Manataka American Indian Council

 

FEATURE STORY

September 2010

 

 

 

 

How To Be Happy In One Easy Lesson

By Elder Maggie Wahls

 

 

I was grocery shopping today and as the young man was putting my bags into my car as they do here in Missouri, I joked if he would come home and help me put them into the house too! He replied, "Well anything to get out of here for a while."

 

And here I was so thankful to be in this place doing this activity, having the funds to buy groceries and the gas to go and the good arms and legs to be able to shop and even being hungry and able to eat.

 

I looked at that stark contr ast between my happiness and his unhappiness. Here we were doing the same thing in the same place and what a total difference in our perspectives.

 

So many people are unhappy with where they are right now, what they are doing right now, no matter what that is. Wherever they are, they are unhappy, either thinking about tomorrow or worrying about yesterday. The father in the park with his children is thinking about work. The mother doing laundry wishes she didn't have to do laundry and is thinking about some other time or place she would rather be. No one seems to be happy right here and right now.

 

We could be happy. There is nothing stopping us from being happy in the now. We aren't even paying attention to all the great things around us in this time and place and activity we are doing now. We are giving our power away to future worries or past thoughts and not even being present in the now moment.

 

If we were balanced and aware of this moment now we could find much to be happy about in this very second! We could see how blessed we are to be alive to experience this wonderful Mother Earth, who gives us air to breath and water to drink and earth to walk upon and sustain ourselves and fire to keep us warm and cook our food. Every day we are working within these four elements of Mother earth. Everything we do, everywhere we go we are in the presence of these gifts from Mother Earth, intimately, completely immersed in her sustenance. What a tremendous blessing!  Many people cannot experience this joy and happiness, these gifts from Mother Earth. Some people are in a coma in the hospital and their moments are passing them by without awareness. But we are not in a coma; we choose whether to experience this moment fully or to wish we were somewhere else.

 

I have never met a true Shaman who was not happy in this moment. Every true Shaman is delighted with whatever is happening now. He loves the opportunity to be in this moment and experiences Mother Earth fully with joy and humility knowing that others do not choose this for themselves. And this joy he feels whether he lives in a harsh desert or a feral forest or a snowy tundra brings even more joy to him. Joy attracts joy. Happiness attracts happiness. Think of the power you have to bring joy into your life simply by choosing it. What great power this is!

 

So what gives the Shaman such joy when he is laboring in the hot sun or freezing on his long snowy trek to the neighboring village? If he can be happy, even joyous, to do such things why cannot we be happy doing laundry or washing dishes or going to our jobs?

 

The answer is in his perspective. He sees life as a gift. Every moment he is alive is a gift. And he recognizes the gift of each breath, of his eyes, of his body, of his senses and is so grateful to be able to see the crow flying in the air and breathe the air of Mother Earth and hear the cry of the eagle on his long trek. She is grateful for the broom, or mop or computer or dishcloth and sees them as gifts too. Everything in her life is a gift! He feels blessed to be here, to be alive in this moment and he is not going to waste this moment by worrying about the future or feeling remorse about the past. He is here now fully experiencing this moment filled with the gifts of Mother Earth. This is his power. It comes from his perspective.

 

And it is not that we are unable to take this perspective ourselves. He doesn't have some secret power that we don't have. He is doing what we are all meant to do here. He is living his life as a receiver of gifts and blessings from all of Mother Earth around him in this present moment. In fact he would not give up the gifts and experiences of receiving in this present moment to be some other place doing something else. He is fully enjoying the gifts of this present moment. And in his awareness that everything in this moment is indeed a precious gift in his life, he is attracting even more joy and bounty to him. And he is practicing awareness to be able to see the joy and the bounty all around him even in the tiniest thing. He is smiling as he works, happy to be there working! He is smiling while he does his chores, happy to have chores to do and to be able to do them and experience those activities fully. He is grateful and humbled to be alive in this moment now. Do you think he is going to ignore the gift of this moment so that he can think of some other moment that is not here?

 

There is a school of Buddhism in Tibet that has requirements to become a pupil there. And one of the requirements they have for all potential students is to receive 100,000 blessings. You cannot enter this school until you have received 100,000 blessings. Why not start a list and add to it every day, all the blessings you received in each day. This will help you become aware, as the Shaman is, of all the gifts of Mother Earth that are yours in this moment now.

 

Everything you do, everyplace you are, every activity you experience, is a gift. If you don't want the gifts in front of you right now you might as well just not be here at all. This life is for living in this present moment. The joy of this Shaman can be yours. It is right there inside you now. It is your power to perceive this moment as a joyful moment or not.

 

Learn not to take things for granted. Your life is limited. You will die. When? Maybe in thirty years. Maybe tomorrow. So are you finding the joy in your life in this present moment? If not, you are wasting the gifts that are here for you in this present moment. Can you see trees out your window? Can you see the moon? Can you smell the air? Can you move your fingers and toes? Then be joyful that you can. Does someone love you? Do you love someone? Then be joyful in that knowing! For all the gifts you have right here and now to be joyful about, there is no reason not to be happy every moment of every day. Try living your life from this Shamanic perspective and see how happy life really is. Ask me why I am smiling!

 

Shaman Elder Maggie Wahls is one of America's most loved traditional indigenous teachers of Shamanism for today's modern society. 
She is the creator and instructor of the course Shaman Apprenticeship at http://www.shamanelder.com.  

 

Copyright 2010 Come Walk With A Shaman

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