Happiness Is?

Question the benefit of your life to others and you may just find you are more than you ever thought you were.

I saw a short film by Dove called Real Beauty Sketches. It was an interesting perspective of the self. How we see ourselves vs how others see us.

It got me thinking about what we perceive as success and failure, beautiful and repulsive, even love and hate.  Which, of course, lead me to evaluate my own perspectives on things, the struggle of the day-to-day, the conflicts, blah, blah, blah.

What I did not immediately do was think about the joy, the simplicities and the benefit of my life in this world.  It came, but those were not the first things I thought of.  I wonder, why?

Considering my life and my circumstances, I really have nothing to complain about. I suffer for nothing. Is everything perfect? Of course, it is not, but practically.  Then I got to the real bones of what happiness is for me; where do I find my joy and my motivation?  Instead of focusing on what ifs, should haves, and I wishes, I shifted and looked at my life and myself from a different perspective.

What I saw was not so much surprising, but inspiring.

I saw strength and character. I saw peace in my best friends smile. I saw love and compassion and a truth that only I can understand.

More importantly, I saw the moments in which I am joyous, free and easy are those where I can observe the joy of others who benefit from my life. In a student achieving a goal, a rider losing fear, a friend knowing they are loved, a stranger experiencing kindness, a family member being appreciated. These are the moments I hope to build upon each day, each hour. These are the memories that sustain my spirit through darkness and offer the promise of light ahead.

Don’t misunderstand, there are private moments of joy as well. Reaching my own brass rings in life is elating and a huge part of who I am.  Yet, true happiness for me is in the service of others. I am a person who takes pleasure in people being happy. It flat out makes me happy to help others achieve success. But if I did not find benefit, I would not do it. I really am quite selfish that way.

I read the book, or should I say, I am still reading, and will probably be reading for years to come, The Art of Happiness: A handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  I think I get it, my purpose, the purpose of life, happiness.

So the silly phrases, the joy is in the journey, trudge the happy road of destiny, happy trails, take the high road, all ambiguous, are simply the instructions for life.  With that understanding, don’t worry, be happy takes on a whole new meaning, and I am humming a different tune.

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