Dharma Topic: Is Happiness Naive or Realistic?

Dharma Topic: Is Happiness Naive or Realistic?

Discussion date: Thu, May 04, 2006 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

In the Plum Village tradition there is an emphasis on, maybe even apush toward, happiness in everyday life. One of the Plum Village songswe often sing goes:

Happiness is here and now.
I have dropped my worries.
Nowhere to go.
Nothing to do.
No longer in a hurry.

Happiness is here and now.
I have dropped my worries.
Somewhere to go.
Something to do.
Still not in a hurry.

For many of us in the Washington area, depressed by the morning newsand jaded by our often harsh daily interactions, unvarnished happinessmay seems immature, naïve, or unrealistic.

And yet, this simple turning to the present moment with an open heart may be just what our cynical souls need.
 
In a recent March, 2006, Shambhala Sun interview, Thich Nhat Hanh was asked: Why don’t we love ourselves? He replied:

We may have a habit withinourselves of looking for happiness elsewhere than in the here and thenow. We may lack the capacity to realize that happiness is possible inthe here and now, that we already have enough conditions to be happyright now. The habit energy is to believe that happiness is notpossible now, and that we have to run to the future in order to getsome more conditions for happiness. That prevents us from beingestablished in the present moment, from getting in touch with thewonders of life that are available in the here and now. That is whyhappiness is not possible.

To go home to the present moment, to take care of oneself, to get intouch with the wonders of life that are really available-that isalready love. Love is to be kind to yourself, to be compassionate toyourself, to generate images of joy, and to look at everyone with eyesof equanimity and nondiscrimination.

You are invited to join the Still Water community this Thursdayevening. We will begin at 6:30 with basic practice instructionsand an orientation to the Still Water community. Our meditation periodfrom 7:00 to 8:00 includes sitting and walking meditation.

As part of our program, which begins at 8:00, we will read the poem,The Good News, and then reflect and share  our reactions to it.First we will give voice to any negative feelings and thoughts – forexample, why we might feel the poem’s message is impractical for us.Then we will give voice to our positive feelings and thoughts – forexample, why we feel moved and encouraged by the poem.

We hope you can join us.


The Good News

They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published
by us.
We have a special edition every moment
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
Hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow you head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Plum Village, March 1992

Discussion Date: Thu, May 04, 2006


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