“Happiness is not a state at all, in any static sense; for happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck, Time for Each Other …
Margaret’s analogy of travelling is rather suitable when looking at our happiness in life–especially in the context of the entirety of one’s life. Happiness is not a destination we can set sail for and expect to reach; rather, it is the journey. And as we go from moment to moment in our lives, it is our choice whether or not to experience happiness. This is why the happiest people I know have never needed a reason to be happy–they just see being happy as a much better way to go through life. We can learn a lot from these types of individuals–especially in regards to not depending on situations or circumstances for our happiness.
Nearly all of us have experienced some form of travel during our lives–whether that is riding in a car, train, airplane, or boat, or via some other method of transportation. And during those travels, I am confident that most of us found the sitting and the waiting aspects of it to be rather unpleasant, not to mention the anxiety and boredom that develop if we start thinking about the destination rather than our current surroundings. But if we keep our minds only on where we are going to be rather than where we are, then we tend to overlook or disregard much of the beauty that is all about us. We miss the beautiful countryside rolling by outside the windows, with the multitudes of colors and living creatures, and we miss the opportunity to help another person or make a new friend. By concentrating on the destination, we become passengers in a state of slumber, rather than travelers on a journey.
In addition to happiness not being a destination, it is also something that we cannot await. For when we wait for it to arrive, or for us to arrive at a state of happiness, we pass it up right here and now. If you are not currently happy in life, then you are saying that something about your present circumstances is keeping you from being so, even if you instinctively know that this is not the case, for happiness comes from within and is not a result of any outside conditions.
Our goals and our dreams serve as great guides in life; yet it is our ability to give up a goal once we realize that another path leads to fulfillment, that can lead us to much more extraordinary destinations along the way.
If I want to travel through life as a happy person, and not a miserable voyager waiting to reach his destination, then I simply have to allow myself to do so. This, of course, sounds much easier than it actually is, as most true things in life often do. But if I focus on the way that I travel through life, eventually, the most marvelous thing happens… the destination ceases to matter. I am simply happy, content, and satisfied no matter what I end up doing each moment of my life.
Take one hour out of your day and try to remain happy the entire time.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people go through life feeling and acting down and dour?
How can we change the face we wear through life by changing our attitudes towards life? How might we go through life happier?
Where and how do we learn that reaching destinations is a way to make ourselves happy?
For further thought:
“Goals give direction to our lives. We need to know who we are and where we want to go. But the trip itself, the steps we travel, offer us daily satisfaction moment by moment–fulfillment, if we’d but realize it. Too often we keep our sights on the goal’s completion, rather than the process–the day-to-day living that makes the completion possible.” ~ Karen Casey, Peace a Day at a Time