Happiness is a choice you make, an attitude you step into, a state of being that runs deeper than conditions. It is more available than impossible. Can you and I find a way to be at peace with ourselves and our lives right now, even before the mortgage is paid, we resolve our differences with our ex, or global warming is offset?
I have wanted many things in my life, and I still do. It had always seemed that I would be happier if I found my soul mate, lived in a bigger house, saw my book on the bestseller list, or toted the latest-generation iPad. Then I met a man who turned my belief system upside down. Shin-ichiro Terayama is a Japanese physicist who radiates joy more brilliantly than any soul I have ever met. He wears a perpetual smile and lights a room simply by entering it. I have never known someone so genuinely happy.
When Shin was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was catapulted into deep soul-searching. He went to a Japanese garden and considered what would make his life meaningful, whether he lived one more day or another 40 years. His answer was: to be grateful for everyone and everything—including his cancer, as a wake-up call. From that day on, Shin said, “Thank you” for every event and experience that showed up in and around him. Within a few months, the cancer disappeared. That was 25 years ago. Now Shin teaches others to find health and happiness by practicing the lost art of appreciation.
The word content holds the secret of how to attain this consciousness. Content means “to contain.” You contain what you seek. It is in you, as you. No thing and no one outside you can give you or make you more than you already are. The treasure you seek, you already own. The treasure you seek, you already are.
We have all engaged in relationships, business situations, and living arrangements that demean us or lack integrity. Upon recognizing that we have sold out to fit in, we must say no to what does not serve us so we can make space for what does.
You cannot afford to settle for any situation that dampens your spirit. When you discover you have “detoured,” you must do whatever it takes to return to the path of joy. Putting your foot down is a prerequisite to stepping ahead.
The sage Sri Nisargadatta stated, “In my world all is well.” In what world did he live? Was it the one we see on the news, or was he watching a broadcast the rest of us are missing? Can we take up residence in the domain he described? Can we experience wellness even before the economy turns around, our spouse understands us, or wars come to an end?
Let’s take that adventure together. This is not a journey into getting more. It is a journey into having more and being more, beginning by claiming the riches you already own and are.