The Art of Happiness

Bouncing back toward the idea of choice; is building a house a choice? As in, if I just choose to have a house, is it all of a sudden there? Is painting a picture a choice? As in, if I choose for a picture to be there, does it simply appear? Is discovering the apex of any art a choice? Well yes, and then in another light; No.

Planning goes into building a house. A house that will last anyway. There’s a beginning to the process of designing any house, just as there’s often thought before the brush touches the canvas. The old saying goes “A house built on sand will wash away with the water.” And any carpenter knows that if you cut corners on the job, you’re not being honest. And many artists are aware that the moment your brush touches the canvas, that they better be ready to express something real, something true; something honest.

Happiness to me is a choice, just as much as being a Jazz musician is being a choice. To be a Jazz musician you must dedicate yourself to the technical aspect of your musicianship (of course) but one also needs to be completely honest with themselves. And if you respect, admire, and believe that what John Coltrane offered to the art is also Jazz, then the Jazz musician needs to dedicate their lives to compassion. Now that I have the list, this is what it means to me, to be a Jazz musician. And as I was taught, we practice and practice and get better and better, and practice and then we die. It simply is what it is. So do I choose to be a Jazz musician? Well I suppose we won’t truly know until I die.

I’m not certain, but I think to some Buddhists, happiness is imaginary just as ego. It’s something that we create. I think the path that I just described with Jazz is something that they might describe as a path to enlightenment. And if that’s the case, then I believe that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t so much happiness as it is the awareness of our connection to everything in the Universe.

To look someone in the eyes that I don’t know and tell them “I’m happy” is almost like me saying “I’m a really good Jazz musician.” Unless I’m trying to kill an interest in music in someone, or pick at the wound of someone’s unhappiness, I must recognize that just as humility is required for the path of Jazz, it is also required for many walks of life. And if life were to continue handing me simple lessons throughout my daily life, it’s that there’s often always room for humility.

What is happiness? No one can answer that, simply because there’s no one answer. And if that’s the case, how can I individually learn to show my happiness to the world in the most humble way possible, so that I might also make others happy? And if happiness is only real when shared, then sharing must be the key to unlocking it. And if that’s the case, then sharing is a gateway towards happiness. And moreover, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about sharing, it’s that it takes a bit of humility to do so.

Our insight of happiness throughout life rides the hyperbola over the infinity of the X axis, until we never get there.


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