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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happiness is...

"The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is thinking that having problems is a problem."
-Theodore Rubin

We all have them. 
Little ones.
Big ones.  
Little ones that feel like big ones.  
Big ones that seem insurmountable.  

But here's the truth...we get through them.  The vast majority of the time, we struggle and push, persist and persevere, and ultimately we win.  And "the win" is when we are on the other side, stronger and wiser than we were when we started. 

I recently read an article entitled "Happiness Annoys Me."  The gist of the article was that, as a culture we have trained ourselves to believe that we should be "happy" all the time.  To be unhappy is a failure of some sort...an obstacle to overcome at all costs, and to banish from our lives forever.  Our ultimate goal is to be constantly "happy," never feeling sorrow or discomfort.  So, we do everything in our power to ensure that this is the case.  But, if we take even one moment to consider this idea, we quickly come to realize that it is a ridiculous notion.  

Buddha taught that everyone has suffering (dukka) in their lives, and that there is nothing wrong with this...it just is.  Life is made up of times of great pleasure and times of great sorrow...and many more times that are on the continuum between the two states.  No judgement of either is necessary--or useful.  Our job is to find our balance.  To learn to accept that suffering is part of the human existence, just as joy is, and learn to face the challenges that are put before us with compassion, patience, and caring--for both others and ourselves.  Once we can find the equanimity to do this, we will truly have found our happiness. 

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