Happiness Is Now. Reject the "I'll be happy when..." Myth


A LIE I often hear is some variation of: "Happiness is outside of me" or "I'll be happy when...." Here are some insights from Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism on experiencing happiness now.

I once heard the story of a Hindu swami, His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, who said, "Many people come to me and say, 'I want peace.' I tell them they need to correct their sentence: First, remove the 'I' (which is the ego). I then tell them to remove 'want' (which is desire). When ego and desire are removed all that remains is peace."

The full breakdown of this concept is here, in chapter 2 of his book, Peace For Ourselves, Our Families, Our Communities & Our World, which is available for free here: http://www.parmarth.org/publication/Peace.pdf

From another angle, Christ said "The kingdom of God ( = true joy/love/peace/happiness) is within you" and admonished people to "cleanse the inner vessel." Cleansing the inner vessel implies this subtext:

  1. You need to enter the darkness within yourself (vessels are dark inside),
  2. Remove error, lies, falsehood, etc., aka the dirt and grime,
  3. Why? Because the vessel (YOU!) are valuable and worthy. It's only the gunk inside it that needs to be cleaned out. The vessel (YOU) itself is great.
  4. When the vessel is clean it can be filled with wonderful things and enjoyed as the vessel was intended to be enjoyed.

Doing these things better allow us to live in the now moment. Jesus said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," Matthew 6:25-34. "Evil" in this context means "stuff/troubles" or there's enough to deal with in this one day, don't add to it by worrying about tomorrow, so attend and be present now. Future worries rob our now of any happiness we may experience in this present moment.

Update: I didn't include Taoism in my original post. This statement from Jesus, and the full verses associated with it (Matthew 6:25-34) though, is one of THE most brilliantly Taoist things ever said. Lao Tzu discussed getting out of the way of The Way, of inactive action). 

From the Buddhist perspective the Dalai Lama stated, "I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles."

Bottom line lasting and true happiness exudes from within, which often requires discipline and practice to remove the LIES that it comes from elsewhere and tell us that we are powerless to generate it ourselves.

What say ye?

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