Christmas is past and we face the new year. Will it be happy? This is what we say to each other isn’t it…HAPPY NEW YEAR? We do wish this for our friends and loved ones and even strangers right? But how many conversations have you had, or have any of us had over the holiday season, that center around how we plan to have a happy new year? What will make us happy in 2014? Well, losing a few pounds wouldn’t hurt, or at last saving money for retirement, or spending more time in nature or with friends. Perhaps cutting back on the alcohol will make us happier, or upping our intake of vitamins. No doubt beginning treatment with a psychotherapist will help us discover the holy grail of happiness, or at least help us deal with those purveyors of our unhappiness…the bad boss, the abusive sibling, the controlling boyfriend, the cheating wife, the ghosts of our traumatic childhoods. Yes, if we can just learn to handle the difficult people of the world, just learn to handle our own inner and outer demons, happiness will be ours. Well…not exactly. I think all of this falls into the category of “necessary but not sufficient”. We do actually need to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult people and we will benefit greatly from better self care and financial responsibility. Letting go of destructive addictions will undoubtedly set the table for less volatile mood swings and the depressions that usually follow the “high”. But a nicely set table is not the feast.
So, what then will make us happy? Wiser, more renown and more articulate others have addressed this topic and expressed these truths. But truth is rarely heard the first hundred times it reaches our ears or eyes and even more rarely is it understood. Truth bears repeating. And the truth is that happiness results from being in the present. At the very least, presence is the precursor of happiness. The truth of this is that the present is all we have. Think deeply on that. Meditate on that if you will. It will take a lifetime and perhaps lifetimes of contemplation to really understand the profound nature of the present. It is always now. We spend our lives forgetting this, fleeing this, when in truth, all we have is the present. By forgetting and fleeing we cease to be fully alive. And to be happy, we must be fully alive. We can’t be happy in the future if we can’t be happy now because eventually the future will become now. Living in the present requires attention and mindfulness. Pay attention to this moment; being mindful of what’s going on inside and outside of you in the present. As I sit at my computer looking out at the closing of the day, I am aware of the sun’s light on the bare willow tree outside my window. Lovely. I am also aware that I am nervous that what I write here may be misunderstood, ridiculed…but that’s in the future. Right now I’m enjoying the light and the satisfaction of writing…happiness! It was possible just now to drop a future worry and enjoy this moment.
Today I want to be doing things just to be doing them, not to be doing something else. I do not want to do things to sell myself on myself. I do not want to do nice things for people so that I will be thought of as nice. I don’t want to work to make money. I want to work to experience the work. Today I don’t want to live for anything in the future or because of anything in the past. I just want to live. I want to, in the words of a very wise soul, Baba Ram Das, “Be Here Now”.
Until Next Time,