We  spend so much of our time searching for something.  Quite often we don’t know what that something is.  With photographers we search for  the light, the next brilliant shot or for inspiration.  Out of our photog role, we still search for many things.  Love, satisfaction, a great job – so many things.

Most of our searches can be redefined as looking for happiness.  But – do we always know when we have found happiness?  It seems that we define happiness too specifically, and it seems to be that for many it must include the material world.  It is hard to be happy if you are watching your child die of starvation or some horrible disease.  But unless we are faced with those nightmares, does the material play a role in happiness?

For me, happiness is found in tiny incidents in daily life – walking into a peaceful room after noise from outside; seeing bees in flowers; having a talk with a friend, watching light play across leaves or relaxing gratefully into bed after a long day.  The happiness and pleasure in these simple activities is with us daily.

But, this level of happiness is subliminal,and if we don’t notice it, don’t stop to appreciate it, then it goes and we continue looking for the kind of happiness that hits us in the face – winning money, finally wearing a wedding ring, buying a  new car.

Why do we believe that these big things constitute happiness?  Is it because everywhere we turn we are bombarded with advertisements that tell us that happiness can be bought?  Your next purchase will guarantee that the love of your life will appear or that you will be respected or envied by colleagues and neighbours?

The small things, the minutiae of life are for the most part, free.  No-one can make a profit from them and so they are devalued and dismissed.

The small things do cost us though.  They cost us time and attention.  We need to slow down to look at listen for them, we need to give ourselves space and peace to enjoy them.  We need to understand that our happiness is in our own hands, not the hands of a salesman or advertiser, or in the concepts of wealth and power.

Knowing that happiness is ONLY within our own control, not able to be given or removed by others also costs us spiritually.  It means that we need to assess how much of our unhappiness we chose to have, how little happiness we chose to look for.  While we can blame another for making us unhappy, or expect another to make us happy, we will never be happy.  Giving up this excuse, looking at ourselves clearly and taking responsibility hurts.

Accepting that happiness is within our own control also allows us to find happiness, because we are now free to look within and in the ‘free’ world for it.

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