Monday, June 21, 2010

Thanks, not just for Thanksgiving anymore

In searching for helpful tidbits on happiness, what’s astounding is the number of people trying to profit by selling the next magic bullet to happiness. It amazes me even further that people fall for it. It’s like the Atkins or Southbeach diet for happiness. Crazy.

J and I had a conversation recently about happiness and how it directs us in our lives. In the course of the talk I realized what a very happy and contented person I am, at least in comparison to those around me. There’s no magic bullet for it. I get down and depressed, angry, frustrated, the same as anyone else. But I’m thankful for the sunset. I’m thankful for a clean bed. Perhaps appreciating what you do have and not what you don’t is part of the key to happiness. But I think the Dalai Lama, the author of The Art of Happiness, captures it better than I do.

If one's life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. And finally, there is an intense delight in abandoning faulty states of mind and in cultivating helpful ones in meditation. - Dalai Lama

So find what makes you happy in a day, baby animals or books or freshly mowed grass, close your eyes, take it in, and be glad for it. Yeah, the world may be going to hell around you, but appreciate the good things. There’s too much bad already, no need to give it more notice and power than it deserves.

And if all else fails, here’s something to cheer everyone up: agave (hint: it’s what they make tequila out of).