Saturday, February 18, 2012

Be Happy. See HAPPY!

This evening I saw a film that struck me deeply. The film is called, simply, "Happy". Directed by Roko Belic and with Tom Shadyac as executive producer, this is a film that carries a message without all the "holier-than-thou" attitude and force-feeding that many films and books of this genre display. Through scenes of people from all walks of life, it helps us realize that happiness comes from within. Not from without. From a simple and money-poor rickshaw wallah in Calcutta, a formerly wealthy German businessman turned charity volunteer for Mother Theresa's shelter for the sick and dying, we witness how amassing monetary quantity does not bring happiness, but attachment. From a clip from a talk by the  Dalai Lama we learn how compassion is inherently in our very bloodstream from the moment we're born. From a visit to the centenarians on the island of Okinawa we feel younger just watching their zest for life. A truly remarkable event. Happiness is contagious.

It made me think of a couple of quotes I've recalled almost daily for years now, and yet I've failed to put them into practice on a regular basis. The first one is something I read when I was a college student; something that the great Mahavatar Babaji, alleged immortal yogi of all yogis who still lives among us earth dwellers today, said: "One's happiness [in life] is directly proportional to one's own self-discipline". 

The other quote is something I will always remember from a lecture tape I had of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn, which I listened to so much that I eventually wore it out: "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy". This is something that I've found so very true and useful for me personally. Smiling when everything around you is crashing becomes a discipline in its own rite.

I encourage you to see this film. And let yourself absorb it. You may find yourself tomorrow with a bag of quarters feeding parking meters for total strangers!

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