Our judgment of what describes happiness for us is not the same as it is for others. We get into trouble when we ascribe our needs onto others.
One of our India travelers posted a photo of women in Saris at a roadside market. Another of his FB friends commented “aw, these poor people”. Our group saw the comment, and we all had this same disconnect. We didn’t observe this scene and think “these poor people”. During our time in India, yes we saw all kinds of things, including haves and have-nots. But the main thing we saw was happiness. Especially happiness in simplicity.
At a stop at a temple, a bunch of little kids came up to me, and without their even saying anything, I could see that they wanted to play. What I didn’t realize is how much I wanted to play too! Without saying even a handful of words we played and laughed and ran around…there was no Xbox involved, no toy drones, no IPads… but what there was, was more laughter than one could imagine.
Two weeks later, some Maasai children in Tanzania and I bonded over sunglasses. Similarly, just a little engagement brought so much happiness, like we were awakening the childlike happiness inside us.
The one universal truth.. the only truth about happiness is that it comes from within, with a direct connection to our relationships with all sentient beings.