Mark Twain once wrote, "I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." This profound and witty point is well taken. Others have shared the same sediment, such as Bobby McFerrin in his upbeat tune with a message, " Don't Worry, Be Happy!" And, "Worry is a prayer for what you don't want," says Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips.
Now let's be careful with the word "happy." Happiness as the opposite of sadness is not what I'm talking about. That type of happiness is fleeting and ever changing. Don't worry, be happy is not about acting happy or pretending to feel happy; it's true inner contentment or bliss. The yoga sutras describe this in the yogic attitudes or niyamas as samtosa which best translates as a state of contentment. I would add a state of acceptance of what is. If we don't want was is to continue, that's cool; we can act and think in such a manner at to change it. But step one is a peaceful recognition of the present moment and state of affairs.
"Great," you might say, "but how do I get there?" Reaching a state of inner calm amongst potential chaos starts with understanding that real lasting joy has no opposite. As the Buddhists and Hindus describe, it is like the center of a wheel. Generic happiness, sadness, anger, enjoyment are on the outer edges of the spokes; whereas bliss, real happiness, samadhi, acceptance, and inner peace are at the center. All the emotions spin around on the periphery, but that tranquil knowing is at the core.
There are no words that fully describe this state; sure words can point to it or attempt to illustrate what pure unadulterated happiness is. But it's an experience that is beyond language and the thinking mind. Most of us have at least had glimpses of inner bliss. Musicians may sense this state of being while playing, an artist while creating, or an athlete while running. Nature is always in this truly present state. You may have felt it when watching the sunset or perhaps when standing in an open meadow filled with grasses and flowers swaying with the breeze. A moment when your thinking mind pauses; there is no analysis or labeling. There is simply being. This is true happiness. And what's awesome is that with practice you can connect to it at any time.
So stop worrying about tomorrow, or yesterday for that matter. And start being with those around you--no labeling and no thoughts of how things "ought to be different." Then you'll see what I mean; happiness--real happiness--cannot be bound by words; it's too limitless for that. And when you stand in the center of joy, you know--really know--that everything is okay just the way it is.