“Most people ask for happiness on condition.  Happiness can only be felt if you don’t set any condition.”

— Arthur Rubinstein

It is only human to formulate definitions for ourselves about what will bring us happiness.  We fantasize about a time in the future when some good dream will come true and fill us with the happiness we seek.  We decide what it is that will make us happy and then pursue that goal or object in order to assure that happiness will be ours.  It is good to know what we want out of life, and it is good to embrace the things that bring us joy; but to be truly happy, we must be ready to embrace the surprises of the unknown as well as those we have tracked down with a purpose.

When we become too focused on the pursuit of a distant and elusive dream, we risk missing out on the happy surprises that come our way each day.  It is easy to confuse being focused with wearing blinders.  I’ve heard it said that life is what happens while we are making other plans.  I think of the great happiness that has entered my own life in peculiar and unexpected ways; and I realize that without some of the sad events that altered my path, I might have missed the greater joy that I found on the side road.  We must break free of the idea that we must choose one or the other — either we must pursue our dream of happiness and miss the surprise, or we must live passively and wait for good things to come our way.  We can do both.  Pursue your dreams, but look around you as you walk.  There may be some happiness that will make your walk more enjoyable and lighten your step.  Plant the gardens of your dreams, but don’t forget to love the wildflowers that grow around the fence.  When we remove the need to choose, when we remove the conditions from our lives, happiness will surely find its way into our hearts.