Answering the big question.

People often come to see me because they want me to tell them the secret to being happy.

I hear stories about sad events, angry moments, disillusionment, betrayal and regret. Sometimes the situations are of the person's own making. Sometimes the situations are thrust into their lives without any invitation. My clients want answers. How can I get over this? How do I start a new life? How do I forgive? Will I ever be happy?

Sitting across the room, my mind is filled with answers that people often don't really want to hear. They are typically looking for big, ah ha! moments that reveal the whys and wherefores of whatever situation plagues them. For me, the answers to life are simple, even simplistic. Happiness does not depend on the experience of nirvana, or of revelations by a chorus of angels ... or, winning the lottery.

Recently, a friend revealed that he found very little fulfillment in life. I asked him to define what fulfillment meant to him. After pondering the question, he admitted that he really did not know how to describe it. He knew that he was restless, distracted and wanting of something that defied knowing. He was looking for one of those amazing BIG answers.

This is what I know: happiness is created by the things we think ... and do ... on a daily basis, hour by hour. The big picture of our life is made from the small moments in our day. Just plan on some big things happening to you that you don't expect and perhaps, don't want. These things happen to all of us. It's just life. If you prepare for them by paying attention to how you spend your ordinary time, you will weather any storm much better.

Are you ready to hear the answer to the question of being happy?

Sit alone three times a day for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and just bring all of your awareness to your breathing in and all of your awareness to your breathing out. Just breathe slowly. When your mind wanders, just come back to your breath again. In. Out. Deep. Slow. While you are doing this, put a small smile on your face. You just learned how to meditate. That's it. Five minutes, three times a day ... or 15 minutes at one sitting.Practice this daily for one month. You will be happier. You will be more content. You will feel more solid.

I'm guessing you might be disappointed and I "double dare" you to try it and see if I'm right. Being happy, regardless of your situation, is a decision. Just stop for a few minutes, calm yourself and relax. You will be so happy you did.

And, don't forget to smile.