Start With Happiness
There’s a great interview with Deepak Chopra in the June, 2012 issue of O magazine. I tried to find it online, but there’s only a video, not a re-print. At any rate, here’s one of my favorite bits:
They way we are educated in the West, everybody’s looking toward the future. Which means they’re never in the present. So when they arrive at the future, it’s not there for them, because they’re not present for it. And if you get the idea that this is the moment you have – the only moment you have – then you live in the present and you move with the flow because this is the point, right now.
You know, as a doctor, I used to ask my patients, ‘Why do you want to get well?’ They’d say they wanted to be rid of this illness. ‘Why do you want to be rid of the illness?’ Oh, so I can go back to work. ‘Why do you want to go to work?’ Oh, so I can pay my bills. ‘Why do you want to do that?’ Then finally they’d say, ‘Shut up — all I want to do is be happy!’ I say, why not start with happiness? Why go about it in such a circuitous way?
The idea of starting with happiness goes against everything my Puritanical ancestors believed! Suffer first, and if you’re lucky, eventually — at some distant future point — you may finally earn happiness. Maybe. More likely you’ll die of cancer or a heart attack first…
I feel like this is a permission slip to reconfigure my priorities, and since I read the article a few weeks ago, I have said “no” more often to things that I don’t want to do, and I have said “yes” more often when the kids want to do something with me. When I’m mindful of the moment, I feel more gratitude, more empowered in my decision-making, and more… “whole.” Re-training the brain is challenging, but I feel this is a worthwhile endeavor. Happy Monday — moment by moment!