Some Thoughts on Happiness

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of books about happiness.  Some talk about the search for happiness, and some say we already have happiness within ourselves.  One says that we can reach happiness by not complaining (I like that one), and another says that learning to let go of things is the way. And one, my favourite of all, says that we are all divine and that we only need to recognize that to find happiness.

On the surface, all of these books seem to be saying something different.  Do I need to stop complaining to be happy, or do I need to give up want, or do I need to realize I am a goddess?  Well, yes.  The way I see it is if we recognize the divine in ourself, really honestly recognize it, than the other things come naturally.

Think about this: do the gods complain?  No, they go out and change what is bothering them.  Do the gods want? No, because everything and nothing belongs to them.

Okay, we obviously don’t live our lives that way, even the most centered and divinely aware of us.  So, what does that mean for happiness?  For me it means finding a balance, being the change I want to see (as Ghandi says), and knowing at a deep level that the Buddhist teachings are true, like suffering is caused by cravings.  (That has been a big theme in my life lately.)

I’m not sure I am completely in a place in my life to enact the changes I want to make.  Having a toddler in my life makes some things very difficult.  I start the day intending to practice equanimity, but then he accidentally bats on the knee with a chopstick and I begin to lose my temper.  (Hey, it really does hurt a lot.  Baby Man is a strong boy.)  But that doesn’t mean I give up.  I try to reset myself, which is easier some days than others, and move on.  It is important to me to model a way of life that I would like to see my son lead.

Like everyone, I want to find happiness.  I want to find a balance between want, need, and detachment. I want to know at the deepest level that I am special, and that everyone around me is too.  Day to day life gets in the way a lot, but that means I also need to remember that it is in day to day life that I most need to practise these things.