I’m curious: How can I become visible to happiness? What can I do? Do I go where many streets intersect? Are there specific boulevards I might walk? Do I don bright colors and climb atop the fountain in the Central Plaza and wait happiness’s arrival?
I read part of The Art of Happiness some years ago…however happiness did not find me in its text. I remember wondering “What now?”
Happiness did find me when I saw a video of Viktor Frankl saying the Americans have it wrong in their Declaration of Independence. "...Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." Frankl said happiness ensues. It cannot be pursued. Happiness ensues from doing other things, specifically from valuing and choosing to live creatively; by directly experiencing life; and by intentionally choosing life-affirming attitudes. Here’s more:
We need not paint nor write unless we feel their pull. Creativity occurs naturally while being ourselves—in doing the things we love in our own unique ways. This is creativity. We can do this at work or home and in all parts of our daily lives: how we cook, garden, parent, sing in the shower, dance, whether anyone sees or not…how we talk with colleagues, and so on. And of course, if the arts call or tug on us, yes, we must muster our courage, make the time and do these things. We must say “Yes!”.
• Direct experience:
This is saying “Yes” to our lives and giving ourselves over to our sentience (with our five senses) directly experiencing the richness of our lives: Experiencing the beauty of the foods we eat, the arts, nature, and other people. These are the true pleasures of life from which happiness ensues. Unlike James Joyce’s short story protagonist, Mr. Duffy, in A Painful Case, “who lived a short distance from his body…” we need return home to our physical body and again experience what life brings. Roses have thorns yet this is no reason to avoid the loveliness of their fragrance, color and corolla.
• Life-affirming attitudes:
We are capable of choosing our mental emotional states, our states of being, and our presences (attitudes). We do this by being consciously aware moment to moment where we place our attention. Keeping our attentions on what affirms life, on what is expansive, and lovely (what we can say yes to) in any and all situations. This is what keeps our attitudes buoyant, light and in motion. From these choices we enter our heartedness—whole, kind, strong, and open. This is the heart from which the qualities of character of our human decency flow—so too our happiness. In these states our thinking and actions most closely reflect the staggeringly profound beauty of the Beings we are. Happiness finds us here.
On the streets of our creativity…on the streets of directly experiencing our sentience…and on the streets of life-affirming attitudes—this is where happiness finds us.