One of the things we all long for more than anything else is to simply be happy. If this is something we all seek, why is it so hard to attain? How might we reach this seemingly unattainable goal? We buy new things, and try different things, we move from one place to another and we hop from one relationship to another; or from one job to another. Nothing is truly satisfying, as we are still unhappy. Why can we never find that perfect person, place or thing to make us happy?
In considering the answers to these questions, let us contemplate some very ancient wisdom, that may help us find the answers we are seeking today.
- “For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalms 92:4
- “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” “There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.” ~ Buddha
- “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17
- “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu
- “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure…..” ~ Lao Tzu
First and foremost, happiness is an inside job. You cannot acquire happiness from things that you buy, no matter how much you may briefly enjoy the things. Things never bring true happiness.
Neither relationships or your job can bring you true and lasting happiness either. You may love your partner, and enjoy your work; but neither one can bring true or lasting happiness.
There is no particular place where you can go and be happy either. We may enjoy some places more than others for sure, but as Thich Nhat Hanh says, ““The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Source ― Thich Nhat Hanh,
What then can bring you happiness? Very simply, you alone can bring you true and lasting happiness. When you genuinely love yourself, you will see how interconnected you are, and interdependent with all other living beings, you share this planet with. Seeing yourself as loved and valuable to your creator, the Divine source of all life, will also help you to see your own true worth, and gain the perspective needed to find happiness within you.
You are a beautiful and amazing creation! One of great value and precious beyond measure! So is everyone else around you. We are each a unique and precious being. Can you imagine what a beautiful world it would be, if we all treated each other with love and respect; as honored guests sharing this beautiful planet with each other?
Love is not about getting what we want from someone else. It is about giving from the gifts within our hearts, to others. Gifts of kindness, respect, compassion, caring, forgiveness and healing. Treating one another as we would like to be treated ourselves. Love gives, it never takes. If you follow the path of loving-kindness and compassion for yourself, and your fellow travelers here on this earth, you will find true happiness, peace and joy beyond any measure.
We cannot demand that others treat us how we want to be treated. That never works. It only increases our suffering, and the suffering of all those we interact with. We can however choose to treat others with kindness in all circumstances; and thus bring healing where there was only pain and strife before. Consider this ancient wisdom on healing conflicts, to reach inner peace and happiness.
“If a person seems wicked, do not cast him away. Awaken him with your words, elevate him with your deeds, repay his injury with your kindness. Do not cast him away; cast away his wickedness.” ~ Lao Tzu
- “I offered My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who tore out My beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spittle.” Isaiah 50:6
- 38 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek,turn to him the other also; 40 if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well;…” Matthew 5:38-40
“17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12
- “Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.” ~ Buddha
If you think about it, and consider what all these ancient sources of wisdom are saying, it appears in summary, that happiness is an inside journey. You create it yourself. No one else, and nothing else can give it to you. You must create the conditions within you, and then the seeds of happiness can grow in your inner garden.
Practicing the healthy habits of treating others with love, kindness, respect and compassion will bring rewards of far greater value to you, then any amount of money can buy. Happiness comes along the path of loving-kindness, compassion and forgiveness. Give these gifts generously to yourself and to others. You will find peace and happiness when you do.
Best wishes to you my fellow travelers on your journey here. Namaste.