I see it all the time on TV and hear about it on the radio. Everyone knows how to make us happy. It’s right there in the commercials.
You can see it in magazines. Beautiful people in even more beautiful locals, doing what beautiful people do. They have big smiles on their faces, a gleam in their eyes. But is happiness really hidden on that beach with a cooler full of Bud-lite, is it really to be found there when they put the key in the ignition and drive that shiny new BMW or Mercedes down the “closed course”?
The answer is, of course not you ninny. They’re advertisers, and they are lying to you, not because they are evil, although some of them certainly may be, but because they don’t know any better. They want you to buy something, anything, because they think happiness is hidden in the money they make getting you to believe that happiness can be bought. They think happiness can be borrowed, bargained for, burned on a Blue Ray disc, or blasted out the speaker system on your Honda Accord that sits so low to the ground you have to fall into it.
I have a secret. Happiness isn’t something you can hold in your hand like a rock. Although a rock, say given to you by a child cause he thinks it’s cool and he wants you to have it, can make you very happy.
But is it the rock, or what the rock represents that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you look down into the big brown eyes?
Happiness is an ideal, a perception, a fleeting moment of electrical energy passing from one section of your brain to the next. That’s it, that’s all. You can’t buy, plead with it, or beat it with a stick. It is not a “real” thing, it is a concept. No one can give it to you. It is not the amount of shoes in your closet, or zeroes in your bank account, or cars in your driveway. Those are just things. Meaningless, greedy, things that hide the truth.
People spend millions of dollars on plastic surgery, or jewelry, or cars, or homes, thinking that that one more thing is what is going to make them truly happy.
What they really need is a rock given to them by a little kid, because of all the really cool things they found on the beach that day, you were the coolest because you were there and so were they and so was the rock.
I happen to save all my rocks. My kids still bring them to me all of the time – You see, I shared this story with them, tried to get them to understand that happiness, real happiness comes from the inside. Not from the gift, but from the heart of the giver, from the energy that shifted from one little part of my brain to another that said: “hey, this is a good thing stupid. Enjoy it.”