Happiness is a part of you. It’s always there, you’ve just forgotten where to look. It’s a lot like a cat’s tail. It’s always there, yet one day, they turn around and are surprised to see this “thing” moving. So they start swatting at their own tail. Dog’s do it too, running in circles chasing their tail. Not realizing that their tail is a part of them. Then when they finally do catch their tail they don’t seem to know what to do with it, like the way people don’t seem to know what to do with happiness when they find it. Some people have been telling themselves the same depressing story of their life for so long they don’t know how to live and embrace anything other than what they have convinced themselves of. They’ve caught their own tail and now don’t know what to to do with it.
This can be a similar problem to the way some people believe the 8 limbs of yoga work. Or better yet the way karma works. Karma and the 8 limbs of yoga are not linear. It’s not if I do this…I will get that. We live in a culture strongly based on immediate gratification. Life can be like that stick at the amusement park that tells you when you are tall enough to ride the ride. We have to experience growth first, before we can have some of the things we want in life. No amount of standing on our tip toes will solve the problem. It’s just not time, we are not ready yet. Understand that if you rode that ride now your life would be in danger. Somethings we are just not ready for. Are you really ready to be happy?
I once experienced very linear karma but in most cases it’s more of an accumulative thing. This lady was riding my bumper at 6:00 in the morning down a two lane road. She decided to pass me crossing the double yellow line and was immediately pulled over by the cop that was behind her. She was so focused on where she needed to be, that she forgot to focus on where she actually was. But in most cases doing the right thing, the good thing, won’t pay off in some immediate result. But there will come a day where those right actions will leave you right where you are supposed to be .
If we are always focussed on where we are going instead of where we are, we miss the joyful moment that is unfolding right in front of us. What makes you think you are not happy right now? Is it that someone else’s happiness looks different than yours? Is it that happiness didn’t show up on your timeline? Is it that happiness didn’t have enough bells and whistles for you? Is it that no one is there to witness it? A lot of the time we are happy, we just won’t admit to it because there is no audience. There is no one there to congratulation you for your happiness. The truest kind of happiness is the happiness you can experienece in your most ordinary moments. These are the easiest moments, but we seem to label them the least worthwhile. So many times we are laying our happiness on the behavior of others. If they would only do this, show up here, give me that, tell me this, I’d be happy. How can happiness be based on so many conditions? Aren’t you the only one responsible for your happiness?
This is why I love a good home yoga practice, and why usually I find so much happiness in it. The only person I am counting on in that practice is myself. The only person I could let down is myself, if I don’t do the practice. But most times I find that once far enough into the practice, whether its going good or bad doesn’t seem to determine my happiness. What I usually experience is my happiness comes out of being grateful that yoga is in my life, and that I’m well enough to practice. I’ve gained enough experience to realize a good yoga practice isn’t made by its outward appearance but more so by what you get for your effort.
Happiness doesn’t come wrapped in shiny paper with a bow around it. If you’re looking for happiness to look like a party and that you are the guest of honor, don’t hold your breath. Instead breathe (prana) into the life you have that’s just wrapped up in the ordinary things, and stop chasing your own happiness tail. Happiness is all around you, and available to you when you stop demanding it look, act, and behave a certain way. And if your not getting the happiness you feel you deserve maybe you should start telling yourself a new story or take another look at the story you already have. But remember, your happiness tail isn’t going to be attached to someone else’s bottom. Thomas Edison’s once said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.“, you might say this of happiness as well. Happiness is independent, and we all already have it inside us.