The best person to ask about being happy here and now would be a kid. They live more in the present moment than most adults do and seem to be happy for no reason in particular.
Unburdened by duties, responsibilities, self-limiting beliefs or concepts such as 'happy or unhappy', joy simply bubbles up from within. Being happy here and now is simply an expression of their true nature.
They probably wouldn't be able to answer the question though, having never thought about it. And therein lies the secret. They are simply absorbed in the present moment and not thinking about much at all.
As adults, however, we are so distracted by our busy minds that we simply don't notice the joy and happiness which is always there inside us. Happiness is here now but we are somewhere else, lost in thinking.
Happiness doesn't leave us. We leave happiness.
I remember being in the park with my daughter when she was about three years old. She was fascinated and absorbed by every little detail around her ...the bug on the leaf, the airplane passing by overhead, the flowers, the dog fetching the stick.
I, on the other hand, hadn't even noticed we were in a park. Although my body had been there for several minutes, I was somewhere else, lost in thinking.
Research reveals that the average adult has around 100,000 thoughts
per day - which works out at around 1 1/2 thoughts per second. No wonder we barely notice the miracle of life that surrounds us in every moment..
Kids are happy here and now because they are here now. Adults miss the moment and the ever-present happiness within - the happiness of our true nature - through absorption in thought.
HAPPINESS IS HERE NOW. WHERE ARE YOU?
My day used to go something like this.
During breakfast my mind
was at work thinking about the meeting ahead. I would then get in the
car and arrive at work without being aware of the drive. The journey was
spent thinking about this and that. I would step into the office but my
mind was already thinking about the weekend. Familiar?
Our thoughts constantly pull us away from this moment into the past or
the future ...but you can only be happy here and now. And you can only
be here and now when you are not lost in addictive thinking.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the expression 'Peak Experience'.
Long distance runners, nursing mothers, artists, regular meditators and sports people 'in the zone' are familiar with this experience.
Witnessing a spectacular sunset or being deeply absorbed in a favourite pastime can also trigger a peak experience, which is characterised by a deep feeling of connection, present moment awareness, timelessness and joy bubbling up from within.
Just for a moment, all worries, all problems and all concepts such as happy or unhappy, vanish and we are left with a deep sense of peace ...and happiness.
The happiness that we experience during a peak experience is nothing more than the joy of our true nature, the joy that young children experience all the time.
Our obsession with thinking serves as a curtain that covers up the joy that is always there. During a 'peek' experience we simply get a peek at our true nature, which is always joyful.
The key to being happy here and now is to learn how to stop thinking so much and to fully engage with each moment as it arises.
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