On my wall, I have a wonderful photo of two Tibetan monks, heads thrown back in paroxysms of laughter. The person who took the photo told me he had never met people with more simple joy bubbling up all the time. Yet these monks live with virtually no amenities, never mind luxuries. What they do have is a sense of connection with Life as they understand it, and the community in which they have chosen to live.
I think that in North America, it is important for us to ask ourselves some simple questions: “What really makes me happy? What causes me to throw back my head in helpless laughter? What gives me a sense of inner “glow”?”
If we aren’t as happy as we would like to be, it is important to get a conscious understanding of why this is rather than to keep doing what we have always done. There is a great quote which says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
For most people, answering the question of what really makes them happy involves examining what they truly value. A simple way to do this is to imagine your life without each of the elements which make it up. You may find, as many other people have, that the thing you take most for granted is the thing that takes your breath away when you think of losing it.
So what are you paying most attention to in your life? To what do you give most of your time? When we organize our lives so that we give a significant percentage of our time to those things we value the most, there is less likelihood of losing them, and less regret when we do.