October 14

Human felicity is produced not so
much by great pieces of good fortune
that seldom happen as by little
advantages that occur every day.

Benjamin Franklin


Today's Meditation:

"Human felicity" is such a great way of saying "happiness."  It sounds joyful as it rolls off the tongue so gracefully.  And Benjamin is so right--our happiness isn't produced nearly as much by the big things as it is by the little things, as long as we let them make us happy.  Unfortunately, though, I watch many people either ignore those little things or take them for granted, and those people never let those things contribute to their happiness as human beings because they feel that they're just too small and insignificant.  But they most certainly are not small, and they are not insignificant.

I used to think that I had to wait for something big to happen before I could be happy.  I would have to meet that certain someone or get that certain job or go to that certain place.  I can't begin to add up how much time I've wasted feeling down because the big things weren't happening, even though my life was filled with very positive things--that I never took full advantage of, to my great regret.  If my focus could have just shifted to recognition and acceptance of the little advantages that were all over the place in my life, many days could have been spent in much better moods and with much less suffering.

Since those days, I definitely have been able to shift my focus, and I'm eternally grateful for the ability to do so, for not only do I feel much better about life myself, but I'm also able to help others to recognize the many little advantages that they have themselves in their lives.  And I've learned that richness in life isn't about what we have, but more about how we look at what we have.

If we can keep our eyes on those little things, then we most definitely can keep in mind that our lives are very rich and fulfilling just as they are.  And when we realize and accept that fact, only then can we actually and truly enjoy all the gifts that we have.

Questions to consider:

Why do we so dearly yearn for the "great pieces of good fortune"? 

What are five "little advantages" that are a part of your life today?

How might we go about recognizing more of the positive elements of our lives each day?

For further thought:

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions--the little
soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look,
a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals
of pleasurable and genial feeling.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

More on happiness.


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