the secret to happiness

“do you want to be happy?” the guru asked. he was talking to a mirror.

the guru worked and wrote and talked with friends. he had his school, and his students, and his studies, but he did not have the one thing he wanted most: happiness.

one day, he was going on a walk, and as he walked, he thought about happiness.

he had discovered much #zen in his research. if he could only discover the secret to happiness, he would be happy, and he could share his secret with his students, and then they would be happy, and they would probably pay him money, too.

he was so lost in thought about happiness that he almost stepped on the sunflower.

“excuse me!” she said.

“oh sorry,” the guru replied.

“i didn’t see you there.”

“it’s okay,” the sunflower replied.

“well, i apologize.”

“could you move a little to the right?” the sunflower said. “you’re blocking my view of the sun.”

“oh, sorry,” the guru said again, and he moved to the left.

“no problem,” the sunflower said, and she stared up at the sun and smiled.

the guru left and went to his study. he had a #zentern bring him the full collection of texts on happiness, and the guru studied them for the secret to happiness, but it eluded him. whenever he thought he had discovered the secret, he tried it out.

for example, in one book, he read that the secret was eating delicious food. so he went to a cafe and ordered a dozen yellow-curry sandwiches, and he ate them all, but they only made him more full.

and then he read that exercise would make him happy, so he ran around the lake, but that only made him tired.

and then he read that helping others would make him happy, so he actually showed up to one of his classes and taught his students, but this just made him frustrated with their lack of progress. certainly not happy.

he read that the secret was meditation, so he spent a week sitting and counting his breath. he reached numbers never previously known, and he became very #zen, but still, he was not happy.

and then, he remember the sunflower, and how she had smile up at the sun, and how happy she had been, and he went to her and asked, “sunflower, what is the secret to happiness?”

and the sunflower said, “huh?”

and the guru said, “you are the happiest one in the whole village. please, teach me your secret, so that i may be happy, too.”

and the sunflower thought for a moment and then she said, “i don’t think about happiness, really. i just think about the sun. so i’m afraid i’m not able to help you.”

and the guru went back to his school, all the while staring at the sun, thinking about it, and it did not make him happy, though it did hurt his eyes. but that night, as he laid in bed, he understand what the sunflower had meant. or, at least, what she meant to mean.

it was not that the sun was the secret to happiness. the secret to happiness was not to pursue it. if you struggled to be happy, you never were, but if you worked hard and shared your #zen and forgot about being happy, then you would be.

“that is the secret,” the guru said to the mirror. the mirror smiled back.

0  ·  archives  ·  learn to meditate  ·  #zen