This week we are looking deeply at happiness. I’ve said that happiness is natural, and when we are not happy it is because we decided we wanted something else. We judged a circumstance as something that should not be, and we decided we want it to be different.
Right now I sit in bed in Branson, Missouri. In about 90 minutes I will take my suitcases, go out to my car and drive to Springfield, Missouri for a gathering. It is storming outside. There is heavy rain and lightening. It’s been this way for hours. If there isn’t a break in the weather, I will get soaked when I leave. I have no umbrella, no raincoat and my car is parked far enough from the front door that remaining dry is an impossibility in the heavy rain. Once I am in the car, I will drive nearly an hour in the weather to the gathering I am to teach today. It’s possible some people will not come because of the weather. At least one person has already cancelled. I might have heard hail last night. I could go outside today and find my car has hail damage.
Should I choose to be unhappy? Will my unhappiness get me what I want? Heck, what do I want? Do I want sunshine and bird’s singing and lots of people at the gathering? Maybe I at least want dry clothes. Can’t I at least have a break in the weather when I carry my luggage out to the car? If God loves me, I will at least get that, right?
This is an example of the kind of thinking people choose everyday, probably multiple times everyday. “I want this!” our mind screams, and if it isn’t given we are unhappy.
“I want things my way,” but maybe the trees, bushes and flowers want rain. Maybe the thunder wants to roar. Maybe the storm clouds want to dance in the sky like native Americans around a drum circle. Maybe, just maybe, if I look at today with a little bit of openness, I will enjoy this weather powwow.
Today’s lesson tells us there must “be a place made ready to receive His gifts. They are not welcomed gladly by a mind that has instead received the gifts it made where His belong, as substitutes for them.”
We prepare the place for happiness when we let go of wanting what isn’t present. If it isn’t present, it isn’t a present. ~ha ha~ That’s just a silly play on words that just came to me. Get it? If it isn’t present (here), it isn’t a present (gift).
But seriously … It’s okay to want what’s here. Wanting what is here will never bring us unhappiness. If the sun is shining, love the sunny day. That is okay! But if the rain is pouring, love the rain. If you are wet, love being wet. If you have no money, love having no money. If you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, love not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow. The truth is, none of us really know that anyway. We only imagine we know.
Happiness isn’t really a choice. Unhappiness is a choice. If we stop choosing to be unhappy by wanting something that isn’t present, we will find more gifts here now than we can count, and happiness is one of them.
This life as this person is a temporary experience, like a novel or a movie. What’s happening in your scene now? Enjoy it! Love the temporary. Also take time to notice, you aren’t the temporary. The more you see that you aren’t the temporary, the more you relax, and the temporary can be loved just as it is now