I’ll be Happy When…
This story is one of them and this is me over, and over.
Do you see yourself in this story? I do.
Many people spend their lives thinking "I'll be happy when …" (I finish school, get my degree, get a job/promotion, get married, own a house, kids leave home, retire).
They spend their lives in anticipation of the next stage, never really enjoying the process or the journey.
Do you put off being happy until this or that happens, or waiting for some special event to lift you temporarily, only to feel flat and depressed once the event is over?
Do you also put off spending time with your loved ones until everything has been done and the in-tray (actual and metaphorical) is empty? In the meantime, our family or friends may have lost interest or moved on, and it's too late to regain the time we might have spent with them while we were busy emptying the tray. Face the fact that the in-tray will never be empty, there's always going to be tasks to be completed. Decide to make time now for the people that are important to you. All your work will get done in due course.
The present moment is all we have. Many of us spend our time focusing on past difficulties or anticipating future events, and end up living in fear of what might happen. However, regardless of what might happen tomorrow or happened yesterday or even in the last hour, the present moment is where it's at! If we allow our thoughts to be dominated by past events or anticipation or worry about the future, we'll never be happy in the present moment, which is really all we have.
Often we will be in a certain place and wish we were somewhere else - on holidays, in a new home in a different area, at a different job. Then we will be happy! Actually, if you spend your time feeling frustrated, unhappy and wishing things were different, then that state of mind will follow wherever you go. The opposite is also true - if you refuse to spend your time being negative, angry, or frustrated, and focus on being happy in the present moment, then happiness will follow you wherever you are. You may well find that your positive energy attracts to you the places, people and circumstances that you desire.
Do something creative such as painting, writing a book, music, or cooking something new and enjoy what you are doing for its own sake, not the end result. Don't worry what other people will think of your efforts, just immerse yourself in the activity and get lost in the present moment. Becoming immersed in something which is not generally considered to be a fun activity, such as vacuuming or ironing, can also put a whole new perspective on the task. Enjoy the physical side of vacuuming or sweeping, using your muscles and getting exercise. Enjoy the look, feel and clean smell of clothes and pillowcases (not the sheets - I wouldn't go that far!) as they are ironed. There's an old Buddhist saying, "carry water, chop wood", meaning that if you undertaking these tasks, then focus on the task and become at peace with it, rather than thinking about something else or wishing you were somewhere else.
The Buddhist art of "Non-attachment" is a useful tool to helping us live in the present. If you are attached to people, places, things, and outcomes which don't co-operate with your expectations, then you will experience fear, conflict and other negative emotions. Learning to release or detach from people or outcomes frees our spirit.
I can only hope by sharing this story, that I can help one person live in the present moment!
It did help me!