“Everything’s amazing. Nobody’s happy.” We heard this line from a comedian named Louis CK. If you get a chance, check out this clip of an appearance he made on Conan O’Brien. It is a wake up call put in a very funny package.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick of complaining. We live in an amazing time, but there seems to be a lack of gratitude. There are so many vehicles for communication, but how many words are being wasted talking about what is wrong?
What would happen if we could stop complaining for a whole day? Then we could add gratitude to our day of non-complaining. Our reality would be very different. Suffering in the form of selfishness, anxiety, and despair might dissipate. Maybe our minds would have a chance to settle. And what if we also added a service component to our day of non-complaining and gratitude? Swami Satchidananda says that all we have to do to be happy is to feed people. I believe that at the end of this day, we would crawl into bed with a peaceful heart and a calm mind — and maybe feel tempted to do it again.
Last week, I taught a women’s retreat in Mexico. This was the 9th year with the same group of women. There is one woman who has attended all nine retreats. She has a large tumor on her spine, and is in an enormous amount of pain. She has little to no feeling in her limbs. She, laughingly, says that she wakes up every morning feeling like a scarecrow, wondering which limbs she will be able to feel today. The point is that I have never heard her complain about anything. It is very obvious that her life is all about service. She is constantly amazed, and finds humor in every situation. She has chosen to be happy.
Louis CK points out that the next time we fly, we should be holding onto our seats, screaming with delight at the miracle of sitting in a chair in the sky and flying like a bird across the sky. So let’s not complain the next time we have a two-hour delay, or sit on the runway for an hour, or get suck in the middle seat. Let’s live in constant awe and gratitude. Everything is amazing and we can choose to be happy.