May I be happy… May you be happy…
There once was a woman who longed for a different existence — an existence filled with happiness, contentment and her heart’s desire. She wasn’t actually sure what those words meant to her but she knew, or thought she knew, that she wasn’t experiencing any of them.
As she went about her day fulfilling her duties, she was unaware that her heart had closed. Instead of being in reverence for her life, and basking in gratitude, she looked at others and thought of the injustice of her life. She thought everyone else had it better than she did: their house was bigger, their car shinier, their bodies so much more beautiful. She thought they had it all while she struggled.
It wasn’t until she lost her home and her car and when her body started to fail her that she realized she had been blind to her abundance. A wave of gratitude began rushing in as the sorrow of what she had lost became real.
The gratitude washed her heart clean of the bitterness and she was reborn.
What are you unhappy about? What will make you happy? Where do you feel the happiest?
That was a dramatic story to reinforce my point that happiness comes from a feeling within you …. and isn’t externally gained.
The other day I walked to the beach, which is at the end of my street. I was feeling extremely blessed to live where I do, with all the children in the neighborhood. Years before, I longed for one baby and here I was surrounded by my two and nine other children. Then I saw a friend lying on her stomach on a float and reading a magazine while being gently rocked by the stillness of the ocean. A rush of jealousy flushed over me to be alone with my thoughts and I longed for….
Initially, my first instinct was to want to pay another friend $5 to push her off the perfectly inflated float, but then something happened. She noticed me and called out: “Hey, I have something for you….”
In the mean time, I replied: “Sorry that we’re descending on you since you are all alone on a float!!!” My friend, who is single and doesn’t have children, replied: “It’s not all that it is cracked up to be. I’m alone all the time.”
Here’s the kicker. She then gave me a magazine she thought I would like to read since she knows that I am a nutty crunchy woman. The magazine had an article about metta meditation and happiness written by Taan Ajaan Geoff of the Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego, California.,
His instructions are to repeat the metta meditation prior to bed: “For yourself, May I be happy. May I be free from stress and pain. May I be free from animosity, free from trouble, free from oppression. May I look after myself with ease.”
For others’ happiness: “May you be happy. May you be free from stress and pain. May you be free from animosity, free from trouble, free from oppression. May you look after yourself with ease.”
And for someone that has “done you wrong”: My you find the error of your ways.
The grace of true happiness is always available if and when we keep our hearts open. We need to keep them open in goodwill for others, calling in the gratitude of the moment. The real kicker, however, is knowing yourself. What makes you happy, how do you create it over and over again?
How do you connect with peace and resonate that out into the world? Even when you’re not floating all by yourself on a tube, being gently rocked in the arms of mother earth?
May you be happy…
(Originally Published August 28, 2012)