My friend from high-school, Blair (the quintessential surfer dude) lives in Malibu, California. I decided it was time to getaway from the city and pay him a visit. He picked me up from the airport with an ear-to-ear pearly white smile and a big bear hug. With his ability to make me laugh with just one look at him, he’s one of the few I’ve kept in touch with from home.
My favorite thing about Blair and his roommates apartment is that they always leave their front door open. All day and night, they have friends coming in and out, making their entrance known with a loud “Yeeeew!”
One absolutely perfect sunny afternoon, a few of us ended up on the porch. We were all sitting together under the warm sun, sharing stories, laughing. I looked at the boys and thought, “My god, they’re just a bunch of happy dudes.” I couldn’t help but compare their lifestyle to my own in the madness of Manhattan. And it hit me: their days are spent surrounded by friends whereas many of mine are spent alone.
Studies show that 340 million people suffer from depression, myself included. From the Tibetan Buddhist perspective, we understand the cause for depression is thinking about ourselves all the time. Unfortunately, this is what our consumer capitalist society teaches us: to do, buy, and try the things that will make “ME” happy. Well, if any of that really worked, then I highly doubt that depression would be predicted as the number two cause of death by 2020…
Master Shantideva gave us the secret to happiness: “All the suffering in the world comes from wanting happiness for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from wanting happiness for others.”
It doesn’t matter how many yoga classes you take, how many green juices you drink, how many vitamins you swallow. What matters most in this short life is making others smile.