‘Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness & just be happy.’
This quotation from Guillaume Apollinaire filled the front of a handbill I was given in the town centre recently (on my way to my bus stop home from work) along with a piece of coconut ice and an invitation to join in the dancing and chanting of ‘Hare Krishna’. I can’t dance at present (walking is challenge enough), but I chanted for a few minutes, until I saw a bus coming – and I smiled all the way home.
A few days later I was on a bus going to meeting for worship. New posters on the bus shelters read:
‘Happiness in a new bottle. 1.75 litre Coca-Cola’.
Somehow I don’t think so, even if I liked Coca-cola. But it illustrates the ways that we are being bombarded with ways we could be happy, often ways that will make profits for someone else. Which they hope will make them happy.
It brought me sharply back to Advices and Queries 39 ‘Consider which of the ways to happiness offered by society are truly fulfilling and which are potentially corrupting and destructive.’ The same thought is also encapsulated in the five mindfulness trainings.
In my experience happiness comes along when I am doing something else, probably something that might be termed ‘work’, doing it with my whole attention, often doing it principally for the benefit of someone else, or when I am just being: stepping outside first thing in the morning, watching a bird in the garden, listening deeply to someone, preparing food.
As a Friend reminded me, when she h read my comments about the Hare Krishna handbill: ‘Man asked Buddha “I want happiness. ” Buddha replies,”leave out I then want & you are left with happiness.” ‘
Then just pause and enjoy being happy, and sing along with my young self whose favourite sunday school chorus was:
I am H A P P Y,
I am H A P P Y,
I know I am, I’m sure I am,
I am H A P P Y.