I was directed to share a message today, and I cannot say it is something easy to do. But you shouldn’t ask god if He has any messages if you don’t want to talk about it. The subject is happiness. So I ask you a question. Are you happy?
I am not talking superficially or just making chit-chat. I am talking about looking deep inside your heart and answering,” Are you happy?”
I am a bit of a melancholy person. It tends to be a bit of my personality. Throughout my teenage years and into my mid-twenties I struggled with depression. Today I am in a much better place than previously, but every now and then a little dysthymia creeps in and tries to take over my world. I can be trucking along just fine that then some damn pothole throws me off. Have you ever felt like that? If this stupid little thing didn’t happen, things would be great. If so-and-so didn’t give me attitude I would not have lost my temper and been fine. If that idiot hadn’t been brown-nosing my supervisor, I would still have a job. If people were more the way I want them to be, I would be fine…
Sometimes we get stuck in our own thinking. We get stuck on blaming someone, or rationalizing why we feel the way we do. Sometimes nothing happens and we just feel bad. We start to lose our connections with others, are relationships falter, and we stop talking to god. When we feel this way, it is so hard to get out of this thinking. We are stuck. It becomes our world, and then it is part of us. The idea of a “real” happiness is anathema. It is an unrealistic fantasy. It is hard to see that there is something wonderful and awesome around the corner when you can’t even see the street.
I want to share this story which I was directed to read this morning. I have never read it before, but I was called to pick it up, open it, and read the message that was given. It involves the Hindu gods but really hits the essence of what I think happiness is…
“There is a story,” writes Swami Vivekananda, “that the king of the gods, Indra, once became a pig, wallowing in mire; he had a she-pig, and a lot of baby pigs, and was very happy. Then some gods saw his plight, and came to him, and told him, ‘You are king of the gods, you have all the gods under your command. Why are you here?’ But Indra said, ‘Never mind; I am all right here; I do not care for heaven, while I have this sow and these little pigs.’ The poor gods were at their wits’ end. After a time, they decided to slay all the pigs, one after another. When all were dead, Indra began to weep and mourn. Then the gods ripped his pig-body open and he came out of it, and began to laugh when he realized what a hideous dream he bad had; he, the king of the gods, to have become a pig, and to think that pig-life was the life? Not only so, but to have wanted the whole universe to come into the pig-life!
– “How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” translated by Prabhavananda and Isherwood
It is hard to think that happiness is right there, outside the pig mire. We get so focused on what is here and tangible. The bills need paid. I have to work a job I hate. I hate to mow the lawn. But if we look beyond those things we can see that happiness is here right now.
There are many things I am disappointed with in my life. Believe 10 years ago I would not have seen myself here where I am right now. Whenever my negative thinking starts about my life I stop, and focus on what is good. I have a wonderful man in my life that brings me joy every day. I have a dog whose eyes look to me with huge amounts of love. I have friends that I can turn to if I am in need. I have a religious community that actually feels like family.
Happiness is right there. When those negative thoughts attempt to destroy your happiness, treat them like the squeeling pig. Rip them away and burst forth in the radiance and glory that is you. Have your own personal zep-tepi. If you need to do it every day or even every hour, then make it yours. Happiness is right there inside you.