Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting It Backwards

Much of the world tells us that if we do the right things, we will be happy. We think that happiness, if it ever comes, will be in our future.

But what if we can be happy right now? And what if that happiness makes us more likely to do the things we have always dreamed about? Rather than the other way around?

That might sound utterly impossible. We might be under so much stress that it is difficult to think about anything other than all the bad things, all the things we don't want, that are happening right now. But what if we could open to another way of looking at the world?

I've talked about the world as experienced by the left hemisphere and right hemisphere of the brain.

The left hemisphere is the list maker. We're used to the demands of the left side--we hear them all the time in the form of our thoughts. "You should pick up the dry cleaning. You need a better job. Why can't you be more like your sister?" The left hemisphere doesn't do happiness, because it is never complete. It is always comparing what is with what it wants and coming up short. And it is almost always hard at work, determined to do what's best for us.

The right hemisphere doesn't use language at all. Instead, it's planted firmly in this moment, and frankly, it's quite in awe of it.

Sometimes, we notice the right hemisphere. It is the one that stops and smells the roses. It sees the smile on a child's face. The wonder of a sunset. The right hemisphere is always resting. Always healing. And always happy. Regardless of our circumstances. Regardless of what the left brain is telling us is missing.

Do we really think we're going to find happiness by adding more to our lists? By focusing on what we don't have? By giving the keys to the left brain, which seems to want to be anywhere but here?

Or can we see that right now, we're already complete?


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