By Kenneth Stepp
Happiness is… Sadly, that’s the way many think of happiness today. Happiness is a better income, a bigger house, finding our soulmate, thinking too much, etc, etc, etc. You get my point. We develop a mindset that happiness is attached to something other than us. Perhaps happiness is less thoughts, less memories, and less stuff. Think back in history. Way way way back. Neanderthals had to feel happiness too. Most didn’t have permanent homes, never had enough to eat, and were always trying not to be killed by something. Yet we know they had to have happy moments. So if they did, why do we meet so many unhappy people today?
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Happiness is, isn’t the way to think of happiness. Happiness is “not”, would be a better way to think of happiness. More stuff, a person, more money. Nope, those are great examples of what happiness is not. Chemically, happiness is in the brain. Our own brain can make us happy by creating chemicals in our brain. Is there a way to happiness? A formula? One word might answer these questions. Less… Maybe thinking more of ancient man, rather than modern man is the way to happiness. They had almost nothing. Yet they smiled, had kids, were active, and even loved. Maybe our modern brain isn’t the helper we think it is. Maybe it’s the culprit to gloom.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Being happy may be a thought away, or the absence of one. I remember living on the beach for a year in Florida. I had moved from my home state of Kentucky and I recall some very sad days. One day I walked outside and felt the sun on my body. It felt like something old and comfortable. I took off my shirt and sat in a chair, no thinking, no walk down memory lane. Just me and the sun. It felt wonderful. My heart was full of happiness. So much so that I remember that moment to this day. Sunshine. Simple things we don’t think about in our hyperdrive world. Less… Maybe so. I know when I think of money, bills, what my truck needs, what the next business move will be. I’m not happy at all. I know this. If I sit on the floor with a puppy to play with. I don’t think of anything but the puppy. And I’m happy.
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”
― Audrey Hepburn
I believe we are all born happy. A blank slate, so to speak. Consider it a gift from God. Free will is powerful. I know some extremely happy individuals. They have mastered free will to the point of maintaining their happiness. By the way. All of my happy friends want you to be happy too. All of my unhappy friends want you to feel sorry for them. And that my friend, is a misuse of free will. When God gives us a gift, it’s to use for good. And not just our good. I’m not sure how to wrap this up. They say Gandhi was the happiest person ever. His possessions amounted to a bowl and a mat to sit on. Maybe he figured something out that alludes many of us.
I recently took a trip back to Kentucky and took a walk down memory lane. I drove to the house I rented when I first moved back from Kentucky. It was so humble. In a poor neighborhood, and in need of repair when we moved into it. I had an income that barely put food on the table, a new wife, and little prospects of anything financially better in the foreseeable future. There was a closed off front porch that I used as my place to pray. In that small room I found my happiness in a loving God who listened. Happiness is available to everyone. Accept it. Spread it around like it’s free. It is you know…
“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”
― W.P. Kinsella