The quote, "Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted," is attributed to the actual Deepak Chopra - author, speaker, alternative medicine advocate & spiritualist. The following is a transcript of an imaginary conversation that took place in Jenna Long's head.
JENNA: Hi Deepak! Thanks for stopping by today. I really appreciate you agreeing to have this conversation in my head; I know your schedule is full.
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: You are welcome. It is my practice to not resist imaginary conversations and I am a happier man for it.
JENNA: Yes, your recipe for happiness is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: It's really pretty straightforward, but you are free to ask anything - we are in your head, after all.
JENNA: Right, thanks. "A continuation of happenings which are not resisted?" Happenings? Tell me about these. You mean happenings, like the stuff that happens TO me, right?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: Happenings are the things that happen TO you, but also the things that happen WITHIN you. Thoughts, feelings, as well as the events outside of your control.
JENNA: Damn. That's pretty comprehensive. Are you sure that works? Because what about this: I have a plan for my day, a good plan, a helpful, healthy, plan for a happy day. And then, BOOM something outside of my control alters my plan for happiness, but not in a happier way than I already had planned. When my happy plan gets altered, I get sad or mad or something that is definitely not happy.
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: You're losing focus. Read the quote again. Instead of finding opportunities to justify negativity, this recipe for happiness is about learning how not to resist your life.
JENNA: I don't want to resist my life - or I don't think I want to resist my life - but I also don't feel like a happy person all the time. Is there a way to tell whether or not I'm resisting life?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: When people resist life, they stop asking questions and begin to define themselves by information that is only a fraction of the whole truth that is available to them. Full truths have many shades and colors and textures, and often make us as uncomfortable as they make us comfortable, which is why most of us settle for the parts of truth that are comfortable in one moment in time. Eventually, the happiness that comes from momentary comfort becomes uncomfortable because new happenings never stop occurring. This equals unhappiness because momentary comfort happiness is not large enough to cover all of the new happenings in our lives. It is a cycle that either forces us into the discomfort of change or forces us to work harder and harder defending or justifying something that once made us happy.
JENNA: So by resisting discomfort, or unhappiness, I'm actually resisting comfort, or happiness? At best, this sounds counterintuitive. At worst, it sounds cruel.
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: I'll give you counterintuituve, because the human Self requires paradox in order to become more and more conscious. It would be cruel only if certain people were excluded from opportunities for consciousness. The playing field is even, anyone anywhere can play anytime. We create illusions about what it takes to become our best Selves, and we create the ideas that only certain people are worthy or holy enough to achieve some kind of happy status. But all kinds of people, all day, every day, are choosing not to resist the happenings of their life and therefore are extremely happy to experience everything.
JENNA: Happiness is about experiencing everything?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: Yes.
JENNA: What about the stuff that is unfair? Or traumatic? Do I have to pretend to be happy about this?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: Happiness is not about pretending anything. It is about really living in each moment, comfortable or uncomfortable. Trauma requires healing which takes both time and assistance - get the help you need when you need it. When things are unfair, they are unfair. So feel angry about it. Happiness is about learning to listen to the thing that is there - the thing that is here, in your lap, in your head, in this moment. Listen to whatever emotion or thought occurs and feel it all the way out to the edges. When you know the entire landscape of your emotions - your anger or your sadness as well as your joys - then they will not hold as much power as you give them now. We try to hold onto joy or happiness because it is easy to explore this territory and it feels like time speeds up when we're there. We resist anger, sadness, jealousy, guilt, etc...because that territory is rough and hard and dark and it seems that time slows down to a grinding halt. Time is just time, it happens the same in darkness and in light. So do not be afraid that things are moving to slow or too fast. They're just moving. Happiness is moving with them.
JENNA: I'm super annoyed today. None of the happenings are happening in a way that I'm comfortable with right now. And you're telling me that in order to become comfortable with what is uncomfortable I need to let myself feel annoyed so that I can get to know what it feels like to be annoyed?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: For you, my guess is that it will feel like burning. For other people it might feel different, but no matter how it feels to anyone it will ultimately feel unhelpful at first. But when you stop resisting the burning - or whatever sensation it brings - when you allow yourself to be infused with it, it becomes something else. Most people have a laughter response when it clicks. That's why it is happiness. That is how not resisting the continuous flow of happenings becomes happiness.
JENNA: Happiness is super annoying. "Happiness is feeling all of the feelings all of the time, even when the feeling isn't happiness." Why didn't you just say it like this to begin with?
IMAGINARY DEEPAK: I am a guru, not a pop singer.
JENNA: Fair enough.