Happiness. How do I get me some of that?
I feel like writing this morning. There are a lot of ideas swirling around in my head. Lots of intuitions and weirdness. It’s good but I have to get some of it out.
I am at risk of being completely cliche here and I don’t care.
What does it all mean?
Why do we do it?
What is the point of life?
I know that people have been asking those questions from the beginning of time. I’m still asking them. I feel like I’ve been asking them since I could talk. I’m curious. A part of me wishes I was a soul who really wasn’t that curious. I wish I could just go about my life with my ambitions and my friends and family and never wonder why. And never wonder about what really matters. But I do.
Here is what is marinating lately. I watched about 10 of those TED videos the other day. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you HAVE to check them out. They are a series of talks by very intelligent and inspirational people. All they are is a person with a microphone sharing an idea they had. It’s brilliant. Here are two of my favorite ones:
But it was this one that really got me thinking. Dan Gilbert wrote "Stumbling on Happiness"
This bald man proves through research that there is no difference in happiness level between someone who wins the lottery and someone who becomes a parapalegic. THINK ABOUT THAT.
Situation A) You win millions of dollars. You can do whatever you want. The world is your oyster
Situation B) You cannot move your entire body. You are limited to a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Your physical freedom is over
Neither A or B is more happy. Neither A or B is more miserable. WHY??????
I guess it’s because our outside circumstances do not determine our happiness. Think about this. If it’s true. It means that absolutely nothing - no experience or person or place or thing can really make you happy for any length of time. I’m not talking about spurts of euphoria or whatever chemical shoots through our brain and makes us high on life for a few minutes. I’m talking lasting contentedness. Nothing on this earth.
In a way, this experiment makes me happy. It means that life is simpler. It proves what our elders have been trying to tell us for years - enjoy the little things, spend time with your family, slow down. There is no pot of gold at the end this rainbow. There is only now. And the point of that experiment was to show that it is the human beings who do not depend on their material circumstances for their well being that find true happiness. It’s the ones who find peace within who are happy. Poor or rich. Young or old. Beautiful or deformed. It’s the ones who have DECIDED to be content with their life.
Contentment. When I think of that word, I see the Buddha.
Sitting there in his peaceful lotus, enjoying the presence of God, breathing in and out. The Buddha symbolizes perfect detachment from the material world. The Buddha overcame this plain of existence, he conquered craving, and material things. Same with Jesus, he conquered death. Same with Gandhi. Same with Yogananda. Our saints found a way to look past the physical plain - the obvious lack and tragedy of everyday life. They detached from THINGS and moved into a space where they connected with something so much deeper and more reliable. A stable connection with spirit.
Even talking about it makes me more at ease. There is something so satisfying about the spiritual presence in this world.
One of my favorite gospel tunes goes:
“There’s a sweeeet sweeeeet spirit in this place
And I’m going to take that spirit with me everyday”
Those are the riches! That is were the happy people live, in spirit! That is why people always talked about heaven like it was paved with gold. Man, when you are with God - when you are enlightened, when you are one with the universe - you are a millionaire. You have arrived.
I have had that kind of peace in my life on occasion. I have it more and more lately. It mostly comes when I am in a place of gratitude and acceptance. When I say thank you to the universe for everything in this moment, every feeling, sensation, experience, thing, thought, all of a sudden, I’m happier. When I am in acceptance throughout my day. I accept this moment, this desire, this hurt, this schedule, exactly as it is. Nothing is wrong with it. And when it goes wrong, I accept that too. Then I experience bliss. It’s rare, but I do experience it.
And also. Choosing to love others. I think that is something the saints figured out. We can hate our enemies and hate our loved ones, or we can choose to love them. And when we do that, we are choosing to be happy.
I may never win the lottery, I may never become a paraplegic, I may never get all that I desire, I may never get anything I desire, but I believe that I can be happy, content, loving and kind no matter what. Will I enjoy the ride or will I struggle and fight and kick my way through? Will I spend my waking hours fantasizing about the future, or enjoying the fresh air in the moment? Will I minimize my experiences while craving other ones, or will choose to find love and peace and acceptance in my daily life?
I’m no Buddha. I”m no saint. I’m not even a rolling stone. I’m human. But I think I am also spirit - like you like everything. And when I choose to experience the everything rather than the ‘ME’- it’s a lot better.
Ok, I needed to do that. I’m done now. hahaha.
I’m off to the airport to pick up my dear friend Lauren! We have a wonderful weekend planned with many girly activities. I’m excited to relax into the rhythm of an old and tested and beautiful friendship.
Have great weekends!!!!!!! Choose wisely. :)