“Please help me,” one recent conversation with a man named Richard began. “I see people all around me who are happy and it seems so unfair. I’m not a bad person. I always try to do my best. Don’t I deserve a bit of happiness in my life too?”
When I smiled he briefly took offense, until as gently as I could I pointed out the essential humor in his request.
It would be as though someone came to me saying “Please help me -I see people around me with noses and it seems so unfair. I’m not a bad person. Don’t I deserve to have a nose on my face too?”
Happiness is our nature. That doesn’t mean we always feel good – any one of us can get caught up in thought at any time, and in so doing we become instantly subject to every emotional color in the spectrum. But to say that means that happiness comes and goes would be like saying that because there are clouds, the sun is not always present. Even in the darkest hour, the sun is still there, right where it’s always been – it’s just that in that moment, there is something between us and our clear seeing.
As we spoke further, Richard and I explored some of the other things that he had thought he needed to “practice” in order to have.
“I’d like to open my heart more,” he said. “Is there some practice I could do to get better at opening my heart?”
Just then, my daughter Maisy ran into my office, asking whether she could go outside to catch some fairies.
I said yes (after all, I’m not an ogre), and then returned to my conversation with Richard.
“Do you think Maisy needs to practice keeping her heart open?” I asked him.
“Well, no, but she’s just a child. She hasn’t learned to close her heart yet.”
We left those words sitting in the silence for some moments, which I finally broke with this quote from Arnold Patent in his book Money:
“We don’t create abundance. Abundance is always present. We create limitation.”
You don’t need to create abundance because abundance is already there. You don’t need to create love, or well-being, or happiness, because love, well-being, and happiness are part of our essential nature. You don’t need to learn to open your heart or connect with others because that’s just what happens when you don’t stop it from happening.
Do you need to practice not stepping on the accelerator of your car if you’d like to slow down?
Not really – because all you’re really doing is just noticing. And as soon as you notice that you’re the one stepping on the accelerator, you can just stop.
The moment you actually see yourself closing down your heart or cutting off from your good feelings for another person (because after all, they left their socks on the floor or didn’t say ‘thank you’ or ran into your office when you were with a client), you probably will just stop, because you have an innate common sense that tells you that if you keep shooting yourself in the foot, you might want to put down the gun before you go in for toe surgery.
For me, the beautiful unfolding of life is in this seeing:
Have fun, learn heaps, and happy new year!