I mentioned in a previous post that I’m doing A Course in Miracles online and the principle I’m working on now is based around the fact that nothing outside yourself can make you happy. Our ego wants us to believe that if only this would change or that person would do this or it would stop raining or whatever, that we would be happy. Anyone who’s chased a goal and then felt deflated when they achieved it (as I have over and over), or felt like a new boyfriend would make them feel better until he didn’t, or depended on any external circumstance to determine their happiness, has been sorely misled.
The only chance for happiness is in ourselves, our surrender to God’s will for us, and our acceptance that everything is exactly as it should be. We don’t need to do anything to be happy. That doesn’t mean we sit around and meditate all day; it does mean we quit feeling as though things around us have to be different than they are right now in order for us to be happy.
I’ve begun a practice of radical gratitude. Every time I turn on the tap I am grateful for the water that comes out. I am grateful for the clouds in the sky whenever I look up. I am grateful that I can walk safely down my street without the threat of violence. I am grateful for this breath. And that one, too. How arrogant of me to wish I had anything other than what I have right now! Who do I think I am? Do I know better than God what is good for me?
My guinea pig eats more fresh fruits and vegetables than many children around the world. I’m not just grateful; I’m filthy stinking rich and it’s kind of disgusting that I ever thought otherwise. But I have, and I probably will again, and it’s got more to do with comparing myself to all the materially rich people around me than it does with any reality.