I feel like I can spend the entire day here, making up for all the time I’ve spent indoors. I will just sit and relax, admiring the beauty of the world around me: the brilliantly blue sky, glazing trees in the sun, flowers, butterflies, and birds; all moving me in a special way.
I am sitting alone, but I won’t mind if someone comes over and talks. They can’t break my inner peace and silence. I am here, calm and still, letting the beauty of nature shine all over me, along with its warmth and serenity.
This feeling reflects something I learned recently: Happiness is a not state, but a process. Looking at a tree is the state but appreciating its beauty (shade of green, its glaze in the sun, moving leaves) is the process. What makes you happy is not the tree itself but the fact that you can notice and admire the beauty of the tree.
Many people see happiness as a state — “I’ll be happy when I achieve this”. So they work hard to make a lot of money, buy a new car, house, etc. only to find themselves in deeper dissatisfaction.
True happiness doesn’t come from the acquisition of a certain thing but from the appreciation of what you have. Understanding this and you can feel happy most of the time. Just look at things around you, within you and enjoy it.
Say, you’re having dinner, take time to enjoy your meal. Don’t use your phone while eating. Look at your food, take smaller bites, chew 20–30 times before swallowing. That way, you can appreciate what you eat. You won’t mind if the rice is a bit undercooked or the veggie is too bland because you’re busy enjoying your food.
But finding happiness in this way isn’t easy in this age of distractions. With digital devices taking control in every aspect of life, our attention is hugely divided. Multi-tasking becomes the norm — We open many tabs while working on our laptops, surf the net while drinking coffee, watch videos while eating. We can no longer focus on one thing at a time. And therefore, we can’t be happy.
So another key to happiness is to give everything you do the fullest attention. You can’t get joy out of drinking coffee if your mind is on something else (e.g. reading, thinking or gossiping). You get joy by being conscious of your drinking coffee — notice the taste, aroma, and how it makes you feel. And that can only be done when you shut out all the distractions — phones, messages, thoughts, gossip, etc. So in a way, being happy is a practice — a practice that’ll bring you discomfort from lack of action.
The good news is the more you practice, the better you get. So take a few minutes off per day to practice being happy. Simply take note of something good around you and allow yourself to enjoy it. Don’t think of anything else. Just be with it.