As the world keeps going and we continue down the path of life, there are more and more reasons to feel grief, despair, and loss at the countless depressing events that happen every day. And it is okay to feel sad, for we are human. Often we will bounce back from these events and return to our balanced state. But sometimes we forget our true, happy nature as the world swallows us like a wave and we don’t remember what it was like not to be overwhelmed.
However, we will always be attracted to joy. TV commercials exploit this fact by constantly replaying videos of people suddenly “made happy” by eating the most delicious sandwich, or by getting a new car (in order to sell us their product). And some of us love to follow the lives of the most popular celebrities who seem to have it all, and therefore must have found true happiness, although they probably aren’t very happy. We have an internal hardwiring and affinity for joy. But sometimes it is incredibly difficult to make the choice to be happy.
We are reminded of a story from one of our favorite books, in which a young boy goes out and seeks wise men to bless him and to receive a prayer from. In order to receive the prayer, he must promise to always remember it. Of course, he is surprised when, instead of a prayer, a particularly wise man blesses him by saying “No matter where you live, live cheerfully…Anywhere you live, even if you have to go to a hellish place, create heaven there. Remember, my boy, cheerfulness is of your own making. It only requires human effort.”
We were struck by how simple of a message it was, one that seems like it should be obvious. But we get so caught up in daily life, that sometimes it isn’t. So let’s try to take some pauses throughout the day and remember: happiness is a choice.