Happiness is a Choice

I have come to a point in my life where I am starting to understand how I am truly in control only of my own responses to events in my life, not the events themselves. It’s a huge leap of faith, mostly inspired by my nothing-shy-of-heroic big sister, to embrace this fully and live it, but that is precisely what I am trying to do. The book “Happiness is a Choice” by Barry Neil Kaufman was just the start. I’ve blogged about it before. Quotations that resonate with me also help me keep focused. When I was much younger, I went on a kick where books Illusions and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach inspired me with thoughts like:

Here is
a test to find
whether your mission on earth
is finished:
If you’re alive,
it isn’t.

A few quotations about “answers” that speak to me lately:

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. – Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Very few things really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds – justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner. -Vampire Lestat

I think part of our continual struggle for happiness is wrapped up in impatience to have answers that do not yet belong to us or may never. Or they are other people’s answers imposed upon us, by our parents in childhood and onward, our spouses, our friends, our bosses, our neighbors, our rabbis and priests…And we are unhappy because we are trying to reconcile these expectations-disguised-as-answers with our own sense of reality or our secret hopes and dreams.

I wouldn’t say I’m enlightened. But I am definitely more interested in enjoying the journey without so much concern for the destination than I once had.

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