Love [Does Not Equal] Happiness.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 26, 2011
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Bruno Mars, Guru:

In the Buddhist tradition, romantic love and longing are often talked about as a mistaken symbol for what we all truly want, which is to be present, genuine, fulfilled. For when we’re fully ourselves, friends with ourselves, then we can be happy alone, we can be content even when disappointed: we can be mindful in every moment. In love with the entire world, and our life—and the magic is that it’s reciprocated, unconditional and just as ecstatic.

This video shows the lengths we’ll go to, if symbolically, for love. I’d do this for love. I’d do that for love. I’d pull a piano on the streets and sing my heart out for love. But love has disappointed me. Love has tortured me. So now I’ll kill myself.

Imagine if we put the same effort into our path and practice of spirituality, of becoming a better person; that is, more fully ourselves. Imagine instead that Bruno would do this and that and pull that piano for (depending on your spiritual tradition) God, or meditation, prayer, enlightenment, good deeds:

Well, Bruno Mars, replace love—which is often itself confused with sex and attraction and infatuation…with real happiness. In the Buddhist tradition, the sitting practice of meditation is the tool, the path, the key to training ourselves to become one of those loveable people in love with life, who seem not to think of themselves, but to fully be themselves.


In that spirit, I’ve repurposed Bruno’s Grenade Lyrics for what we’re truly wanting when we think we want “other,” romantic love:


Easy come, easy go
That’s just how you live, oh
Take, take, take it all
But you never give
Should’ve known you was trouble
From the first kiss
Had your eyes wide open
Why were they open?

[all that’s irrelevant, now that we’re no longer looking to an external source for fulfillment, nor disappointed in them when they cease to make us happy]

Gave you all I had
And you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did
To give me all your love
Is all I ever asked
Cause what you don’t understand

I’d catch a grenade for you the present moment (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for you integrity (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for you the benefit of others (yeah, yeah, yeah)
You know I’d do anything for you compassion (yeah, yeah, yeah)


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “Love [Does Not Equal] Happiness.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    True love doesn't need no grenades:

    Adrienne Mendoza-Fleming That's great!! I tell my kids it's an awesome song but if someone doesn't do the same for U that's just a painful waste of time. Good song to learn from:~)

    Laine D'Souza BRILLIANT ARTICLE! thank you most inspiring.

    Katherine Carroll I'm very conflicted over this song. While I love the tension in the musicality of it, I do think the lyrics portray selfish love rather than true love. His eyes are clouded by wanting to control the other persons actions; that is not a "love" worth having IMHO. Love is freedom to be yourself.

  2. helene_rose says:

    Right on.
    I just wrote about my experience to self love here:

  3. I like this 🙂 alot… now to practice it….. may be harder than it sounds…

  4. Lindsey_Lewis says:

    love this Waylon.

  5. Eric says:

    I wholeheartedly concur with the deconstruction of the lyrics. well played.

  6. Heather Grimes says:

    Nicely done, Way.

  7. […] Mars is lamenting in the song “Grenade” that inspired Waylon’s post , “Love Does Not Equal Happiness“? The funny thing about these situations is: we really wouldn’t want it any other way. […]

  8. catnipkiss says:

    Still love this song… but I get the point – true selflessness, not being attached to the outcome of ones actions, is so difficult in a love relationship. The drama seems to be part of what makes us feel "in love". I'm conflicted; I still want both things (the "in love" feeling and the secureness of non-attachment to the others' reactions) SIGH…

  9. Isabelle says:


  10. slsimms says:

    I love the art…even if it is shallow and conflicted. Sometimes you want to feel a little complicated (for a brief and fleeting moment).

    But point taken…

  11. keely says:

    so Waylon, even though we don’t look to others to make ourselves happy, do you still find yourself in loving monogomous relationships? As in, going the same direction together? Buddha was married but didn’t really live a normal married life. It’s interesting to see how modern day Buddhists reflect the tradition while still living a westernized lifestyle.

  12. Risax says:

    Thank you for using the word repurpose 🙂 great article