From my place as co-celebrant of the wedding this week, I stood right in front, and I could watch the bride and groom's expressions. I’ve heard that brides are always beautiful and in this case, it certainly was true. Her excitement and joy made her eyes round as the full moon and just as bright. She spoke her vows from her heart, her voice excited but not nervous, was true as the earth. The power of her feelings actually gave me goose-bumps, and I was standing to one side. I knew that the groom would have to extend himself to match her sincerity; and he did. His voice was strong, light and sure, like the sky, a complement to her depth.
From my seat I could watch the two Moms deal with their happiness. Oh,
they were so happy! But just to a point and then came the adjusting of
the face, the clearing of the throat. I may have misread it but what I
saw was a thought inside, “I shouldn’t be feeling so happy!” "I don't deserve this much happiness."
For some of us, at a certain point, happiness can become a problem. The bride’s mom attended Christian schools as a girl and she learned about guilt as part of her education. Some Chinese Buddhists, too, don’t handle happiness very skillfully and this mom learned the full guilt package as a proper Chinese girl at a Catholic school.
I think that very few of us are taught what to do with the happiness that we feel. If we don't know how to deal with happiness, we surely aren’t able to deal with sadness, grief, fear or anger either. These emotions are all part of the human experience. We come to life in a body that has feelings and emotions built in. But who teaches us happiness technology - - who gives us the tools to deal skillfully with what we feel?
Spiritual technology, the techniques of the awakened mind, shouldn’t be left behind for us to figure out ourselves, or in most cases, never learn at all. How much happiness is okay? How do I show happiness? What to do when the happiness fills me to the point that I almost can't bear it?
The Buddha was certainly among the world's happiest people. He knew happiness and he transmitted ways to experience happiness. His primary method: don’t keep happiness to yourself, make it grow by giving it away. Through the process of transference, dedication, we can transfer the joy and make it grow. We actually open the doors and windows of the mind, acknowledge the blessings and the joy that come to us and with a simple thought, share it with the world.
That way the heart grows to expand ever greater amounts of joy. By sending joy out with the mind, invisibly we create wholesome connections with others and the world increases by the addition of our happiness. Our hearts becomes like broadcast towers of good signals and whereever we go, people feel better in our presence. This is true at the breakfast table, in the cubicle at work, in the slow lane of the freeway and on the volleyball court in the evening.
If you let your spouse know that he or she is the source of your happiness he or she will feel empowered to make you happy more often. The more happiness we experience, the more happiness we make, the more we can give away.
When we are skillful in dealing with our happiness, then we sadness inevitably comes our way, we know just what to do. Don’t own it, don’t stop it, pass it on to empty space, where it came from.