I don’t care what the Beatles say, this week I discovered that happiness is an outdoor shower. I was visiting my best friend at the ocean when I stumbled upon this enlightening realization. While standing stark naked gazing up at the trees, enjoying the rush of warm water in the open air, I was overcome with complete and utter bliss. Who would have ever thought that the elusive happiness for which everyone is constantly searching, could be hiding right here at my pal’s summer home?
Yes, yes I know. I suppose the outdoor shower would get old after a while. I know plenty of people who seem deliriously happy just after they buy a new pair of shoes or a new car, and then a few weeks later, when I see them again they’re as miserable as ever. And I know that what makes me happy may not make you happy; you may have no interest at all in sharing your shower with spiders and hummingbirds. And I know, as the yogis say, that happiness is within us; it doesn’t come from any external object or experience. I know all that.
I also know, that for a parent, it’s nearly impossible to be happy when your child is sick or unhappy (I’ve covered this aspect before on this blog so I won’t go there again). And I know that there is no key to happiness (just as there is no road to peace as the hippies used to say). Happiness is the key. Yes, I know all that.
I read recently in a book that work is the key to happiness. I don’t believe that though, because I know plenty of people who work immensely hard, and are inordinately miserable. Nor do I think that leisure time is the answer; too many people find scads of unhappiness even while on vacation.
I don’t believe that happiness must be fleeting, as some suggest. I’m quite sure that it’s possible to live in a state of constant, never-ending bliss; to let go of cravings and desires, to live in the moment, and to see grace and beauty in the wind, the sunset, the flowers, and in your big toe. I think all that is perfectly reasonable, and I hope to get there one day.
One of my favorite yogi masters, Yogi Bhajan, was fond of saying, “Happiness is your birthright.” I happen to agree with that statement. But until we all get what is our due, I still maintain that an outdoor shower is as good a place as any to find happiness. Hummingbirds, spiders, and all.