The Simplicity of Happiness

Keeping things simple makes us happy.

The centipede was happy, quite!

Until a toad in fun asked,

“Pray which leg goes after which?”

This worked his mind to such a pitch

He lay distracted in a ditch,

Considering how to run.

            (Zen poem memorized from childhood)


All these are proven methods to generating happiness by keeping it simple:




In a big project, focus on the next step close in. (We tend to put our attention on 3 to 4 steps out.) 

In a difficult situation, practice an ethical or spiritual principle. (Instead of getting hooked by any negative emotions and drama). 

When overwhelmed, chose one aspect to focus on till that one piece is complete. “One bird at a time.” 

Let go of “right or wrong,” and breathe

Give yourself permission to walk away, give up, or simply take a break.

When asked, say no. 

Let go of how others did it or how it is “suppose” to look.

In an argument, focus your energy on understanding rather than being understood.

Let go of the why (or the “which” as in the above poem) and ask what. What is happening, and what can, or, wants to happen here? (Just open up to the question, don’t go on a vigilant hunt for an answer.) 

Take your attention off “the problem” and “solving the problem.” Instead, open up to what else is possible. (Take a look around). 

When stuck, bring in a third thing such as a poem, sutra, teaching story, or myth. Read it. Let that influence your experience.

Trust your own experience over another’s. Always. 

Before you make a big decision, spend time in nature (natural light); take a walk.

We can forget what we know when we focus too much on which leg goes after which, and remain stuck in the ditch of our lives. Rely on the naturalness of life. Let go of the “right and wrong,” the dogma, or someone else’s way (no matter how successful they appear) and walk your own life. Take the next step close in. Write your own story. Paint in your own way. Happiness will take root and then bloom in your life as you keep it simple.

Have simple wisdom at your fingertips: The Zero Point Agreement: How To Be Who You Already Are.

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180 thoughts on “The Simplicity of Happiness

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