Real Happiness - Finding Meaning
What does it really take to be satisfied? We asked some of the smartest people we know.
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the November 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
A friend had an Indian guru who was the embodiment of love, and the guru died. Bereft, my friend went back to India and stayed with the guru's principal disciple, and one day the disciple said, "Do you want to see the precious thing the guru left for me?" Then he pulled out something wrapped in an old Indian cloth and ceremoniously uncovered a beaten-up pot. He said, "Do you see?" My friend answered, "No. What are you trying to tell me?" And with a mad glint in his eye, the disciple said, "You don't have to shine!"
I have found that idea so helpful: You don't have to shine. In my life, I've been lucky enough to befriend many spiritual teachers, and to see that they didn't shine either. They were normal people with normal problems. Of course you should try to make the biggest life possible, but be realistic. If everyone were perfect, we wouldn't be in the human realm. And we wouldn't be developing our hearts.
Mark Epstein, MD, is a psychiatrist and the author of The Trauma of Everyday Life.