Monday, July 16, 2012

Already Happy

I have a new guru. I didn't just meet her. I first met her several years ago when I was living in the Brownsville beach house a few miles from here. For some reason, it took moving away for nearly two years and coming back again for me to realize just how remarkable this woman is. She's not famous. I don't even know her name, even though I've been chatting with her on and off for 4 or 5 years.  Her English is broken, but her heartfelt smile communicates volumes. She's completely unassuming and would be embarrassed by my praise of her. Although a lot of people know her and will remember her smiling face and her warm greetings, the world will not bow at her feet, although it should. What she teaches with her simple lifestyle is nothing short of radical and life changing. 

She, her husband, her son, and her daughter run two restaurants side by side--a Quizno's and a Taco Del Mar.   One of the first places I went when I moved back here was to the Taco Del Mar where she and her teenage daughter work. Their faces lit up when I came in and they gave me hugs. I love to go in there because they are always smiling and always happy. It's like going into a restaurant run by two happy Buddhas. Only, since they're Indian, they may be Hindu. Two happy Ganeshes?  You can't help but smile when you go in there. They are always, always happy. In fact, I'd say that they are terminally happy. Even their food seems happy. I've been going to Taco Del Mar restaurants in Puget Sound for a very long time. Even though the food is consistently good, the food this family serves is good and happy. I suspect this is because their happiness permeates the building and everything in it, including the food. The food is prepared from a place of happiness in a place of happiness. How could it not be happy?

I asked this woman tonight about her family working together. I've never seen any sign of discord. The brother and sister seem to be genuine friends as well as siblings. The father and son work in one place and the mother and daughter work in the other, although any of them can work in either restaurant in case they need to cover for each other. I asked the mother if they ever get on each other's nerves from being together all the time. She didn't really understand the question, and it suddenly dawned on me that she really didn't understand the question not my English. She didn't understand the concept. She had no frame of reference for it. She tried to explain that discord didn't figure in their relationships. Although I didn't understand all of her explanation, I caught a few  key words like "India" and "family." She assured me that they like working together. Then she said something that made a light bulb go on in my head. She said, "We are already happy." With those few words, she made the entire world make sense. There is no discord between them because they are already happy, and I can attest to the fact that they are already happy. That's why they are always smiling and cheerful. They are already happy.

They aren't pursuing happiness the way Americans do, and boy do we pursue it with all of our might. This family? They're already happy, so there is nothing to pursue, nothing they need to obtain in order to be happy. They are not dependent of someone else to make them happy. They are already happy. They won't be happy once this thing or that thing happens. They are already happy. I see now why I had to come back here. I needed to reconnect with this woman and her family and their "already happy" way of experiencing life.They work in food service, for goodness sake. I've been there, and it can be a thankless job serving food to people whose blood sugar may be low, thus making them cranky and not always easy to please. Yet, in all the times I've been in their restaurant, I've never seen a single disgruntled customer. How can you get snippy with a laughing Buddha? You simply can't do it. And even if you did, it wouldn't matter because they are already happy. They don't need you to be happy to be happy themselves. They are already happy. They aren't chasing after happiness. You don't have to chase what is already present in your life.  Indeed, they already are happiness. They don't possess it. They are it.

Viewing my life through this new world view, I have to say that although I am usually a happy person, I do have my moments when I'm not happy. Lately I've had more of those moments than ever. I think that all the difficult moments I've had in my life arose from times in my life when I was looking to something else or someone else for happiness. The lesson from tonight's encounter is that if I'm already happy, none of the things that have bothered me throughout the years, for whatever reason, matter. So how does one reach a place of already happy? We don't. We simply step out of the way of what already is. You already are happiness. Just as you already are peaceful or loving. These traits are part of your birthright as a divine being of light. Start believing that and you will change your whole world and everyone and everything in it. If this family can make the food they prepare happy, imagine what else we can do by allowing ourselves to be already happy.

Already Happy isn't a place you reach on your journey. It's a state of mind you carry with you along the way.