Heartless distraction

On a recent morning walk, I wandered past a yard sign decorated in the liberating style of a child inscribed with the challenge to “Live Happy.” For decades, my automatic reply to the innocence of this unearned optimism would have included a crude reference that also appeared to be self-evident.

My goal with the childish statement was to focus attention, to force the listener through an exercise in reducing to the absurd to reflect deeper on an essential topic while still spicing up the conversation with a smidgen of humor.

Today’s worship of the material is an external diversion devoid of lasting value. As we frantically look to outside sources for happiness—money, power, and fame, to name a few—we ignore the elegant subtlety behind our eyes, what the inner child still holds lucidly beyond second nature.

Perpetual happiness may be impossible, but our larger paradigm—our default view of life—can accept happiness when nature and circumstance allow. It continues to surprise me how often this is so.

A child laughs absent judgment, overflowing with playful joy. Facing life’s trials with smiling good humor, the child replaces human suffering with the healing hand of love, conceding all that is to be.

Lasting happiness is a choice, an attitude, one of the few things in life within our control that flows naturally in recognition of unity’s grace. A child’s warm application of common wisdom derives from an honest assessment of the obvious, disregarding senseless productivity by seeing it for what it is, a heartless distraction of the soul.

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