It cannot be found. The world doesn’t owe it to you. It can’t be guaranteed by anyone or anything, not even by a therapist, an enlightened guru, or by any amount of wealth, fame and power.
Chasing happiness makes it elusive, just like sleep when you desperately want it. So where does happiness lie? How does one get to possess it?
Let me tell you a story about a wealthy family.
One day there was this boy who’s celebrating his 8th birthday. As a present, his parents took him down the countryside for the weekend. They stayed in a spacious cabin by the lake, not very far from a small farm. This was the very first time that the family ever spent time away from the city.
The next day, the father took his kid fishing, and both decided to stay until mid-afternoon to feast on their catch. After having their fill, they decided to take a longer route going back and happened to pass by the small farm.
The pair saw the family living there spending some fun afternoon just outside their barn. Three kids are running around, playing with chickens and goats, climbing and jumping down haystacks. Two men sipping their cup of hot tea while a teenage boy plays a folk song in his rugged jeans with his old guitar entertaining the older men. Coming out from an old wooden house, a young woman and an elderly lady are carrying a plate of freshly baked cookies and a pile of bread, bidding the kids to come and grab some.
As the father and son moved in closer, the oldest man from the farm noticed them, and without hesitation waved and invited the two to stop by. The rich man hesitated, said thank you and carried on.
As the pair inch further away, the boy can’t help but look back and glance at the family again and again. Finally, they reached the cabin. The night was already deep and the farm was out of sight.
At the dinner table, the boy recounted his day and out of the blue, he quipped.
Boy: “Dad, I realize they are richer than us”.
Dad: “Who, son”?
Boy: “The family at the farm”.
Dad: “What do you mean? They don’t have much. But we, own a lot of companies, live in a huge house, lots of cars, you can have all the sweets you want, and you’re always safe as I have servants looking after you, drop you to school and pick you up. There’s freedom in our wealth, son, you can do anything”!
Son: “Well dad, they have a million lights above them, they have the stars. And the sky is huge, they get to enjoy it every time. They are always together, they look very happy and they celebrate every moment. They don’t just pass the time, they live it, savor it, just like those freshly baked cookies. It smelled so delicious and to them, every moment is treated like that. And it seems they didn’t feel scared. They don’t have big men watching over them or guarding them. I think they have Someone bigger and stronger than the guards we have. I don’t know. But I just feel they’re richer than us, they’re freer, happier, and I think they’ve got something really special”.
The father was astonished about what he heard and was lost for words.
My friend, happiness cannot be circumstantial because it’s within us- a sleeping giant that just needs to be awakened. You don’t need any magic tricks, fancy cars, shiny shoes or mansions. You don’t need to be a superstar nor would you need a hermit to reveal an ancient secret to you. Happiness is already in you. You just need to bring it out. Your spark, your gift, your beauty, your goodness, it lies at the very core of your being.
The challenge? Piece by piece, layer by layer, strip yourself off with your masks, pretensions, pride, hate, with worldly desires and dependencies. Your soul and your heart, in it’s barest state, reveals the true you, and because of so much goodness that lies within that core, there lies not just happiness, but pure joy too.
You are your own joy. Celebrate your being, and move the world beautifully in ways that only you can.