy! What make you happy? Find happy and you feel better. You need to find this now.” My cousin has a witty sarcastic attitude that is always “on” answered, “Could you please give me the directions?”
We confuse happy moments with a life long need for contentment. I have happy moments on a daily basis but I am still very human and visit the dark side of a peace of mind. So, when my sweet cousin tells me this story I joke and tell her I will send her a map with driving directions to Happiness (the town hidden in a place deep inside whose Mayor is not Ego).
In The Art of Happiness the Dalai Lama writes: “When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.” But when we are in the midst of sadness how do we get our GPS to take us to that place of joy?
Happiness as a momentary state of emotion brought on by someone or something and then it seems to disappear. Happiness, in my experience (and this is only my opinion) holds a lot of weight brought on by outer circumstances. I choose and select to stay in contentment as much as possible. This is a state of peace, serenity and understanding that even when things (or someone) doesn’t fall with my agenda I can still find satisfaction. All sorts of events are transformed because of this realm. Living simply in the moment and acknowledging that no other force other than that of the Universe can create or break this realm has become my equilibrium. Most days I am balanced because of this. Some days I tend to fail miserably but that’s okay because this is part of the journey. Even though happiness and contentment are synonyms in the English language, I can separate their meanings in my existence.
I remind myself constantly that to get to this point I must detach completely from the chaos of the world. I cannot control any of the issues in the outer world. I am responsible for my own piece of heaven. Watching children play in the pond, sitting with a friend on the porch, feeding a dog in the street, smiling at a child, hiking through nature, reading a great book, are just a few things that bring me into the realm of contentment. Catching a firefly, admiring a sunrise or sunset, and listening to the crickets in the evening bring about a defined joy that is incomparable to anything else going on in the rest of the earth. I say my prayers, contemplate with my wishes for mankind, and sit comfortably in the “knowing” that we are all responsible for our own realms of existence.
Happiness and contentment are contagious, generous, and captivating. This state of grace reels you in on an invisible string from the heavens and allows gratification to be the bait that gets you every second. What one does with it is miraculous. I can see it in the darkest of moments, a bad day, or stress being erased by its humility. That is what forces me to reside in that place. It’s joy that comes through and through while being on an infinite quest for peace. It is my state of being whole-listic and constantly growing in our times with Divine guidance. And, even when there are trying times, obstacles, and confusion, I go into silence and reach for “contentment.”
So if you happen to be searching for Happiness and don’t know the address look within. Sit with yourself long enough to find what makes you giddy, what makes you feel loved, and what turns you into the best possible you there is. I bet you know the address by heart. You have the power all along!
“Happiness is like a cat, if you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you; it will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap.” -William Bennett