Do you know the secret of happiness? It moves.

To be happy means to experience that we are alive. -Anonymous

I was reading a newspaper in a coffee shop.
Suddenly, I saw a couple at the corner table with espresso coffee and banana muffins.
I wasn’t in a good mood, I don’t know why, a bit depressed, thinking about a lot of things in my life: my unfinished projects, no time for family and kids, mundane career, no time to travel, and not enough money. Name a few of them.
In addition to that, I was also worried about my legacy for my children.
What was I thinking at the coffee shop?
Maybe I was a bit overwhelmed.
I wasn’t happy at all.

Suddenly, the same couple sitting at the corner table approached me and handed me a Christmas card.
On the back side of the card there were five very important quotes from very influential people.
One particular quote from Anne Frank is still in my head: “think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

After reading those five quotes, I wasn’t the same person as before entering the coffee shop.
I smiled to myself, a little bit excited, at least I was happy for a moment due to the momentum brought by those quotes.
Quotes are creative human expressions, and a lot of times we try to live by them based on our lifestyle. Sometimes it’s possible to live by these quotes, sometimes it doesn’t.
Quotes not only speak our inner voice they also speak what is outside of our life.
In my case, those quotes which I read were real and took me to a higher energy level for a moment.
I don’t know why but I felt a different kind of happiness when I finished reading them.
I am pondering now, did the couple transfer little happiness to me?

I am still reflecting now, getting a bit emotional remembering the past incident at the moment.
Am I crazy to think about that small moment again?
But wait, life itself is the combination of many small moments which we don’t get time to cherish.
Do I feel happy right now?
Well, how to know?
My mind is still not accepting the present reality that I’m happy because I’m constantly searching for something.
I’m very anxious because I’m worried about the future.
Why do we need a constant push to remain happy at the moment?
Do you have any clue?
Have you ever experienced something like this before?

I know happiness is a subjective experience, it’s difficult to describe because your happiness could not be mine, and my happiness could not be yours.
Could I read the happiness of the couple sitting next to me? They seemed pretty happy, laughing and talking together, cuddling to each other with sips of coffee and bites of muffins.
Hell, no, I couldn’t read their happiness externally from my mind.
I told myself, the experience that I was having at that moment was different than that of a couple, the couple couldn’t have the same experience as mine, we were two different emotional creatures.

As Daniel Gilbert, the author of ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ said that happiness cannot be measured but we can only either participate in it or be aware of it.

What I have seen from movies and read from great books is: happiness is internal, it is being.
Many great spiritual leaders and great authors have said that calm is also happiness.
Many social scientists have based their research on this topic.
The common saying is we attract happiness, we don’t search for it.
Then, why am I searching for it?
Because this is our human nature, we always search for happiness.
I remember one of my mentors who told me that whether the person is happy from inside or searching for happiness, always look for two simple characters.

These two characters are: unhappy people always argue, they argue a lot about anything, big or small, and most importantly, they argue to win.
The person who argues has ego, it suppresses happiness.
They don’t care about facts, figures, and knowledge.
Ego comes when you are not happy with your life, you have a lot of dissatisfaction inside you, mostly created by self centered confinement.
When ego is gone, humility comes, then you smile naturally, this is how happiness emerges.
If you are happy then you discuss things with positive intention but you never argue.
Discussion is not an argument, discussion is sharing with others, when you show a sharing attitude, your mind glows and you become happy.
Always share or transfer your happiness whatever it is, small or big, it always multiplies in ample quantities.

Know this, you only become happy when you make others happy.

The second characteristic of unhappiness is gossiping.
If we are not happy with our life then we talk about other people.
This is hilarious but a fact.
Remember, if we gossip with somebody, somebody also gossips about us.
Gossiping is the elongation of our dissatisfaction about our own life in a fake happy appearance.
We are just taking time to avoid our unhappiness for the time being.
Unhappy people mostly gossip to compare things, appearance, and habits showing the hidden motif that I am superior.

Remember, happy people always talk about ideas and experiences, they don’t gossip about things, appearance, and habits of other people.

Nowadays, happiness has been contaminated by things; money which never becomes enough, big house which never becomes big enough, big car which never becomes luxurious enough, and many others.

Our happiness never becomes happy enough if we constantly look for things to possess.
Possessing things consume us very quickly if we are not aware of their nature.
In reality, happiness is peace with whatever we have.
This ‘have’ ridiculously becomes ‘want’ if we don’t practice peace in our lives.

Few years ago, I met a man at my family friend’s house. He said that he made one million dollars in five years going the extra mile in his business.
He said that he is very happy because he made that money after a long struggle in the medical equipment business as a sales representative.
Few months ago, I met him again in one conference and he shared his mom’s undiagnosed health issue. He was very worried thinking about his mom’s health condition.
I became familiar with him through our professional connection because I am also involved in the medical research area.
Few days ago he called me and shared the good news that a doctor in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City identified his mother’s disease.
But the doctor said it would cost upto one million dollars in total to cure the disease. His mom was suffering from a very abnormal cancer.
My friend said to me he was so happy that his mom would be alive.
He added that finally God saw him and helped to save his mother’s life.

After our conversation, I was very happy for him that his mom’s disease got identified and will be cured soon.

After seeing my friends’ stages in life, I became quite unhappy about one thing.
Why does this happiness move in our life so quickly?
My friend was so happy with one million dollars in his bank account, but now he is happier to spend the money to save his mother.
What is so unique about our happiness?

One day I met the same friend in a Barnes and Noble book store, he shared his mom’s health and told she is free from cancer now.
He told me that only peace can bring happiness to us.

He further added, “if we want to have a happy life we should anticipate a lot in life but we should never react. We humans always blame other people or things for our own suffering or unhappiness.”
“In fact, we ourselves are the cause of our suffering and unhappiness. If we develop a non reactive attitude, we bring peace into us that is essential to remain happy,” he further added.

If you aren’t happy then your unhappiness doesn’t remain isolated within you, you will send this unhappiness to all of your family members, loved ones, and colleagues. They never become happy with your unhappiness.

Life is too short to be unhappy.
Happiness doesn’t come as an end product, happiness is the series of small moments we pass every single day.
We have to learn to be happy in those small moments, we have to practice to cherish those moments.
Therefore, choose happiness and always practice happiness.

Shahrukh Khan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lady Gaga aren’t happy because they are famous celebrities and they have millions of strange followers; they are happy because they also have life like us, they have family and loved ones around them like us, they can breathe and smell this wonderful world as we do.
We don’t always get what we want in life, but if we practice happiness we always get what we need in life.
‘Need’ gives us a sense of fulfillment but ‘want’ doesn’t.

Last week, I was in the Wal-Mart self-checking counter, behind me was an old woman waiting with a gallon of milk and some apples. That would probably cost less than five dollars.
I smiled at the lady and asked her, “Mam, you have just two items, I have many, could I scan your milk and apples first and let you go?”
“And mam, don’t worry, I will pay for you.”
The woman looked at me straight in my eyes first, she smiled and said, “God bless you.”
I still have her smile in my head.
I hope I transfer a very small happiness to her.

Remember, Socrates taught Plato, Plato also taught Aristotle, and Aristotle also taught Alexander the Great.
What do these great people have in common?
Each of these great people were transferring their happiness in the name of knowledge and wisdom.

By the way, if you know any other secrets of happiness, please share with others. Let’s make this world a little happier together.

Thank you for your time.
-Yam Timsina