The Choice for Happiness

By Anthony Gold

I read the story of a 92-year-old woman who had just moved into a nursing home. She was legally blind, and her husband of 70 years had recently passed away – necessitating the move to an assisted living facility.

The aide who welcomed the new tenant recounts the story:

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, the elderly woman smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room … just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.

I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

And yet how often do we define happiness as the consequence of what’s going on in our world and our bodies? Think honestly how you would answer this question: What would make you happy?

As the woman in the nursing home so profoundly demonstrates, it has nothing to do with things going on in the world or our body. Rather, it is a decision she makes every morning when she wakes up.

Perception is a choice and not a fact. (T-21.V.1)

Consider the ramifications of such a concept. If we want to be happy, all we need to do is choose happiness. Conversely, if we are not happy, it is because we’ve made a choice not to be happy.

Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore this concept of choosing happiness instead of it being a byproduct of worldly / bodily conditions. I look forward to seeing you then.

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