When are you going to be happy?

That is the question I have been asking myself throughout my life, and I had always fed myself answers like:

– When I graduate high school

– When I have a boyfriend

– When I graduate college

– When I get married

– When I get a job

– When I get a raise

– When I quit my job

– When I lose 20 lbs.

– When I master a headstand in the middle of the room

But, what about now? Why not be happy, right here and right now?

Truth be told, I am constantly waiting for the next milestone to bring me happiness. But, I realize this is an illusion, there is no milestone. If I do not choose happiness at this moment, I have lost a moment of my life without happiness. Knowing this, why do I not feel the bliss of happiness?

Happiness, like love, or yoga, has a fluid definition. I am not sure what my happiness means, and I confess that I am afraid of happiness. Maybe happiness is so ecstatic and blissful but it could be lost so easily. Perhaps happiness is more subdued like feeling calm, centered, appreciative, present… Maybe I am really trying to say that I want to snap out of my apathy and inertia and feel more interested and engaged in every aspect of my life.  Perhaps I have been reunited with the familiar condition of mild depression.

As I have been learning to observe my emotions and mind patterns, I understand depression will probably come and go throughout my life, and when it arrives, I acknowledge it and treat it.

But beyond the serotonin challenge in the physical body, perhaps learning to be happy is letting go of the definition of happiness.  In A Life Worth Breathing, Max Strom said ” One of the ways we sabotage ourselves from experiencing happiness by demanding our happiness in a certain form”

For me, this means stop beating my mind to submission until I feel a high elation.  It means in the moments of depression and inertia, I notice it, treat it, and have faith more than ever that I am not this mind and ‘this too, shall pass’. It means I start with paying attention to my breath, just my breath. It means I will appreciate the moments of calm, presence, joy, comfort, safety, warmth… because I feel good, and maybe that’s “happiness”.

It means no longer asking myself  “when are you going to be happy?”

photo by: Andrew Turner

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Flying Yogini
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 04:38:32

    For me the answer to this question had to go from big epic things like “when am I going to finish high school” to smaller ones like “am I getting on my mat today” or “is my latte scalding hot.”

    I’m working really hard on dancing right in the middle of my day to appreciate what I have and not longingly looking to tomorrow or two weeks or two years ahead to find what I’m wanting. It’s incredibly hard and something I seriously have to step back and remind myself to do EVERY DAY. But when I’m successful I find that I’m totally and completely happy right where I am.

    currently that is reading blog posts by lovely friends. xo

    Reply

    • YoginiBunny
      Sep 14, 2011 @ 09:02:44

      Nancy, thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts on this… you are so right, it is incredibly challenging, but when we do catch that moment of appreciating the present moment, it’s such a sweet moment. Namaste, awesome yogini you!

      Reply

  2. Yyogini
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 00:39:34

    This kind of thinking is natural for 99.9% of human beings I think. The thing is, even when we reach these goals, we are extra happy briefly (from a few minute to a few days), and then we adapt to the new state and we generate more desires that need fulfilling to make us experience that happiness jolt again. I used to think that the so-called yogis are crazy wackos for advocating that we need to learn to savor our breaths; now that I’ve learned how to do this, taking a deep breath feels like a smoker taking a deep drag out of a cigarette….. Oh so satisfying 🙂

    Reply

    • YoginiBunny
      Sep 15, 2011 @ 08:50:51

      Yyogini, Thanks for visiting and commenting on this post. You bring up an interesting point about breathing. In A Life Worth Breathing, the Author Max Strom argued that grief is stored in our lungs, and therefore many people smoke to unconsciously suppress the grief they are feeling. That made sense to me. He further stated that as some smokers continued to breath, they find themselves no longer needing to smoke to cope with life. I agree with you, by paying attention to our breath and to breathing is a great start. Take care!

      Reply

  3. Jennifer
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 14:15:40

    I’m going to check out that book on Amazon right now!

    Reply

  4. Thais
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 14:34:21

    Happiness comes from accepting whatever happens as whatever it is. So hard to do but so so important. My meditation teacher Tara Brach told us that recent medical research shows that people are often more happy when they are in the present moment then when they are day dreaming. Once we find home in the right now, we will fly through our lives in peace. ❤

    Reply

    • YoginiBunny
      Sep 22, 2011 @ 14:39:35

      Beautiful and well put “Happiness comes from accepting whatever happens as whatever it is” 🙂 It is a life long work in progress 🙂
      Thank you Thais

      Reply

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