The Secret Meditation

I set out in search of the source of happiness.

I look minutely at the life
of a happy person who is poor,
then talk with him, attempting to discover what makes this person happy.

I think of a joyful person in poor health, in physical pain,
and talk again, searching for what it is that makes her joyful.

I do the same with a happy person who has lost his reputation.

I walk into a prison
and am amazed to find a happy person even here.
She tells me what it is that makes her happy.

Then I observe unhappy people who are free
and wealthy, powerful, respectable.
I talk to them,
and as they talk to me
I listen carefully to their complaints.

Yesterday I had occasions to be happy that I wasn’t even conscious of.
I see them now.

It is inconceivable that anyone could be grateful and unhappy.
I thank the Lord for each event of yesterday and notice the effect this has on me.

And the things I call unpleasant, undesirable
—I search for the good that comes from these . . . the seeds for growth they carry . . .
and find reason to be grateful for them, too.

Finally I see myself
moving through each portion of today in gratitude
—and happiness.