Here’s the Foolproof Key to Achieve Happiness Now
“We incur suffering, but we create unhappiness.”
Matthieu Ricard is often called the world’s happiest person. Why? Because they hooked him up to sensors monitoring brain activity and the happiness centers in his brain lit up like a fireworks display.
Does that prove he’s the world’s happiest person? No. It tells you the media love a good headline.
But it also tells ya the guy’s really happy and, indeed, he’s the happiest person the researchers have ever tested.
Why is knowing this significant? Because if “the world’s happiest man” tells you something about happiness, he’s probably on to something, and it’s probably well worth listening to.
So, what gives with the quotation?
It comes down to this. You have a choice.
The choice is NOT whether or not life will throw you curveballs … and sometimes beanballs. It will.
It’s NOT whether you will suffer heartbreaking losses and disappointments. You will.
It’s NOT whether you will default to wishing and waiting for circumstances to line up in order to be happy … only to find yourself waiting endlessly. You will … to one degree or another.
Because “suffering” … to use the Buddhist languaging … is inevitable.
But unhappiness is not.
So, what’s the key to happiness then?
Choosing to live in the moment.
That’s really not news to you, is it? You’ve heard it from every sage throughout the millennia. So, there has to be something to it.
But how does it work, and why is it true?
It works because it clears the mind of all things past and future and allows you to appreciate what’s going on right in front of your face and in your heart of hearts.
It allows you to appreciate the wonder and the beauty of things we completely take for granted when we’re rushing around knocking tasks off our to-do list or worrying about the future.
As Thich Nhat Hahn says in his commentaries …
“We’re not sure if we’ll be alive tomorrow. That’s all part of impermanence. This feeling of insecurity makes us suffer. How can we face the feeling? What is our practice? I think living deeply in the present moment is what we have to learn and practice to face the feeling of insecurity. We have to handle the present moment well, so that, in the future, we will have no regrets.”
But that deep focus on the present moment doesn’t come naturally. Our minds are tugged in a hundred different directions all the time … away from that calm and settled presence in the here and now.
Getting to that place and staying in that state takes intention, practice, and discipline.
Am I speaking to you as some kind of master? Ha. Hardly. I share exactly the same issues as most people do with staying in the moment. And yet, I know the key to happiness lies there.
That said, it’s not enough to know what you should do. You have to do it consistently, even reflexively, if it’s gonna take you to … and keep you in … that happy place.
And THAT ain’t that easy.
But what if we literally took it moment by moment and immersed ourselves in as many moments as we can, while forgiving ourselves for not being perfectly in touch at all times?
Would our lives get that much happier? I think they would.
My husband, Tom, was dealing with some serious issues a couple of years ago when he was on his way to an appointment.
He was presented with “the choice” of where to focus his attention in the moment.
He wrote a poem about it:
I’m driving in my car
The news comes on
I turn off the radio … I see cherry blossoms
The gateway to happiness is literally right in front of our faces. Not behind us … not out in the future … but here and now.
The choice is made concrete by the poem. The news … or cherry blossoms?
It’s not hard to determine which will make you happy … and which won’t.
The key to happiness?
Focus on the cherry blossoms.
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