Not chasing after happiness

Some more reflections on not going anywhere, from a lovely recent book by Thomas Bien, entitled The Buddha’s Way of Happiness. Letting go of our instinctive need to “fix” ourselves – of the drive to do more and more –  is the key to change.  Staying put is a secret to getting places.

We get stuck in the drama of our lives. If we are to find happiness we instinctively feel that we have to go through something, endure some difficulty, go on a quest, slay dragons or monsters and ultimately find the gold or the princess in order to find the resolution and the peace which we seek. When we are told that happiness is available right now, we can hardly escape thinking what we have to do, endure and struggle to find it. We almost can’t help it.

Seeing life as “story” gets us caught in the notion that we don’t have happiness. We have to go after happiness somehow.When we learn that we can be happy right now, just breathing in and out, and seeing a leaf for the miracle it actually is, instead of the idea of “leaf”, we’re almost disappointed. We want it to be a great achievement. If we can’t find a way to see it as an achievement, then we can’t feel special and feed the ego. Instead, in seeing things as they actually are, we step outside the ego.

2 thoughts on “Not chasing after happiness

  1. Finding happiness always makes me think of the line “Take ship! For happiness is somewhere to be had”, which a quick search finds is George Meredith, Modern Love 34 ( http://www.litera.co.uk/secret_love_phrases/115/ ). I can be happy playing the piano, just in the moment with the music, and wonder if this is linked to the phenomenon of a person with Alzheimers still being able to play pieces learned years before: using a different part of her brain.

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