It is precisely in being present to what we’re doing that we discover happiness.
Unhappiness and frustration emanate when we look to something or someone outside of ourselves to make us happy.
Eckhart Tolle, in his book A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose says this. Our purpose in life is ultimately to become present to what we’re doing, to bring consciousness to the world and in so doing we will be joyful. Period! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But just try being fully present to the moment and what you’re doing in that moment without your mind (ego) racing on about what’s happening next, 3 days from now and what happened yesterday! We’ll find it’s not that easy! But I believe he’s got a point. I like his twist on what it is to be joyful and how we discover happiness. Many of us get it backwards and as a result we end up in a consistent state of unhappiness and frustration. Tolle says this:
“When you say, I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misperception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do, but that is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into the world from deep within you. The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing. You then look to the world to bring you joy, happiness. But it cannot do that. This is why many people live in constant frustration. The world is not giving them what they think they need” (Eckhart Tollo A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose, p.298). He goes on to say that when we simply become present to what we’re doing we will gradually find that we are more joyful.
Perhaps this is what the Christ spoke of when he spoke of the “kingdom” being in our midst, right here, right now! Perhaps this is what he meant when he said “I have told you these things that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15: 11). Perhaps that’s what he meant when he told us that we will find ourselves if we forget ourselves (the ego mind).
Perhaps today we could continue the process of attempting to simply be present to what we’re doing in this moment – and see what happens!