A question commonly asked – Is happiness achievable? It often depends on who is asking the question! (It shouldn’t, but sadly it does)
Individual Reference Point
In reflecting on what life has dished out to us, our reference point is often that of outer comparisons with family, friends and society, measuring such things as career success, material wealth and our standing in society – the illusion being that happiness lies somewhere in achieving these goals. Deep down, most of us realise that this is not the case. We believe that we are pre-destined to follow a particular path and as such this path is our reference point – our station in life.
You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future – Isak Dinesen
However, we can change our reference point. Let me share an experience I had recently. While on a holiday in Asia, my friends and I played a little golf beside our hotel. There was a refreshment kiosk half way round the course that was attended by a young couple selling water, soft drinks and second-hand golf balls for golfers finding the lush tropical jungle challenging. Each time we passed by, we were greeted with super smiles, sweetness and humility and friendly advice as to where we might find our golf balls as we teed off. These smiles, shored up with oodles of friendship, always sent me on my way lighter in mind and body.
The divide between golfer and vendor was obvious, but when we strip away the trappings across the divide, the old adage “less is more” definitely rings through. There is hope once you believe that happiness does not depend entirely on living the outer consumer-led lifestyle. I like this aphorism from The Jewels of Happiness author, Sri Chinmoy:
Do you want to be happy,
Then just think
Of your outer life less,
A little less,
And live more,
A little more,
In your inner life.
– Sri Chinmoy ((Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 5, Agni Press, 1998 from http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/seventy-seven-thousand-service-trees-05/4160))
Happiness Lies in the Small Things
Sometimes happiness for me lies in the small things, and when I experience them I just try to be grateful. Here are some of my personal favorites!
1) Putting on an old jacket and finding a €20 note in the pocket.
2) Having your face vigorously licked by a friendly puppy.
3) Going for a jog and experiencing a strong wind on your back.
4) Watching someone break a world record.
5) Shopping for gifts.
6) Someone just pulls out of a parking spot in a very busy area right outside your destination.
7) Eating freshly baked, warm bread from the oven.
8) Witnessing someone drop everything aside to help someone else.
9) Reading your birthday cards.
10) Seeing someone’s sincere smile.
What are the little things that make you happy? Write a comment and let us know!