Forget the pursuit of happiness! Stop pursuing it! Free yourself from its grips! Live Now! Be Happy Now! Even if it doesn’t feel that way. Even if you have “no good reason” to be happy. If you can’t be “really happy” then just be happy. Be the happiness you pursue! Then you won’t have far to go.
Bring happiness to others! Smile! Laugh! Laugh a lot! Surround yourself with happy people, not people who say, “If you do this you’ll be happy.” That’s not what I mean. I mean people who are happy! Not because of anything they have. Not because they found the right one, the right place, the right amount of money. None of that. Just because they learned that Happiness is first a choice. Lincoln knew it. He said, “I believe that people are as happy as they choose to Seijaku Roshi be.” Can you imagine that. He had the civil war, depression, loss, grief, opposition. What was he thinking? I don’t think he was thinking anything, I think he just decided to be happy.
After you have chosen to be happy, stay happy. That doesn’t mean you’ll never be sad again. What always follows happiness is sadness. But a truly happy person knows that what always follows sadness is happiness. “Flying high in April, shot down in May, that’s life…”
The Buddha said, “Life is suffering.” Then he said, “There is a cause for suffering.” If there is a cause, then suffering is conditional. Remove the conditions for suffering, no more suffering. Pursuing happiness is one of those conditions, because whatever we pursue, whether it be a person, place, or thing, is also conditional. Whatever is conditional is impermanent. The Buddha said, “One of the markings of suffering is impermanence.”
So, “Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it’s breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by If you smile through your fear and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You’ll see the sun come shining through for you. Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near That’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile. That’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile.” Or not.