1st Moon of Happiness
Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment."
---George Santayana, The Life of Reason
Is happiness the goal of life? Am I pursuing the things that yield ultimate happiness? Is wealth necessary for happiness? Are there limits to happiness? Why does happiness often seem hard to achieve and maintain? "Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness." The authors of the American Declaration proclaimed happiness to be one of the essential rights that make life worth living.
"If we were to ask the question: 'What is human life's chief concern? one of the answers we should receive would be: 'It is happiness.'" Every philosophical and religious system has offered its pathway to happiness for the individual and the group. Happiness has been related to pleasure, refuge from pain, intellectual contemplation, union with God, friendship, children, wealth, honor, successful activity, and even state burial with statues! ".
The concept of happiness--while difficult to define-- is obviously here to stay. But the desire for happiness can set up expectations that are often hard to fulfill. The right to pursue happiness was conceived of as an inalienable right; the entitlement that everyone be happy was never promised.
What Does Bring Happiness?
"No man is happy who does not think himself so."
---Publilius Syrus, Maxims
Happiness is not to be found in wealth, education, youth,geographic location, having children, or belonging to a particular gender or race. If these do not define happiness, what does? Although it is not "all in the head", psychologists and philosophers agree that happiness is primarily a state of mind or mental attitude. This explains why it is difficult to find relationships between happiness and external life circumstances.
Our happiness is produced, not by our external life conditions, but by our perceptions and thoughts about our life and what happens to us. We are not upset or made happy by events, but by our reactions to events. As Shakespeare put it,
"What is aught but thinking makes it so." So the pursuit of happiness involves finding ways to gain control over our state of mind-- the ultimate source of happiness. Happily this is something we can control.
There are important sources of happiness that are exceptions to this rule because they don't lend themselves to obvious control. Research suggests thatpeople born with a cheerful disposition tend to have an easier time sustaining happiness. A group of teenages who were happy in the 1920's were found to still be happy when studied again fifty years later.
I believe that the essence of happiness is defined by a person's state of mind, positive relationships with others, and balanced living that includes a higher purpose reaching beyond the self.
Most studies of happiness--from ancient texts to modern popular and psychological works--identify a common set of key elements that are needed in the pursuit of happiness:
The First Cycle of The Moon!
Wokini' by Billy Mills)
Appreciate What Life Has Given Me
YOUR HAPPINESS IS LARGELY DEPENDENT ON THE WAY YOU VIEW YOURSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU. TO BE HAPPY, YOU MUST VIEW YOURSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU AS SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL. THIS PICTURE DISCUSSES THE TEN TRUTHS OF HAPPINESS. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE AND IMPROVE EVERYTHING YOU DO, MASTER THE TEN MOONS. YOU’LL FIND YOU’VE BECOME A BETTER, HAPPIER PERSON.
The First stick needed to fuel the Fire of Happiness!
The First Cycle of the Moon After the Man had finished writing the meaning of the fourth picture, the two rose from the shade of the tree and took a walk. David thought about it for a long while. While he walked, he thought about his sister and the fun they used to have together. Although he didn’t tell himself that he was happy, the pleasant thoughts of them playing together made him feel better. He couldn’t help but smile. More important, David also knew why he had been feeling so depressed over his sister’s death. In the same way that sequences can be used to make him happy, they had been used to make him feel sad. David had been thinking of the funeral, or the moment when he first knew she had died, or how much he would miss her in the future. He had been thinking of things that hurt him greatly. He couldn’t help but feel horrible. From that point on, he wouldn’t think of those things. When he thought of his sister, he would think only of their fun times together or her spirit flying free. These thoughts would help him feel good.
As the two walked, David also looked at the wonder of Mother Earth. She was beautiful and peaceful—and a great teacher. Perhaps she could help him with the question he was thinking about now, a question that bothered him greatly.
The Man had told him that he could be happy if he meditated. He knew it was true … but isn’t there something else to the feeling of happiness? Yes, David thought so. To him, happiness isn’t just a feeling, it’s a way of looking at the world. When David looked at the Man, he saw peace and contentment on his face. There was strength, beauty, and softness in the Man’s movements. David believed that while meditation helped, the Man’s happiness was fueled by the way he looked at the world and the way he lived his life. He took pleasure in everything he did and saw.
This was the question David needed Mother Earth to answer. He wanted the answer very badly because he wished to be more like the Man. He wanted to see the world in the same way the Man did. That, too, David believed, is a secret of happiness.
The Man did not speak while David thought of these things.
After they had walked in silence for a long while, the Man spoke. “David, you look confused. Is there something I can do to help you?”
“I’m not sure. I’ve learned so much from you, but I feel that something is still missing from my life.”
“Well, I know I can be happy when I want to be, but I need something else in my life.”
“Do you want to see the world with new eyes?”
“That, my friend, is the meaning of the next picture.”
David turned to the Man.
The Man nodded.
“Yes. Happiness is a fire that needs to be fueled. You can meditate and feel good, but to have happiness transcend your life and everything you do, you must lead your life with certain beliefs. Just as you have rid your life of the eight lies of Iktumi, you must fill your life with ten absolute truths. These truths are the secret of a better life. If you lead your life with the ten truths and meditate daily, you will be happy. You’ll see the world in a way you’ve never seen it before. You will appreciate all life, love all things, and have an unseen strength that will help you through any problems.”
“What are the ten truths, and how will I learn them?”
“The ten truths are outlooks on life. They are quite simple to explain, but you must take the time to learn them. You must make them part of your life. To learn them, you must master each of them one at a time. You must not proceed to the next outlook until you have mastered the one before it. By doing this, they will not be forgotten.”
“How long will this take?”
“It will take ten cycles of the moon—a little less than one year. You’ll begin to learn an outlook with each new moon. You’ll read the outlook on your new scroll three times each day during the cycle—read it immediately following your meditation. When the next new moon arrives, begin to master the following outlook. In less than a year, you’ll have changed your life completely. You’ll have learned the secret of the ages; you’ll have mastered yourself. You’ll become a teacher and will be sought by others who wish to learn from you.”
David thought about the commitment. Ten cycles of the moon? That was a long time. Could he do it? He sat silently for quite a long time before he came to his answer. Yes, he knew, he would do it. He would master the outlooks because he could expect no less of himself. He has been given the key to a better life; he has been given the key to happiness. This is why he had come to Paha Sapa.
The Man spoke. “The outlooks will do much for you. Not only will they make you happy, they will improve everything you do. Everything! There is nothing as important in life as to do what I have asked.”
“When do we begin?”
The Man smiled. “Look at the fifth picture on the scroll.” David saw a picture of a man using sticks to fuel a fire. There were ten of them. “What is the first outlook?”
“It is the most basic truth of all. It teaches you how wonderful you are. It helps you lead your life with love and hope. During the first cycle of the moon, I want you to lead your life—each and every day—with the belief that you are the most special thing ever created.”
The Man cleared his throat. “Listen, learn, and say the following things to yourself three times a day. By the end of the cycle, you will believe them.”
David began to write the first outlook on the new scroll.
REALIZE I AM THE MOST SPECIAL THING EVER CREATED
The First Stick Needed to Fuel the Fire of Happiness
Since long before the sun rose in the sky and even before Wakantanka created the womb of Mother Earth in which we live, there has never been anyone exactly like me. No person in the past has had exactly my characteristics, my personality, or my abilities. No one has ever grown at the same rate, learned the same things, or wondered about life in the same way I have. Nor is there any worry that anyone ever will, because I can’t be duplicated in the future. My place in history is secure because no one will ever be the same as me.
I am the most special thing ever created.
Why am I so special? Because I have things that no one else can ever have. I am unique in this world, and no warrior or chief or common man can ever lay claim to the things I have. I alone have my thoughts and hopes. I alone have my beating heart, my stamina, and my love of life. Can anyone else lay claim to my dreams? Can anyone else love like me? Is there anyone who sees exactly the same color I do when I look at a budding flower? Has anyone before me ever heard the howl of a coyote with exactly the same pitch? Will anyone ever be able to duplicate my deeds and actions? No, I know these things are mine and mine alone. How can I not be happy with these thoughts in my heart and in my soul?
I am the most special thing ever created. Because I am the most special thing ever created, I am valuable. Like a diamond, I am rare and beautiful. I am worth more than anything in the world. What good is money when compared to me? No money could ever buy my thoughts. What good is fame when compared to me? No amount of fame can make me more special. What good is any earthly item? None can be traded for me. My happiness is secured by this knowledge.
I am the most special thing ever created.
I know I shouldn’t waste my life. I am here for a purpose. I am here to grow in wisdom. I am here to love all things. I am here to honor Wakantanka. How can I do these things? I can begin by being happy. I can be happy if I realize I am the most special thing ever created. If I am so special, I can surely smile with pride at who I am. I can be happy, I will be happy—I am happy.
I am happy because I am the most special thing ever created.