Tonight I remembered, somewhat out of the blue, the thing that I used to remember that made me happy!

(I say somewhat out of the blue because Kim and I were listening to an audiobook called The Secret (recommendation courtesy of Oprah) that was along a similar line, and probably got me thinking in that direction.)

Once I remembered it – the thing – it seemed incredibly silly that I’d ever forgotten it.  Hopefully, by writing it down, the little pebble of truth will stay anchored somewhere in my mind.  It was something Dad told me when I was really depressed in high school, but I think the mantra is actually courtesy of Cindy DeJong (or some De-something – she went to Mexico with Jill one year, and the quote comes by way of her):

You have to choose to be happy!

I think the thing about it that makes me happy is that it reminds me that my state of mind – though it appears to be a huge, indestructible edifice forced upon me by the world and circumstances – is in fact a fragile prop of my own construction, easily toppled over by a smile.

Following a tangent, while listening to The Secret in passive skeptic mode (my default mode), I was internally scoffing at the titles of the “great, modern teachers” the author had supporting her thesis.  Most were of the following ilk: “life coach”, “personal empowerment advocate”, “motivational speaker”, “self-help author”.  Of course I scoffed – those titles imply no degree, no verifiable credentials; they don’t express any branded authenticity.

But then I couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus and the Buddha weren’t pretty much the same thing.   I’m not suggesting any of these folks were Jesus or the Buddha, any more than I’m implying that any of the other hundreds of Messiahs, thousands of Sons of God, or tens of thousands of mystics were the Christ or Buddha, but I can’t help but wonder if they were just the populist self-help authors of their days.  They were definitely populists (well, Jesus was – I can’t admit to knowing much about Buddha’s contemporary reaction), definitely mocked and derided by the scholars, and not famed for any orthodox or authoritative credentials.  Both, too, were largely discounted and forgotten by their own popular following within their own lifetime.

Probably this line of thought is an obvious one for most people, but my brain’s never been down it before.  It makes me want to be a little less skeptical (though perhaps not less critical), and a little more patient, a little slower to react to new ideas.