“The very purpose of our life is for happiness.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

What is your definition of happiness? This isn’t a conceptual question but one that I hope you will give your attention. I hope that you will write it down, look at it, wordsmith your creation, breathe it in, make your final edits, and then smile at it. It matters.

I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days as business “issues” have reared, and I am looking uncertainty in the eye. I don’t feel stressed until I attempt to sleep soundly only to find my mind and heartbeat whirling in a way that makes me acutely aware of my awakeness. And then I realize that while I have developed powerful coping mechanisms that allow me to live my waking hours reasonably present & centered, the truth emerges when my defenses are down and my mind is quieted by fatigue in the moonlit hours between dusk and dawn.

I even contemplated Nyquil as an aid, if I might be authentically transparent. And this makes me laugh a bit at my humanness.

And so here is the question I am pondering from the lens of the Dalia Lama’s quote: Does it truly matter? And if it doesn’t, what is possible? Imagine if you could wave your wand and the traffic no longer rattled you, the heated conversation no longer dominated your thoughts, and the “issue” at work no longer stoked the fear fire? Not because they aren’t reality but because you live above the fray?

What is “above the fray?” Presence. Happiness. Peace. Wholeness. Spirit.

Pico Iyer says “I love that word ‘absorption’ because I think that’s my definition of happiness. All of us know we are happiest when we forget ourselves, when we forget the time, when we lose ourselves in a beautiful piece of music or a movie or a deep conversation with a friend or an intimate encounter with someone we love.”

When undesirable and/or unanticipated circumstances arise, we can dumpster dive and find an entire gang of dumpster dwellers there to commiserate with us. Or we can choose higher order; to live above the fray even in the midst of society’s gravitational pull towards drama and reactivity.

What is your definition of happiness? And most importantly, how do you stay true to it when challenges arise?