We are committed to a certain idea of happiness. We think that if we cannot realize this or that, if we cannot change this or that, then happiness will never be possible. Because of our commitment to that particular idea of happiness, we are not at peace with ourselves. We are trying to do something, to realize something; but maybe happiness is already there. All the conditions for you to be happy are already there. You only need to recognize them. But how can you recognize them if you are not present and aware?
Maybe you have not realized that the sun in the sky is a condition for your happiness. Just take one second to look, and you see that all life on Earth is possible because of the sun. All our food comes from light, from the sun. And when you look at the sun like that, you see the sun as your father, your mother—nourishing you every day. The sun is always there for you. You might think to yourself, “Nobody takes care of me, nobody loves me, nobody pays attention to me,” but the sun is nourishing you every second, every day. The earth, the trees, the water, the air, the baker, the farmer, the birds, the insects, they are all there for you.
Those of us who have practiced stopping and dwelling in the present moment are able to touch the many conditions of our happiness that are available in the here and now. We find out that we don’t need more, because these conditions are more than enough for our happiness. Stopping is very important. As long as you continue to run, happiness is very difficult. Stopping allows your body and mind to rest. Stopping allows you to recognize the conditions for your happiness that are already there.
The practice of mindfulness helps us to be happy right in the here and the now. We don’t have to wait ten years to be happy. The moment we breathe in mindfully, we feel calm, fresh, and solid right away. We don’t have to wait. Mindfulness helps us to be happy right now, today.
– Thich Nhat Hanh