What I know about happiness is this: We are supposed to be happy, and being in the moment gets us there. Being mindful, aware and totally present in each moment is all there is to it. Easy, right?

About 20 or so years ago, I was walking out of, and locking up my house to go have a weekend with some chums out of town. Just then, the phone rang. Ooooh, shoot! Should I go back inside and get it? Maybe it’s one of my chums, so I went back in.  Well, it was this guy I know saying,” I don’t know if you would be interested at all, but I have an extra ticket to see the Dalai Lama in about an hour.” So, I called my friends, told them I’d be late, and went off to hear His Holiness. I had the image of an auditorium with hundreds of people. It was a small room, holding about 40. Wow.

Dalai Lama

He came into the room, and walked up onto a little stage, and began to speak. I teared up just seeing him. The sound didn’t work.  We couldn’t hear him. Suddenly, I was having direct eye contact with him, and I can’t even describe the feeling of total and utter blissful love that shot through my whole being. Then his eyes shifted to someone else. The feeling inside stayed with me for a long time. I bet he looked at everyone in the room.  Then suddenly the sound came on, and he said, “People ask me why I am so happy all the time, given all I have been through, losing my country, watching my people get slaughtered in front of me.  It is a choice in every moment.  In every moment is the choice to be happy.  It can be work, but it is always a choice.“ At the end of that sentence, the sound went out again, and didn’t come back on. That was the message we were all meant to hear.

A friend of mine heard him interviewed on TV. One of the questions posed to him was, “what is the happiest moment of your life?”  He thought for a few moments, smiled and said, “Right now. This is my happiest moment.”

We can’t all be as enlightened as the Dalai Lama, but there are ways to go about being happy.

When present in the moment, we are neither stuck in the past, nor anticipating the future.

Many therapists will tell you that you have to dive way into your past and dig up all the skeletons lurking there. In my experience, while being in the present, the past will automatically come up to be healed. Much of what we learned in childhood is unconscious. The outer world, being a reflection of our inner reality, will present us with all the things we haven’t yet worked through, like a mirror. If we can, in the moment, dis-identify with the thought or feeling (ego), and watch ourselves react, we can use mindful self – compassion and self – forgiveness to heal the parts inside that learned whatever it is we are reacting to. Be the watcher, or the witness. Free yourself from your mind. Be the witness to your repetitive thoughts and patterns.  Listen impartially without judgment, without clinging.  Love the child. Embrace the pain. Let it go.

We are responsible for how we choose to respond. Not being identified with the ego takes its power away. Unresolved issues are not bad.  They are a perfect opportunity for Soul growth. You are dealing with the past and dissolving it through the power of your love in the present moment.

Soul Growth

If you don’t face the wounds from past experiences; If you don’t bring the light of your presence into the pain, you will be forced to relive it again and again, in different ways. Grieve. Do the work of healing. Bring wisdom into it, without clinging or judging. Just love. Ram Dass says, “It is a paradox of mindful living that without having embraced the past, we cannot let go of it. “

Listen to your body. It gives us symbolic messages about what needs to be healed. It begins by tugging on our shirt tails, then uses more drastic measures if we don’t listen.

It is easy, when reacting in a way that feels bad – in order to justify our inner state – to put blame on something or someone.  We are inclined to say, “I am upset because…..” I am upset because the world is in chaos.  I am upset because of climate change, and how we are hurting the planet. I am upset because we are losing our ecosystem, and the creatures that need it. I am upset because of something you did. The only real truth in these sentences is “I am.” Just- I am.  These words indicate you are in the present moment. I am. Bring yourself back to the present, by saying, “I am.” Then you are automatically the watcher of your experience, not identified with it.

Events don’t automatically have to make us feel a certain way. The assumption that our feelings are because of something external is inaccurate.

It is easy for me to be in the present moment when I am home. When I look out the window or walk by the creek or in the woods, I see beauty.  Beauty always grounds me in the present, because I am just observing and becoming one with what is. I am not thinking about it or creating some kind of commentary about it, I am just in it.


I can be 100% in the moment when I am in Nature. When I am doing tai chi in it, talking to lizards in it, meditating in it, laughing in it, crying in it, being 8 years old in it, being wise in it, being creative in it.  I am happy, mindful and aware in the moment. I am not “happy because.”  Rather, my state of being is at peace.

The harder part is being happy out in the world. I get upset because…..

I get emails from agencies that support Nature.  There are always horror stories, all beyond my control. The news bums me out. It disturbs my peace.  I am “upset because” of big business greed, or whatever the “because” is.

Ok, what I can do is meditate; do tai chi; put as much love and happiness out there as I can; recycle; volunteer; Love the planet; raise my vibration, pray for the highest good, and then TRUST.  When in the moment, when in the witness, we can bring wisdom into the upset, and heal ourselves. When we heal ourselves, the vibration reverberates all over the world.

raise vibration

Another way we leave the present is fear of the future. I am afraid of so much. I am afraid of violence; I am afraid of climate change; loss of bees; poisoned water, air, food; the pain of loss; the collapse. I am afraid that I am losing my frogs.  I am afraid of the pain of losing my beavers.  I am afraid BECAUSE of the news and the horrors that are happening everywhere. I am anticipating pain. We don’t need to invite thoughts about the future into our minds before their time.

Inner disturbance isn’t caused by outer experience.  Inner disturbance is projected onto outer experience.  We are the authors of our experience, and not a victims of your autobiography.

“When you are not involved in the upset, you can be clear to address the challenging situation with wisdom, caring and effectiveness.” Ron & Mary Hulnick

This is acceptance of what is.  Addressing the situation with wisdom is not resignation.

“We must be willing to open to all that the moment contains, including that which seems most threatening….to cultivate fearlessness.” Eckhart Tolle

It is what it is.  Fighting reality never works. Let it go.

Be present and aware.






38 thoughts on “Happiness

  1. WOW WOW WOW, I’m “blown away” by this blog!

    First, I went once to see and hear the Daiai Lama. A crown of many hundreds, huge auditorium. He walked out, everyone clapped and went nuts, he sat down, and started laughing. And laughing. And laughing. Pretty soon, someone else started laughing too. Then a few more. Then it spread like wildfire and we all laughed and laughed and laughed til the tears rolled, all hundreds of us. Then he got up, bowed, and walked off. THAT WAS THE MESSAGE! NO WORDS. AT ALL.I felt the same then as I do now. Blown. By Serious Happiness.

    Second, the Graphics in this blog are SPECTACULAR

    Third, I ADORE what Ram Dass said about Embrace the Past and Bingo, you can let it go…..it NO LONGER has a Grip on you…..And….I LOVE your recommendation of Embracing the Past by Being Present Now, Noticing What Comes Up from the past, Loving it, Accepting it(oh yeah, that’s All part of “my story”, and has contributed to me, NOW. Yup. It’s all ok. In this moment, I’m fine, safe, ok, Here I Am), and Returning Fully to the Beauty of This Moment.

    And I LOVE the Same Recommendation about how to deal with the future/Anticipation of Pain/Loss. We have No Real Idea of What’s Going To Happen. WE DON’T KNOW. It’s such a Ginormous waste of energy anticipating pain/loss/rejection. Is it TRUE right now? If not, Return to the Beauty of the Moment, Right Here, Right Now, where I’m perfectly fine. And can choose to immerse myself in the Beauty of this Moment. And Be Happy, for Goodness Sake!

    Finally, for me I find People endlessly fascinating, and as I get older and older (and younger and younger in my 73 years) it becomes easier and easier to see and feel and notice and Be Present with Each Person’s Beauty. And as I see/feel/notice it, I become immersed in it exactly as Mary describes being immersed in the Beauty of the Present Moment in Nature. Maybe Introverts/Highly Sensitive People do it more easily in Nature, and Extroverts do it more easily with People. Both are Fantastic, eh? Point is, we can ALL do it wherever we are. YES? Immerse ourselves in the Magic and Beauty of THIS moment. And there we are. Here I Am. Happy. Smiles. Grateful. To You, Mary B. Love from Jessica


    • That’s funny! I can totally see the Dalai Lama just coming out and laughing.
      Yup, yup total waste of energy worrying about what we have no idea about in the future!
      To me, you have always seen the beauty in each person, Jessica. True, I definitely am more comfortable and present in Nature, but I do notice and see people’s hearts and am very present with that. I deeply love the people I love. Professionally, I am totally immersed and present with people. Maybe because they are vulnerable and open pretty early on. I just need a lot of Nature time after being with people, especially if it is more than one or two.It is nice to hang out in Nature with people (1 or 2). Somehow that is just perfect. Big love and hugs to you! Thanks for commenting!


  2. Ah, Mary. You are very wise. I find it difficult to express the same feelings I have in the words you do but I express them in my being. I am loved and appreciated and even extolled by folks around me. The only reason I can explain why that is is that somehow those same thoughts you express in words I express in my life. I truly love people, regardless of who they are and they seem to know this. Thank you for your words. They ring so true. We should sit down some time and talk. Thank you. d


    • Yes, sounds good, Dennis! It has been a long long time. When I meet people, I like to think of them as old friends, one because it makes us both more comfortable and two, who knows, maybe they are!


  3. Thank you, Mary! You addressed ALL of my issues!
    This is one to forward to loved ones. This sentence jumped out.
    “The assumption that our feelings are because of something external is inaccurate.”
    Lovely. Thank you!


    • Thanks Julian! Haha, I’m glad I addressed ALL your issues! Thanks for commenting!
      Be well…and happy.


  4. Oh Mary, with every blog post I am left more speechlees. Pretty soon, my comment will be the blank space of speechlessness! I have no doubt you channelled this post. I LOVE hearing from the wise woman in you, and boy howdy, does she have gems to share with us. Thank you for pointing out the relationship between mindfulness in the moment and happiness. And for pointing out that happiness is not about ______________. Happiness is. All I know is that at the conclusion of reading your post, as I notice what is, I am happy.


    • What a nice thing to say! Thank you for saying those nice things about me, and the post. Don’t get too speechless, because I love getting your comments. Would be weird to have a blank page show up. I am glad that in this moment you are happy. May you always be. All you have to do is be mindful in the moment, right? Easy peasy. Haha. I could say I am happy in this moment BECAUSE of your comment, but….I will just say thank you and I am happy.


    • It was wonderful. Thank you for your comment, Sandy. I am glad happiness came to you.
      Blessings and Light,


    • Thanks! I think the more we can just notice, the sooner we realize each time we are out of balance. Then we can pull it back to “I am,” take some deep breaths, center ourselves inside, and just be quiet for a minute to get back in balance. For myself, it is practice, practice, practice. Thank you for reading and commenting, Cate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Mary,for these rumination about happiness, wisdom, and, of the lumination within.
    Everyone seems to have their own north star to get to the place of happiness within. The lumination of I am I, I is holy, I am peaceful, or happy, or loving everybody as my own brother and sister, is a perfect starting place. Staying there, making that conscious “choice”as the Dali Lama , is the difficult part. Like you said, “he has it down”.To get out of oneself with Prayer, with mantra, with meditation, (for me, Tai Chi and all of the above) is rewarding and necessary and then….my new puppy comes and bites me, drawing blood. How to do it is another choice. Just being, without interference from without and|or within is easier in some parts of the world. they have been at it a lot longer.Whatever we can accomplish here, is a real miracle with the complexity of our lives. I commend any and everyone who is. Bless you and keep it up! Thanks, Mary for this blog. Happiness is a really big deal!


    • Yes! The staying there is the hard part. Just being – without inner or outside interference would be pretty hard to maintain. For me, prayer, meditation, Tai Chi and mantra are very helpful as well – especially outside…or in the energy of a trusted group. The Dalai Lama says that happiness is the purpose of life. That is so simple and so huge. It is a lifetime path. It is hard with the complexity of our lives and the world – and whatever we can accomplish here IS a miracle. We will inevitable get triggered, which we can then heal with love and then bring ourselves back to harmony and balance, maybe a little wiser having done so. Thank you for your thoughtful and profound comment, Michele. Happiness IS a really big deal!!!


  6. Thanks, Mary. Really enjoyed your wisdom, and experiences. How awesome to have that intimate time with the Dalai Lama. We had a wonderful weekend with long time, like minded friends, which manifests as happiness in the sharing of each other. My key, or path to happiness is a deep gratitude for the smallest, simplest expressions of life, nature, kindness, sunrises, rain, tears, laughter, life.


    • Thanks you guys! I agree. I love your philosophy! I try to write about that in my posts that are more about Nature. I love sharing all those things with you. ❤


  7. Pingback: Happiness – Walking My Path – Mindful Wanderings in Nature – 2-1-15 | Higher Density Blog

    • Could you do me a huge favor and let me know what this means? I don’t know what “awaiting pingback” means. This is the second time this has happened, and I am new enough to blogging, I just don’t know. Help? Thanks!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m really enjoying your blogs, Mary – you have such a lovely way of writing!

    I treasure the memory of 2 little girls walking in the woods together, playing in the stream, being in the moment with the nature around us…

    P.S. Thought you might enjoy this:



    • Yes, I am so grateful I had you, and that we had the freedom to just BE in Nature. We could explore and learn, and feel the energy in our bodies and our Souls. We had such a good childhood in that way. This is a great youtube clip! Thanks for sending it. Thanks for commenting, Nancy. Really good to hear from you. ❤


  9. Pingback: Finding Your Own North Star | Walking my path: Mindful wanderings in nature

  10. Pingback: Light of Love | Walking my path: Mindful wanderings in nature

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