I have a friend who’s really good at finding pithy phrases that make me think. A while back she said ‘well, I guess we’re all just looking to find the Big Happy’.
And that’s what we’re all looking for, I think – ‘Finding the Big Happy’. But what is it? How can we find it? Does it exist, or is it just an unattainable and impossible dream?
We all know, I think, that some of the simplest things make us happy. One of my very very best friends, who had been having a bit of a tough week, texted me last night to tell me she couldn’t possibly be anything other than happy while cuddling her granddaughter. We all know the joy of watching a beautiful and incredible sunset or sunrise. or climbing to the top of a hill and seeing an incredible view spread out below us. Sometimes we will be surprised by an unexpected gift, or the words of a song.
The lovely and wonderful Hannah Brencher (www.moreloveletters.com) spreads joy and happiness by the simple but radical act of writing love letters to strangers and leaving them to be discovered. A hero of mine, Randy Gage (www.randygage.com) suggests paying the toll for the person behind, and reminds us that the simple act of smiling at a checkout assistant.. or letting someone in in traffic.. might just be the beginning of a chain reaction creating more happiness in the world. The movie ‘Pay It Forward’ (2000) helped millions to see that it’s possible to make the world a better place simply by making sure that one good deed creates another.. creating a flow of happiness in the world. Can you imagine the tidal wave of happiness that would happen if we each did two good deeds every time someone did something kind for us? The exponential effect would be.. well, very possibly ‘the big happy’.
There’s two things I have discovered about happiness. The first is that we are happy to the extent that we are creating happiness around us. We are loved to the extent that we create love. What we give out truly comes back to us – it’s a law of the universe. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”, said Jesus (Luke 6:38). That applies to wealth, which has a habit of returning to you in the measure that you give it away.. as Randy Gage points out, you can’t out give the Universe. Love is the source of our power, and we manifest power in our lives to the extent that we are prepared to love.
Happiness is even more incredible – because it’s instantaneous! The simple act of choosing to create happiness for someone else will, I guarantee, make you happy. It’ll put a smile on your face, create warmth in your heart and put a bounce in your steps.
And the second thing about happiness? It’s a choice. We can, honestly, choose to be happy in any moment. We’re actually programmed to seek happiness, you know – to seek out the things that make us happy at the deepest possible level. And that’s perfectly OK. It’s why we’re here. The problem is that we’ve got it all backwards. We think that we have to HAVE certain things (money, love, freedom) in order to DO things (take holidays, buy a car, enjoy romance) so that we can BE happy, or content, or secure. And we’ve got it backwards.
The secret is to choose to BE happy. Right now. If we choose to BE happy (or peaceful, or content, or joyful, or secure) – then the Universe responds by creating things to DO that flow out of that happiness (joy, peace, security, contentment) that create what we wanted to HAVE. But we have to let go of attachment to those things first. As long as we are expecting money or possessions or a romance or (fill in the blank) to make us happy, then we’re not going to get there. As soon as we drop that demand and simply allow ourselves to be happy for no reason. then happiness arrives.
Try it out. you’ll be amazed. Simply choosing to be happy. Or peaceful. Or whatever feeling you want. Here’s a secret.. create it the way you want it. Smile. Laugh (another of my friends teaches laughter yoga and points out that it’s impossible to stay miserable if you choose to fake laughter.. even if it feels fake, it soon becomes real). Put on some happy music that you love. Dance. Make someone else happy. Hug a tree. Cuddle a baby. Spread a little joy and happiness and see how it feels..