What is Happiness Anyway?

Over the course of June, we will explore this attitude or goal of ‘happiness’. And why not; how can we bloom if we have no inner state of happiness?
Recently, I went to hear the Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi Rinpoche who is the Founding Director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of the first questions he asked the audience was, “how many of you plan to wake up and spend the day feeling upset or angry?” How many of you wake up and say to yourself, “I plan on feeling miserable today?” Of course, no one raised their hands. He went on to say that one of the key reasons that we don’t feel happy lies in our lack of understanding of what happiness really is all about. So let’s explore it!
On one of my recent daily walks, I asked Nature which ‘relation’ wished to share wisdom with me about what happiness really is about anyway. The birds volunteered to share their wisdom with me. And so for the past few weeks I’ve been listening. A robin has been coming and sitting on my windowsill at work, peeking in and ‘participating’ in my sessions with clients at very key moments. Synchro-destiny shall we say!
I asked her, “What can you share with me about being happy?”
Her response: “Being happy is loving yourself, no matter how big or how small your spirit is. Being happy is appreciating who you are and what you have been given to live your best. Being happy is enjoying your place in the world and the gifts you bring for the greater good.”
What I noticed about this robin’s response is her emphasis on ‘being happy.’ Happiness is already planted within our centre, within our core. We may need to lift off the layers of unhappiness that shroud and deny us this experience of ourselves. At the core, we are designed and have the talent to be happy, however.
I wanted to know more about what she meant by ‘happy’. What do you mean by ‘happy’? I asked this robin.
She replied, “Happiness is a moment of joy.” She flew away and told me to sit with this understanding.

I decided to look up its origin and found that “happy” comes from the Middle English hap (‘chance, fortune’). To my surprise, the robin’s message tells me that being happy means that there is good fortune in loving myself. Good fortune comes when I appreciate what I have; it comes when I open to the moments of joy as I share my gifts for the greater good. I will be ‘lucky’ when I find joy in my place in the world. The Welsh understood this kind of attitude as being wise.
I offer a gift of gratitude to this robin who blessed me with this wisdom and joins me daily on my windowsill reminding me to be happy and open myself to good fortune. Coming back to the comments of the Venerable Tenzin Pridaryahsi – much of our being happy is whether we ‘practice’ or ‘train’ to be happy. So stay tuned!
Here is one conversation I’m having about what happiness means. What do you want to add to it? Where are you stuck and without the attitude of happiness? If you are willing to explore and practise happiness, contact me at shirley@shirleylynnmartin.com.