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Saturday, January 10, 2004 |

Happiness is a Choice

I have been reminded lately of one of the universal insights: Happiness is a choice, and it is independent of situations.

This is an insight expressed in Buddhism and other wisdom traditions, known by segments of Western psychology (cognitive etc), and known by wise people anywhere.

We always choose to be happy or not, although we often choose from habits (and what our culture teaches us to choose in particular situations), and not from awareness.

I had a dream this morning which was a further reminder of this: I attended a reunion of people in their 70s/80s/90s, and they were all playing a variety of games (mostly outdoors). The games were set up so it was impossible to "win" (the rules were very simple and infinitely rich), and the goal was to learn to live with whatever happened. To find joy and happiness regardless of circumstances. And it seemed that they had all learned it, to varying degrees. They all found enjoyment and happiness in the games and each other's company, regardless of what happened at the various stages of the game. The dream seemed to be an allegory of life.

Yesterday I had a dream on a similar topic: I visited an intentional community where they took care of handicapped children and young adults. Everybody radiated a deep happiness, and I realized that it came from them recognizing the sacred in each other - their deepest nature, beyond all surface expressions.