Could improving my life be as simple as getting in the habit of noticing more – paying more attention without judging too much or not at all?
What about happiness? If I seek happiness and at the same time do not have to have it, could I learn better how not to chase it but to just let it happen and then notice when it disappears?
Does pursuit cause the pursued to naturally run away? What will attract happiness back once it’s gone?
Below is an excerpt from my book Discovering the Obvious. A representative, from the creators of our universe after relating how they created it, shares their greatest discovery and some advice with us, advice that we already know deeply but don’t go there very often. The representative’s name is Teller.
“We know that you would like to know if other self-aware beings share your universe. We’re not going to reveal whether others share it or not because we think that telling you might take away from your adventuring, and your ability to surprise us as well as your ability to surprise yourselves. However, we will leave you with our greatest discovery and what we think is some good advice.
“Here’s our greatest discovery: The chance to work toward achieving happiness with the possibility of failing to achieve it and the possibility of losing it once it’s been achieved combine to make existing as a self-aware being worthwhile. You might summarize it this way: not being able to know for sure how things will turn out is the backbone of happiness.
“Our advice to you is about how to go about pursuing happiness or satisfaction. The first thing is that you shouldn’t try too hard to achieve either one. Trying too hard can cause what you seek to be continually just out of reach which is frustrating and causes unhappiness and dissatisfaction. You might want to think of happiness or satisfaction as a cat. When you show a great desire for a cat to come to you, what will happen? Most cats will usually move away from you or ignore you. What will happen if you ignore the cat and remain patient? It will usually, in its own time, come to you to receive your attention.
“You may be asking, So, what do I do while I’m waiting for happiness or satisfaction to come around? We suggest that you find something interesting to do and apply yourself, and whether you are working or relaxing, get in the habit of doing it well, and then, while you are occupied and not having to have happiness or satisfaction, one or the other will find you. And as you keep on doing a good job of working and relaxing, happiness and satisfaction will continue to find you again and again.
“You already know these things but sometimes it helps to be reminded.
“Adios for now, Teller”