Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes, usually dependent on random events.
You buy a blue top that suits you. You’re happy. You spill coffee on it. You’re unhappy. When you take it to the dry-cleaners you meet an interesting person while waiting to be served, so you’re happy. As you drive out of the parking lot you're rammed in the rear, so you’re unhappy. The insurance company agrees to pay, so you’re happy. The dry-cleaner shrinks the sleeves of your new blue top so you’re unhappy . . .
We seek out events that make us happy and do our best to avoid those that don’t. This endless game of hide-and-seek with happiness is exhausting.
Or we think happiness is somewhere else, up ahead in the future. So we set out on a quest to get to it, to claim it once and for all, to keep it close to us for evermore.
But what happens if we stop playing this game? What happens if we stop searching for the elusive pathway to happiness?
Happiness finds us.
There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.
If you want to be happy, be.
If you think that happiness is a bowl of chilled cherries and cream on a hot day, a burgeoning bank account or a car that’s so big it won’t fit in the garage, you won’t be happy very often.
If you want to be happy a lot, be happy a lot.
Be happy about small things as well as big things. In fact, be happy about everything!
Be happy about spilling the coffee. Be happy you’re rammed in the rear. Be happy the sleeves shrank.
Or be unhappy about those things. It’s your choice.
It doesn’t mean you go through life laughing hilariously every moment. It’s more like a quiet happiness that is derived from accepting what is, because what has happened can’t be changed. Being unhappy doesn’t change what just happened, it merely adds a layer of heaviness that moment could do without.
We’re not Superman. We can’t push back time. We can’t un-spill the coffee, un-ram the car, un-shrink the sleeves.
Living with mindfulness
Don’t wait for a great lump of happiness to hit you in the head.
Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra:
Precisely the least thing, the gentlest, lightest, the rustling of a lizard, a breath, a moment, a twinkling of the eye — little makes up the quality of the best happiness.
Find happiness in small, everyday things.
With love, Marlane
The more mindful you are, the happier you are! Take the FREE 7-Day Mindfulness Challenge!
Original version published on Medium.com/Illumination