The following event explains how happiness is a state of mind. All of us should try to develop such attitude.
A man of 92 years, short, very well-presented, who took great care in his appearance, was moving into an old people’s home.
After waiting several hours in the retirement home lobby, he gently smiled as he was told that his room was ready.
His wife of 80 had recently died and he was obliged to leave his home.
As he slowly walked to the elevator, using his cane, I described his small room to him, including the sheet hung at the window which served as a curtain.
“I like it very much”, he said, with the enthusiasm of an eight year old boy who has just been given a new puppy.
“You haven’t even seen the room yet, hang on a moment, we are almost there.”
“That has nothing to do with it”, he replied.
“It is already decided in my mind that I like my room. It is a decision I take every morning when I wake up.
“Happiness is something I choose in advance. Whether or not I like the room does not depend on the furniture, or the decor rather it depends on how I decide to see it.
“I can choose. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulties that I have with the parts of my body that no longer work very well or I can get up and give thanks to heaven for those parts that are still in working order.
“Every day is a gift and as long as I can open my eyes, I will focus on the new day, and all the happy memories that I have built up during my life.
“Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw in later life what you have deposited along the way.”
This story also teaches us to deposit all the happiness we can in our bank account of memories.
We must also thank everyone for their part in filling our account with happy, fun-filled memories, which we are still continuing to fill.
Happiness and unhappiness are in the way we meet events not in the nature of these events themselves. Three people experiencing the same event will have three different experiences, depending upon the quality and texture of their minds, determined by their mental conditioning. One of them may be happy, another may be miserable with the same event and yet another may be simply indifferent to the event – neither happy nor miserable.
Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response. Most people would rather be certain they are miserable, than risk being happy. We simply cannot be unhappy unless we have decided to be unhappy. We should make up our mind to be happy and learn to find pleasure in simple things. We cannot prevent the birds of sadness flying over our head, but we can prevent them from nesting in our hair.
The body can’t be happy or unhappy. The one who is happy or unhappy is the finite ego. Liberation is the freedom from the alternating sense of happiness and unhappiness. Liberation is the total final awareness that there is no doer, no experiencer — only Absolute, Infinite and Eternal Bliss.
Remember these simple guidelines for happiness:
1. Free the heart from hate.
2. Free the mind from worry.
3. Live simple.
4. Expect less.
5. Give more.