How about some peace and happiness with a side of potatoes for the holidays?

Via Brooks Hall
on Dec 15, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

Trikonasana at the Flat Irons

Man’s condition. Inconstancy, boredom, anxiety.
Blaise Pascal

It is a sign of health and sanity to seek happiness.
~ Georg Feuerstein

Do people still want happiness? Do we believe in it?

Or has happiness become like one of those ubiquitous tchotchkes, that we might consider, and enjoy lightly from time to time, but not really take very seriously. (Can we even take happiness seriously? Is happiness a serious matter?)

Oh, yeah, that…

Do we confuse stress with aliveness?

This topic is raised in a paper by Georg Feuerstein called “Quest for Happiness” that came up on my Facebook News Feed this week. When I ask myself this question, the answer is sometimes “yes”. When I drink a lot of coffee, I might enjoy the buzz, but it also tends to raise my anxiety levels. (And I’ve been off coffee recently because I want to be more clear.)

And, honestly, I realize that I don’t want anyone to tell me how to be happy. “Happy” is for schmucks (whoever they are…). I think “happy” is for when I’m dead. I just want to live now. Have the experience as it naturally presents itself…

But what if that’s not enough? Are happy people foolish? Or can we reasonably set ourselves up for a modicum (or more) of happiness in life?

I’ve had this on my Facebook page forever as my favorite quote:

Peace can exist only in the present moment. It is ridiculous to say “Wait until I finish this, then I will be free to live in peace.” What is “this”? A diploma, a job, a house, the payment of a debt? If you think that way, peace will never come. There is always another “this” that will follow the present one. If you are not living in peace at this moment, you will never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only “the hope of peace some day.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

And Georg Feuerstein says something similar about happiness:

To be presently happy rather than to seek to become happy is an open option for all of us—in every single moment.

It just seems so overwhelming to try to be peaceful or happy…

Pass the potatoes, please. (much easier)

I can try a nice breath in and out—oh yeah, feels pretty good…

Enjoy the season! (And remember to breathe…)

* message from Yogic Muse *


About Brooks Hall

Brooks Hall is a Yogic Muse from Chicago, Illinois. In this capacity she teaches Yoga, writes about Yoga, and generally enjoys it. You can find her at:


10 Responses to “How about some peace and happiness with a side of potatoes for the holidays?”

  1. I think I have a shorter version of that Thich Nhat Hanh quote on my Facebook page…"the If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now" part (along with, as I remember, a really dark Lou Reed quote).

    All in all, I suspect happiness is complicated…

  2. Great post, and love the quotes!

  3. Hi Brooks.

    What you write above
    is the ultimate wisdom of the ages
    (and the sages, for that matter).

    I believe deeply in "Sat…Chit…Ananda"
    so I'm pretty happy over all.

    But who wouldn't be,
    since "I am That" ("That" being
    the infinitely wondrous universe).

    However, that doesn't mean
    I don't get grumpy
    now and then.

    Great blog.

    Bob W.

  4. anahita says:

    Love that Thich Nat Hanh quote! …but then, I can't help but love almost everything he says 🙂
    Happy Holidays!

  5. Laura says:

    We might feel happy in this moment….we might not…but the important thing to remember is that e-motions are energy in motion…so a sadness, suffering, grieving will pass and happiness, joy, peace will return…and pass and return and on and on…knowing this brings equanimity…or at least cultivating equanimity, f being "ok" with "just this."

  6. Great post, Brooks! And, yes, we love potatoes, too 😉

  7. Mary says:

    Thanks Brooks! I needed to hear that! Great post! Happy Holidays!

  8. […] lady was throwing out postures I’ve never seen before, like one which loosely resembled Trikonasana triangle pose, but without the usual setup of moving the hip back, and weird foot placement. The […]

  9. […] get to the heart of the matter—pun intended—no amount of mental adjustments will give lasting peace or happiness. Ah! Is that why we’re not completely satisfied, even with the keenest spiritual attempts? In The […]