Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Then I’ll be happy - story from Ajahn Brahm

This story was taken from “Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?” written by Ajahn Brahm. I would like to share this story to open up our eyes, who often wait for the perfect moment to be happy in life.

“When I was fourteen years old, I was studying for my O-level examinations in a high school in London. My parents and teachers advised me to stop playing soccer in the evenings and weekends – to stay at home instead giving the time to my homework. They explained how important the O-level exams were and that if I did well, then I’d be happy.

I followed their advice and did very well on the exams. But it didn’t make me that happy, because my success meant that now I must study even harder, for another two years, for the A-level exams. My parents and teachers advised me to stop going out in the evenings and weekends, to stop chasing girls now rather than chasing a soccer ball, and to stay at home instead and study. They told me how important the A-level exams were and that if I did well, then I’d be happy.

Once again, I followed their advice and did very well. Once again, it didn’t make me happy. Because now I had to study hardest of all, for the three more long years, for a degree at a university. My mother and teachers (my father was now dead) advised me to steer clear of the bars and parties in college, but instead to work hard and long at my studies. They told me how important a university degree was, and that if I did well, then I’d be happy.

At this point, I started to become suspicious.

I saw some of my older friends who had worked very hard and got their degree. Now they were working even harder in their first job. They were working extremely hard to save up enough money to buy something important, say, a car. They told me, “When I have enough money to buy a car, then I’ll be happy.”

When they had enough funds and had bought their first car, they still weren’t happy. Now they were working hard to buy something else, and then they’d be happy. Or they were struggling in the turmoil of romance, looking for a partner in life. They told me, “When I get married and
settle down, then I’ll be happy.”

Once married, they still weren’t happy. They had to work even harder, even taking extra jobs, to save up enough money for a deposit on an apartment, or even a small house. They told me, “When we have bought our own house, then we’ll be happy.”

Unfortunately, paying off the monthly installment for the house loan meant that they still weren’t very happy. Moreover, they would now start a family. They would have children to wake them up at night, swallow up all their spare money and increase their worries in quantum leaps and bounds. Now it would be another twenty years before they could do what they wanted. So they told me, “When the kids are grown up, have left home and settled, then we’ll be happy.”

By the time the kids had left home, most of the parents were staring at retirement. So they continued to postpone their happiness, working hard to save for their old age. They told me, “When I retire, then I’ll be happy.”

Even before they retired, and certainly after, they started becoming religious and going to church. Have you ever noticed how many old people occupy the pews in the church? I asked them why they were now going to church. They told me, “Because, when I die, then I’ll be happy!”

For those who believe that “When I get this, then I’ll be happy,“ their happiness will be just a dream in the future.

It will be like a rainbow one or two steps ahead, but forever just out of reach."

After reading the stories above, does it remind you to someone we know? I know someone close to me who always think like this. Just hope she will realize it soon that it doesn't need to take that long or wait until we die, to be happy.

Like the quote put in my dear friend's blog, "Happiness is a journey." And I add in here, "Happiness is not a goal or destination."

"Live now, be content with what you have now and always think positive." Otherwise, you'll never live your lives happily or you'll never realize what happiness is in your life.

2 comments:

Ugyen Tenzin said...

True Rima ma'am, happiness is a journey rather than a destination, so we must enjoy every moment of the journey for we never know where our destination lies. An instructive post la. We must do our best and at the same time enjoy our work. Hope all is well with sound in health. Regards from me. Take care. :)

Rima Reyka said...

Indeed Ugyen! Always remember that! :)

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