We’ve all asked ourselves what is happiness?
Is it maybe just a feeling? Or just having stable circumstances in life? Or perhaps maybe something really personal that simply can’t be denied?
The Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh says that happiness is simply a way of being and it is based on an inner peace.
In his words: “Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
According to this Buddhist Master, a crucial part of being peaceful is acceptance. Unfortunately, in the western civilization there are so many people that are willing to change themselves for other people.
How can we find inner peace and happiness:
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”
So, to sum up – in order to achieve acceptance, we have to start embracing the present moment and all the beautiful things that are surrounding us.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love…Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
This doesn’t mean that we actually never think about the past or about our future plans. Of course we have to do that, but it has to be in a productive way:
“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”