What did I miss? I keep seeing these happiness books pop up. How to find happiness. 10 easy steps to happiness. Changing sad to glad. Money can’t buy you happiness (it can sure make life easier). How to find happiness later in life. Jobs that make you happier. You understand. It is as if the pursuit of life is happiness. I remember many years ago when a poor farmer standing in the rice paddies was asked this question. Are you happy? She answered happiness is something that happens between the time you are born and the time you die. She was puzzled by such a crazy question.
I do believe we can make ourselves miserable by pursuing happiness. My belief is that it isn’t a goal. It is something that happens to you during your lifetime. Just as we have sad times during periods in our lives, we also have happy periods. We don’t pursue sadness nor happiness. We might want to think of pursuing peace of mind instead of happiness. In my thinking, those of us who have peace of mind really have the brass ring, the “somewhere over the rainbow” moment and the ability to adjust themselves to both happiness, sadness and just boredom.
Certainly money doesn’t make you happier. I have many wealthy clients who aren’t happy. Everybody has some problem. Everybody suffers. I try not to add to someone else’s suffering. I also have some lower income friends who do quite well with the peace of mind journey. They manage themselves very well. They don’t seem to overextend in their appetites. They have accepted life comes with sudden and challenging experiences and they adjust.
I think being able to adjust well is the core of being happy. Since we can’t control anything here, we might as well do the best we can and adjust to the circumstances. Some of them keep us locked up in really harsh conditions until we can adjust and move forward. We get an awful medical diagnosis and we are in disbelief. Suddenly the world spins away from us. Where is the happiness? A person very close to me has been given the diagnosis of leukemia. What started out as non-stop nose bleeds and strange bruises, developed into severe fatigue and shortness of breath. Within a year we are talking about bone marrow transplant but only if we can get the kidneys in good condition. We now have stage 3 kidney disease. This is a vibrant, active mother who is loaded with responsibities. Now we are talking about wheelchairs and transfusions. It is enough to make your head spin and not to let your fear run away with your thinking.
Thank goodness I never chased after happiness. I would be so depressed about it. I can’t say I am sad. I am in that state of adjustment and craziness. I am looking forward to this great spring weather before the blistering heat comes back. The birds sing in the morning to make the leaves grow. The morning doves wake me up just before dawn with their mournful song. It is really beautiful. The other day, Richard, who still lives in the assisted living facility with his compromised body, met my dead brother in one of his dreams. Richard had never met him but described him exactly as he was. He remembered the dream verbatim and I was thrilled to have the news. It gave me great joy to know Jack was thinking of me and gave Richard a message. That is just a happy moment. You learn alot going in and out of an assisted living facility. It’s a small number of patients, only 6, but you get to watch the comings and goings of life. You get a real sense of perspective. You get to “try yourself on” to others and see how much you have to adjust to these circumstances. In 8 months 5 people left this life. All had to make huge adjustments to their circumstances.
I am learning that the more humble we can be, the more innocent we can become, the more forgiveness we can give others, the easier life is. We don’t really need all this stuff we buy and crave. People are scared, angry and tired. We don’t want to add to their suffering or to our own. Get simple, uncomplicated and stay with nature as much as possible. Be like the woman in the rice paddy. Have happiness as something that happens between the time we are born and the time we die. It isn’t a goal. Peace of mind and a nice hot bath. That’s a form of happiness.