I haven’t thought much about the meaning behinds those words in a long time but I just saw them again and they really seemed different and misguiding to me.
While I was in college, in government I wrote a paper about human inalienable rights and I am sure that somewhere in that paper I elaborated on how we are afforded the right to pursue our happiness whether it was written down on paper or not. Now days I don’t think I quite agree with that phrase or how I use to interpret it.
Now I am not saying that no one should be allowed to have happiness or that it is not attainable. It’s just that this phrase, that I believe a majority of Americans are familiar with, lead many to believe they have not achieved happiness because the pursuit has not been accomplished leaving one with a double negative whammy. You don’t have happiness and you haven’t succeeded in pursuing it.
Happiness to me can not be something you pursue. It is a state of being. I truly believe when you are able to be grateful for the here and now, the what you do have, you achieve happiness as result or side effect. I believe if this “happiness” you are looking for is something you have to reach for, strive to attain. or search for it is probably not happiness but actually pleasure.
Now let me clarify this as I understand pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is something that is momentary and fleeting. It does not last and most often, once it’s been had, it has to be replenished or has it’s limits to being pleasurable and either has to be one up’ed or replaced with something else to achieve that feeling again. Pleasure is something we search or strive for, or have to attain, and sometimes at great costs.
Happiness, on the other hand is free. A state of being that is a result of being grateful for what you have in the present. Happiness arrives in our soul without searching and we great it like an old friend. It never wears out it’s welcome. While everyone prepares for happiness’ arrival in different ways, gratefulness is the primary component that heralds it’s presence.
Gratefulness can be achieved by anyone from any walk of life in any level of economic or educational status. All being grateful requires is that we stop and become thankful for all the things we have at this very moment that we were never guaranteed. Gratefulness creates a space for peace, joy or state of happiness that stays with us morning to night, day to day and even year to year.
Being grateful does take awareness or mindfulness. When we begin to worry about a future that has not happened or a past that will never change it is impossible to be grateful. We must return back to the here and now. How do we do that? Be grateful you just took another breath.
We are not guaranteed that we will breathe this breath and yet…once again you have done that. While some may say that they will of course breathe in the next second, I can with certainty say that no one, no entity, has guaranteed me I will take one more breath or that I will continue to breath tomorrow, next year or ten years from now. I am grateful right now at this moment I am breathing and I am alive. Someone is now taking their last breath and though they may have reconciled their life all the beauty and joy this world offers us is no longer available to them.
Most of us have the ability of mobility. There are millions of people who would love nothing more than to be able to just type a word on their computer, walk from the bed to the bathroom, run on the beach, climb a mountain and yet do to physical limitations they can not. I am ever grateful for my mobility.
I am grateful I can write these words and let anyone read them. Not everyone has the ability or is allowed the right to express themselves however they would like. Once again I am truly grateful for this privilege my life has afforded me that I was not guaranteed.
Starting with simple things like these that you may take for granted every day does fill you with a sense of peace, joy and happiness so, if you find your self in need of a reason to be grateful, go back to the breath..
Take a short minute and do nothing but breathe. Feel the sensations of muscles rising and expanding and relaxing and releasing Think of nothing but the life giving air that continues to fill your lungs and bring you life. It is something that you have done from the moment you arrived in this world and will continue to do until you leave this plane of existence. It is amazing and it is not guaranteed. It is a source from where happiness comes to us.