from Awareness by Anthony De Mello . . .

Confucius said, “The one who would be constant in happiness must frequently change.” If you want to live in happiness, you have to flow with life, because life is constantly flowing, life is always changing.

Of course, we go through life with preferences, but when we don’t let our happiness depend on any one of them, then we’re awake. We’re moving toward wakefulness.

Wakefulness, happiness, flow —call it what you wish— it is the state of non-delusion, where we see things not as we are but as things are, insofar as this is possible for a human being.

Every time you are unhappy, you have added something to reality. It is that addition that makes you unhappy. I repeat: You have added something… a negative reaction in you. Reality provides the stimulus, you provide the reaction. You have added something by your reaction. And if you examine what you have added, there is always an illusion there, there’s a demand, an expectation, a craving. Always.

Examples of illusions abound. For instance, there is the illusion, the error of thinking that, by changing the exterior world, you will change.

You do not change if you merely change your exterior world. If you get yourself a new job or a new spouse or a new home or a new guru or a new spirituality, that does not change you.

It’s like imagining that you change your handwriting by changing your pen. Or that you change your capacity to think by changing your hat. That doesn’t change you, but most people became attached to their preferences and spend all their energies trying to rearrange their exterior world to suit their tastes.

Sometimes they succeed and for about five minutes, they experience a little respite from all that effort, but they are tense even during that respite, worried the current rearrangement won’t hold, which it ultimately won’t because life is always changing.