I watched a movie called Hector and the Search for Happiness over the weekend and in it was a line that really stood out for me. Hector (the lead character as demonstrated by the movie’s title) asks a Buddhist monk how he’s happy with all that he’s been through in his life. The monk replies emphatically, “I’m happy because of all I’ve been through!”
What a simple yet profound thing. I think a lot of us, myself included, think that happiness is never going through hard times. Happiness means things never going wrong or not struggling. But in its true essence, happiness is actually a result of hard times, the result of things going wrong and is what comes out of struggle. To be able to overcome any odds and still be able to greet the world with an open heart and an open mind. If we didn’t have all of those, how would we be able to recognize joy and let that happiness fill us up?
I recently started meditating. I know, Buddhism-loving me had never quite been able to bring myself to meditate even though I’m probably one of the people who could benefit from it the most. I have a lot of trouble shutting my mind off. I live in my head sometimes and it’s not always a pretty place and it keeps me from enjoying the moment. I lose sleep stressing out about things. So to be able to put myself back in the present and meditate on positive things like compassion and self-acceptance really helps a great deal. I’ve only started with about 5 minutes a day but I think it’s really helping. Like anything. it’s not a fix all but it’s a great link in the happiness chain.
I actually meditated on this very quote the other night too. I’m not happy in spite of muscular dystrophy. I’m not happy in spite of seeming to get myself into the most ridiculous situations or making stupid mistakes sometimes. I’m happy because of all of those. They’ve shaped who I am today and they’ve allowed me to appreciate all the good I have around me. Thanks Hector.