Choosing Happiness

Happiness

Being Ourself

We can be happy right now, just as we are, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. There’s nothing that needs to happen first for us to be happy. There’s nothing that needs to be added, subtracted or changed. We don’t need to be someone else.

Happiness isn’t something that’s only for other people. The capacity to be happy is in us already. It isn’t the sole right of special people with the right connections and right looks. Often, what blocks us most from being happy is the idea that we don’t deserve it. But deserving is only a concept. It’s not about deserving or not deserving. Happiness simply is!

Because happiness is always available, we can be happy right now. In fact, now is the only time we can be happy. The only time we can be alive is now. Now is when life is available. Happiness isn’t available in the past –  the past is gone. The source of happiness is the good and nurturing things around us and within us right now.

Concept of Happiness

The chief obstacle to our happiness is our concept of happiness. Above all, we tend to think certain conditions must be met for us to be happy. We think we can’t be happy until we meet certain life goals. Yet, this future-oriented thinking, instead of making us happy, becomes a reason for us to be unhappy now. And, if we aren’t happy now, the postponement of our happiness regresses into an infinitely receding future. We chase the horizon in endless anticipation and and continual frustration. We never get there, because we always hope to arrive there someday.

Rather than being about fulfilling certain conditions, happiness is about being receptive, about opening to what’s good in the present moment – here, and now. When we are receptive, we know every moment that wonderful healing and nourishing things surround us.

Underlying Joy

Since happiness is always available, the real question is whether we are available to happiness – joy is the underlying nature of things. We don’t have to manufacture it. We need only to remove the obstacles, including our unexamined concepts about happiness. When we learn to be available to happiness, the obstacles vanish. We immediately see that there’s already enough, right here and right now, for us to be happy.

Buddha's Way to Happiness
The Buddha’s Way of Happiness: Healing Sorrow, Transforming Negative Emotion, and Finding Well-Being in the Present Moment

Thomas Bien, Ph.D.

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