The When Problem


It's so easy to get caught in the when dilemma. You know exactly what I mean. The when problem goes like:

"I'll be happy when I have a Mercedes."

"I'll be happy when I have a 4-bedroom house."

"My life will be good when I find the partner of my dreams."

"I'll be fulfilled when I have a better paying job."

"I'll feel content when I find a new teacher - she will give me the answers I seek."

Sound familiar? All of us do it, it's a natural response to our world and the constant media assault and societal pressure that we should be more, do more, have more. That who we are right this moment is not enough. But isn't it?

I spent many years rejecting the acquisition of stuff, choosing to follow a spiritual path thinking that meant one of deprivation. In part I felt the need to do this as a response to the materialism I saw around me and the realization that more stuff did not equal more happy. It actually seemed to equal more stress. So the "I'll be happy with the new car, house..." I got over actually in my twenties while living in Hong Kong, watching people obsess over status, and name brands. 

But the when challenge is insidious and as I got over one hurtle, it simply presented another because there are loads of 'when' paradigms. So I gave up the materialism ones but got hung up on being the seeker or the student. Then my when statements were more like:

"Once I learn from this teacher, then I'll be happy."

"When I take this course I will know the answers."

Then Robert Holden popped those for me in his course (and book) Be Happy. He said, "you're walking down the hall and on one door it says, 'Course on Happiness' and on the other door it says, "Happiness." In that moment I was busted. I realized that, being the dutiful student, I would have chosen the course door forgetting all the while that what I was really seeking was the experience of happiness. He went on to say that as long as you are a seeker, you will never find, ouch, busted again.

And what I was reminded of by him is that happiness and joy are our innate essence. We don't have to do anything, have anything or be anything other than who we are in this moment. We simply have to choose to connect into it. It is available to us all the time. It's a vibration and we carry it with us always. 

Because I like imagery, the best way for me to imagine it is that our happiness is like the shining sun residing right in the center of the chest. But fog and rain, snow and clouds can cover it over seeming to block it out. We easily get distracted by all this gray, blustery weather that are our thoughts and emotions. They take us away from the shining sun underneath. But if we can shift our focus and remember that just like the weather, even when it's pouring outside, the sun is still up there shining, our joy is shining from within us too. And as we choose to focus on that, the gray clouds of mind will dissipate and we can allow ourselves to be illuminated from within by the glory of who we really are - happy and joyful - right now, not when.