Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
- Walt Whitman
You know those if-I-had-my-life-to-live-over kinds of emails with a lot of homespun widom which make the rounds on the internet that you nod ruefully over and delete and promptly forget? I had my own purple hat moment the other day as I was organizing stacks of old photographs ranging all the way back a decade into albums. As I went through the photos I was struck by how much blessings and abundance life had graced us with - opportunities, travel, experiences, friends, family, places, homes - so much beauty. And I was haunted by the thought - had I been happy enough? Of course I was happy overall, but did I ever dare let myself be truly deeply thoroughly happy? Did I ever give myself over to the experience of happiness the way a three year old in a puddle does? I think not. I was cautious, I held back - I had my load of fears, judgements, worries the same as anyone else. Yet now I see how extraneous they all were. Like Mark Twain said, "I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."
I'm starting to realize the profundity of Baba's injunction, "Be Always Happy". He's always exhorting us to "be happy, be happy, be happy". What does it really mean? Being happy is to choose love over fear, to stop and pause and consciously choose it over and over again until it becomes second nature. To make the present moment into your best friend. To want what you have, and dwell by the perennial springs of gladness and contentment. To love well and give fully.
The awareness of being alive is exquisite joy enough. All the rest is cherry on top.
Henceforth may we have the grace to Be Always Happy.