I think about ‘happiness’ quite a bit. I know deep down I’ve found it, but I remember not having it before, so what changed? What is it about now that allows me to feel happy, and what was it about then that kept it out of reach? Simply stated, it’s me. I’ve changed, and as a result many aspects of my life which were perpetuating misery are gone. But I had to claim my happiness first, it was a choice. We have to commit to being happy, and that implies work.
My musing thoughts on the topic always lead me to that famous line from history. To paraphrase, “all men are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable Right to the pursuit of Happiness.” Did you catch that? It says we have the right to pursue happiness. It’s not something the tooth fairy leaves under our pillow while we sleep.
I used to get caught up in the fact that I wasn’t happy, a state that led me to blame people, things, and events that were outside of myself. It’s so easy to justify our unhappiness, but when has that ever solved the problem? Never. I had to make changes to find inner peace before I could discover happiness. Peace was my gateway. Learn to cultivate peace and happiness will be close behind.
This is the best way I’ve found to do it: At any time I recognize that I am feeling a sense of calm, a lightness of heart, an easiness within myself… it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I immediately pause and savor it. I meditate on the feeling I’m having. I let it flow through me and I try to grow, cultivate, the sensation. The more familiar we become with peace, the more it becomes a part of us.
The next time you find yourself feeling peaceful or happy, don’t blow it off, cherish it. Make it count. Hold on to every last moment and feel gratitude for it. This one small act can change you.