A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.
Excerpted from the workshop in Sacramento, CA on March 15, 2003
I feel like something of an expert, when it comes to chasing a happy life. I am positive that almost everyone feels that way at some point in their lives. The longing to live a joyous life is deep within each of us, but as Abraham intimates here, a happy life is too big a goal ever to achieve, all at once. Rather, he directs us to pay attention to the moments of our lives, to find satisfaction right now, and let that happen in each individual moment.
When I decided I didn’t want to be depressed anymore, (see here,) I experienced a thrill of excitement, because my life was finally going to be happy. For more than the first month, I was pleased and smiling and, as a friend says, living the dream. Then came the day when I woke in a foul mood, and felt like I was slipping back to depression. At that time, I only understood the two extremes of the spectrum of emotions: utter joy, or utter misery. I simply assumed that I was back in that depression I had only just escaped.
After a couple of hours, during which I grew more and more discouraged, I suddenly understood something for the first time, something I knew to be true but never really believed, (more all of nothing thinking:) Nobody is happy all the time. Not even the most cheerful person, with the most wonderful life, is happy all the time; everyone experiences gray areas of discouragement and sadness. So I needed to figure out what “happy” people did when they are sad. Right then, I finally surrendered my inflexible world view in favor of one more malleable, by deciding that what I would seek was contentment, whether I was happy or sad. I thought that was the answer.
Time passed, and I could see that I wanted more than to be content. I missed that frisson that came with a truly happy moment. Right about then, I read this affirmation for the first time, and I finally understood the “secret” which was really no secret at all: live in the moment. Put aside my concern for the rest of my life, and concentrate on being happy where I am in the present time. This was slightly more difficult than imagining being happy for the rest of my life, but I shortly found this adjustment to be well worth my effort. Truly, as Abraham states here, the trick is to connect one happy moment with the next, while never losing sight of the glory of each individual minute of our lives. And if that sounds like an overwhelming task, remember to draw back to the moment at hand. Eventually, stringing these happy moments together becomes easier, and we realize that we are finally living happy lives.