Chasing sunny spots, chasing happiness

On a brilliant fall day in Vancouver, I watched Sly the Cat bask in the sun or, rather, a spot of sun streaming through a window. Lying there, soft and toasty, he was utterly content. Life couldn’t be more perfect!

A while later, I noticed that the sunny spot had moved two feet away, but Sly was still smack in its center. Even a house cat must “work”: to adapt to change. A perfect situation is never permanent. If he had stuck to his original sunny spot, he would’ve found himself huddled in the shade. While the sun eventually finds most chilly dark corners, it pays to chase it yourself!

Sly and his sunny spot made me think about the human condition. While a cat’s pursuit of happiness might involve sunshine, companionable humans, and dabs of Petromalt, we are likewise driven to be happy. But, even if we do find a moment (a day, a month, a decade) of real joy, it cannot last forever. On the bright side, if things are bleak, they won’t remain that way: either circumstances change or we cope.

Of course, the real trick is not to be swayed by sun or shade or any external circumstance. If you’re essentially OK with yourself and with life (this includes death), nothing can faze you.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day, which always sneaks up on me. (Thanksgiving in October? On a Monday?) I’m not a big holiday celebrator, but this might be an auspicious day to review the year 2010, already three-quarters gone. Am I in a sunny spot? Are you?

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8 thoughts on “Chasing sunny spots, chasing happiness

    1. Really? Earth is not the center of the universe? The universe does not revolve around me?

      Thanks for the scientific clarification, and thanks for reading;-)

  1. Hi Spy, my scientific clarification was the insight I gained from your post. Thank you, but I guess I need to explain:
    In short, we deal with Change all the time (me too! Really! 🙂 – adjusting ourselves, resisting, submitting to it. Yet in some ways there is no change and there never has been. We invent it to make life more (interesting? challenging? hard?) The news on TV are always the same regardless of the specific content. The people around us and we ourselves go through dramas, changes, yet our nature mostly stays the same throughout life and aging. The ‘real’ things in the universe don’t change – the sun and it’s good, driving energy, Karma and the way it works on us and so on, Atman.
    Sly needs to deal with change because it is chasing pleasure which can never last and is always evasive (my cat Hootly does that too 🙂 and there is a PARADOX here since the sun isn’t moving… Hope this makes more sense now.

  2. Seeing as change is the only constant, and the only thing we can be sure of, your Sly seems to have his paw on the magnetic pulse of it all. What makes us feel good, nourishes and energizes us, like solar energy, prana filled food, yoga, and love, we need to work for, seek out, and discover. True, we can’t be in a sunny place all the time (like right now, 16 degrees in the sun in Vancouver and I sit writing in my dark kitchen as my toddler sleeps—-but we did have the morning at Stanley Park) but we can capture the sun in our hearts. The sunrise of the human heart is the most beautiful sight—-can’t remember who that is by, but this way, we can stay in that spot, most of the time anyhow.

  3. Reading the archives – I really needed this reminder.

    Happiness is not a static state. To keep basking in happiness, one must be prepared take whatever action necessary to maintain that state.

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