The Pursuit of Happiness


In the Declaration of the US Independence, the founding “fathers” highlighted it as one of the unalienable and sovereign rights, along with life and liberty. The Dali Lama has declared that his religion IS Happiness. This morning I read one of the “Spontaneous Songs” by Ven. Lama Gendun Rinpoche and pondered…

When I scan the media–all of it, fb, blogs, TV, radio, even emails & billboards; when I talk to my clients, and observe my friends, my students and my family I am treated to the various ways in which we earthly humans interpret happiness, and the ways and means by which we pursue it.

To my clients, a new office, a bigger house, the perfect flooring pattern, this kitchen cabinet, that color scheme is what will make them happy. Yes! They bring me magazines and photos of what in their view will make the best design. I then come up with a more personalized scheme and I am grateful for their business, yet I see that it is by looking at what others have, maybe even a vignette created for a home show, a kitchen magazine layout, their friends and relatives media room, that they decide what is their perfect space.

Some of my friends take courses and workshops of all sorts. They study from a variety of gurus and gather amazing material. They are so excited about this book, this conference, this discipline and their hearts and souls are totally committed to it…for a time…until the next guru, book, class.

My students want to find love and the ideal mate, get the perfect job, travel to exotic places, achieve financial freedom, design and teach the perfect new spiritual structure, raise wonderful families, love those who “wronged them” and be enlightened by… attending our weekly meetings, doing some meditation and reading & part-time practicing, all with great intentions!

My family pursues happiness through many of the ways described. They plan the next trip, move to a new location, get a new job, arrange for the perfect learning experiences, take up new hobbies, revive an old skill…Some add the holding on to the past, and the expectation that relationships will change if they just hold on to anger and grudges.

On that note, the wars and crimes people become part of in the name of achieving their perfect society, using rules they “channelled” or interpreted by reading scriptures, or commit atrocities while under the spell of someone who speaks for those scriptures. All they are doing is pursuing happiness. Yes. All of it!

In all, we see the achievement of happiness as something that is outside of us, or something that we have to do, create, become; to be happy. It is in the future. At this point, I will let the Venerable Lama Gendun speak.

Happiness cannot be found
through great effort and willpower,
but is already present, in open relaxation and letting go.

Don’t strain yourself,
there is nothing to do or undo.
Whatever momentarily arises in the body-mind
has no real importance at all,
has little reality whatsoever.
Why identify with, and become attached to it,
passing judgment upon it and ourselves?

Far better to simply
let the entire game happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves –
without changing or manipulating anything –
and notice how every thing vanishes and
reappears, magically, again and again,
time without end.

Only our searching for happiness
prevents us from seeing it.
It’s like a vivid rainbow which you pursue without ever catching,
or a dog chasing its own tail.

Although peace and happiness do not exist
as an actual thing or place,
it is always available
and accompanies you every instant.

Don’t believe in the reality
of good and bad experiences;
they are like today’s ephemeral weather,
like rainbows in the sky.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable,
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax this tight fist of grasping,
infinite space is there – open, inviting and comfortable.

Make use of this spaciousness, this freedom and natural ease.
Don’t search any further.
Don’t go into the tangled jungle
looking for the great awakened elephant,
who is already resting quietly at home
in front of your own hearth.

Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing.

 A happy day to All!!!

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