Recently I’ve practiced the skill of feeling happy for no reason whatsoever. I wish I had learned this skill years ago. It would have saved me so much unhappiness. For some reason, I acted like a dunce and thought that I needed a reason to feel happy. This led to lots of pointless behaviors, like trying to do things in order to feel happy. What a bother, when I can just choose to feel happy whenever I want.
This whole idea that I need a reason to feel happy has really started to unravel. I rarely don’t want to feel happy, which seems like good enough reason to feel happy to me. I used to think like such an ignoramus that I would think, “I feel unhappy now, but I will feel happy when I get into a top university.” What a load of hogwash. Instead I will think, “I feel happy right now!”
I no longer find this skill particularly difficult. Learning meditation can certainly help make it easier to pick up, but U probably don’t even need it. I’ll describe the way I developed this skill, and hopefully U can learn it too. I have a lot of trouble thinking of a skill that I find more useful than this. Most skills I learned with the eventual goal of becoming happy, but this cuts right to the core of the issue.
A few days ago, I felt happy for several good reasons. Persephone had arrived, and as she made the weather a perfect balance between cool and warm with the sun and breeze playing off each other so delightfully. I sat in the fountain at Washington Square Park, listening to an amazingly talented drummer, Steven, channeling the muses through his simple drum kit. His two gifted friends accompanied him. They danced to his playing and helped him collect donations from the crowd arrayed around the fountain. A bunch of little kids joined in the dancing and one of the dancers, Bobby, invited the audience to come up to dance. I figured if a little kid can do it, I would too, so I joined in. It felt great to let loose in front of the forty some spectators, without a care in the world. Afterwards, I made friends with Steven, Bobby, and Kristin.
I felt fully present in the moment above. I consider that the important part of this story for developing the skill of feeling happy for no reason whatsoever. That meant I could really feel the happiness, and really notice all the details of the moment that accompanied that feeling. I find that important, because I find the brain acts as a big association machine. When I want to feel happy again, I just have to bring up the associations I’ve made with happiness. I just have to conjure up the crowd in the fountain, the bright noon sun against my skin, the scent of cherry blossoms, the ecstatic beat of the drums, and imagine myself fully situated in that memory. Then, as if by magic, I feel happy.
Next time U feel really happy, pause for a moment and notice everything about that moment. Everything that U notice acts as a trigger that U can use later to bring that feeling back. The more U practice, the better U get. I didn’t think it possible, but I feel increasingly happy whenever I want. I hope U find this skill as liberating as I do. Everything I do feels more enjoyable when I do it happily.