The Happiness Equation

Happiness Equation

What is my individual capacity to appreciate? The word “appreciate” comes from the Latin pretium= price. So to appreciate means to recognize the full worth of something, to be grateful for something. The more I am able to extend this ability to see the value of the most simple and everyday things, the higher will be my degree of happiness. My first teacher said that as long as I am not in that intensive care unit with all the tubes wires attached to me, I don’t have a problem. In other words, the simple fact of my heart beating and my lungs breathing is already so valuable that no one can put a price on it. Even the wealthiest man will come to the point where the doctor will tell him that he can do no more even for the highest price; it is out of his hands.

This Happiness Equation is what Krishnamurti meant when he said, “My secret is that I don’t mind.” He was able to appreciate everything and so he had an absolute degree of happiness.

Ending Notions of Happiness

Each of us has a notion of how we can be happy. It would be very helpful if we took the time to reconsider our notions of happiness. We could make a list of what we think we need to be happy: “I can only be happy if … ” Write down the thing you want and the things you do not want.

Where did these ideas come from? Are they reality? Or are they only your notions?

Cover of "No Death, No Fear"

Cover of No Death, No Fear

If you are committed to a particular notion of happiness, you do not have much chance to be happy. Happiness arrives from many directions. If you have a notion that it comes only from one direction, you will miss all of these other opportunities because you want happiness to come only from the direction you want. You say, “I would rather die than marry anyone but her. I would rather die than lose my job, my reputation. I cannot be happy if I don’t get that degree or that promotion or that house.”

You have put many conditions on your happiness. And then, even if you do have all your conditions met, you still won’t be happy. You will just keep creating new conditions for your happiness. You will still want the higher degree, the better job and the more beautiful house.

A government can also believe that they know the only way to make a nation prosper and be happy. That government and nation may commit itself to that ideology for one hundred years or more. During that time its citizens can suffer so much. Anyone who disagrees or dares to speak against the government’s ideas will be locked up. They might even be considered insane. You can transform your nation into a prison because you are committed to an ideology.

Please remember that your notions of happiness may be very dangerous. The Buddha said happiness can only be possible in the here and now. So go back and examine deeply your notions and ideas of happiness. You may recognize that the conditions of happiness that are already there in your life are enough. Then happiness can be instantly yours.

Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear, pp. 53, 54

6 thoughts on “The Happiness Equation

  1. Meher Baba said, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
    Such a catchy quote, Bobby McFerrin used it for his #1 hit song.

    (whistling)
    Here’s a little song i wrote,
    you might want to sing it note for note,
    don’t worry, be happy

    in every life we have some trouble,
    when you worry you make it double
    don’t worry, be happy

    dont worry be happy now
    dont worry be happy
    dont worry be happy
    dont worry be happy
    dont worry be happy
    aint got no place to lay your head,
    somebody came and took your bed,
    don’t worry, be happy

    the landlord say your rent is late,
    he may have to litagate,
    dont worry (small laugh) be happy,

    look at me im happy,
    don’t worry, be happy

    i give you my phone number,
    when your worried, call me,
    i make you happy

    don’t worry, be happy

    aint got no cash, aint got no style,
    aint got no gal to make you smile
    but don’t worry, be happy

    cos when you worry, your face will frown,
    and that will bring everybody down,
    so don’t worry, be happy

    don’t worry, be happy now…

    don’t worry, be happy
    don’t worry, be happy
    don’t worry, be happy
    don’t worry, be happy

    now there this song i wrote
    i hope you you learned it note for note
    like good little children

    dont worry be happy

    listen to what i say
    in your life expect some trouble
    when you worry you make it double
    dont worry be happy
    be happy now

    dont worry, be happy
    dont worry, be happy
    dont worry, be happy
    dont worry, be happy
    dont worry
    dont worry be happy
    don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t do it,
    be happy,put a smile on your face,
    don’t bring everybody down like this

    don’t worry, it will soon pass whatever it is,
    don’t worry, be happy,
    i’m not worried

    • Yes, I was just effusing to a friend on FB about how easy it is to connect with all of Humanity’s greatest spiritual heritage due to the Internet ☼ ♥ 😀 ♥ ☼

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