“The purpose of life is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama

This simple and profound quote popped up on my desk calendar today and made me think, why is it so hard to be happy?

So many of us are in pursuit of happiness.  We look for better careers, new homes or cars, travel to places unknown, start families, or even start writing a blog to find ourselves again.  (Hint—that’s me.)  Yet, despite our best efforts, the contentment that we seek always seems out of reach.  Maybe we shouldn’t be pursuing happiness at all.  Maybe the secret is learning to be (happy).

When I was a kid, my dad used to sing this old Bobby McFerrin song at me whenever I was upset:

Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t worry, be happy

In every life we have some trouble

But when you worry you make it double

Don’t worry, be happy

Don’t worry, be happy now

The best moments of my life have come in moments of being still and not worrying.  Do you not feel lighter when you lay in the grass staring at the clouds rolling by?  Have you ever stopped to look at the beauty of a fly’s iridescent wings?  Have you rocked to sleep on a boat in the middle of a lake?

I’ll never forget the peace and happiness I felt holding my newborn for the first time-watching her sleep and take breathes in and out in awe of the miracle of life.  My heart had never been so full that I didn’t want the feeling of happiness to end.

The modern life has led us all to believe that we must be doing exciting things and showing them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to find happiness.  Somehow we have tricked ourselves into believing happiness is something to earn or gain through effort and motion.

I think the pause is where the happiness exists.  Paul told us to “Let it be.”  Our happiness demands that we listen to him.  “Happiness is” Charlie Brown said.  Happiness is being.


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