Have you become a slave to finding happiness?

“When you have an idea that is making you suffer, you should let go of it, even (or perhaps especially) if it is an idea about your own happiness…

Perhaps you [too] are the prisoner of your own notion of happiness. There are thousands of paths that lead to happiness, but you have accepted only one. You have not considered other paths because you think that yours is the only one that leads to happiness. You have followed this path with all your might, and so the other paths, the thousands of others, have remained closed to you.

We should be free to experience the happiness that just comes to us without our having to seek it. If you are a free person, happiness can come over you just like that! Look at the moon. It travels in the sky completely free, and this freedom produces beauty and happiness. I am convinced that happiness is not possible unless it is based on freedom. If you are a free woman, if you are a free man, you will enjoy happiness. But if you are a slave, even if only the slave of an idea, happiness will be very difficult for you to achieve. That is why you should cultivate freedom, including freedom from your own concepts and ideas.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, You Are Here

World-renowned Zen monk, poet, and peace activist

Perhaps you are the prisoner of your own notion of happiness… ? ? ?

Whoa! Really. Interesting. Intriguing.

When I read this, it hit home. We seek happiness. We strive for happiness. We change ourselves for happiness. We work to find happiness.

In our tunnel vision, for the definition of happiness that we have set for ourselves… is it possible it is already there?

Inside? All around?

In the breath, in the moment, in a walk, in a stretch, in a nap, in cooking, in organizing, in being, and in acceptance.

In the embrace instead of denial or disowning.

Is it possible that in our defining what happiness is, we miss out?

I know that when I’m in the midst of striving to find happiness, it becomes not only elusive, but I become cranky and unappreciative… wait a minute. This seems wrong, doesn’t it?

But, when I let go and simply enjoy every NOW moment, not defining things, letting go of attachment to what I think or want things to look like, I am happy. I am more relaxed and at peace.

Hmmm… it makes me smile and it makes me want to be with it and contemplate it.

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Photo is today’s work-in-progress