Are you waiting for something to happen that will make you happy? When I was growing up, the books I read and the movies I saw all intimated that life promised a happy ending. I believed it all. I dated in high school but never had a long-term or steady boyfriend. I dated in college but was never pinned or engaged. The illusion began to wear thin. I was married during the Viet Nam War and I loved married life and becoming a mother. It was not the fairy tale ending I assumed from the movies and books. It was hard and I wasn’t happy all the time. Aren’t I supposed to be happy all the time? I was having a difficult keeping the illusion alive.
Along the way, I began to understand the difference between happiness and contentment. For me, contentment comes from within, from being at peace with myself and my life in that moment. It springs from a deep place of knowing my Oneness with Source and With All That Is. It is sweet and enduring even in the face of deep sorrows and disappointments. Happiness has more to do with outer experiences and circumstances. It is more likely to come and go. I know now that it is okay to be unhappy about something though it is best not to abide there. Like disappointment, unhappiness is an energy that can inspire me to make healthy changes in my life. Unheeded, it can drag me down.
Years ago I watched an interview with the Dalai Lama. (I apologize for not remembering who did the interview so that I can reference it more specifically.) The Dalai Lama has not had an easy life, as most of you know. In light of that, the interviewer described him as a person from whom joy bubbles up naturally and often, quite like the refreshing water from an Artesian well. This was evident in the interview as His Holiness would grow quite serious and express sorrow over all that his people continue to suffer. There was film footage of him greeting refugees coming out of Tibet and weeping with them as he listened to their stories. After resting, he sat with the journalist and laughter bubbled up as he spoke of other experiences or shared thoughts about the meaning of life itself. He gave me a vivid image of the balance of emotions in a life lived fully and passionately.
I have met others along the way who believe that enlightenment means the opposite. They live with little emotional response to life at all. It is true they are not tossed about by the waves of life but I haven’t encountered them on the ziplines of life either! This is the path they have chosen and I honor that for them. For me, I want those “Wahoo!” moments and I am willing to embrace the deep sorrows as well because I know it all comes and goes. I know the well of contentment within. I know true joy which never ceases, even if it grows quiet at times.
There are no longer “Somedays…” in my life. There is now. Living mindfully from True Self is quite enough for me. It is a ride of cosmic proportions and I am grateful for the journey, especially now that I know who I Am.