“How are you?”
“I’m happy to be here.”
When I read a while back that goodbye in Icelandic translates as “Go happy,” I began using it. Others seemed to enjoy it and so it became part of how we communicate, along with our customary ‘bye and gassho.
On the morning "How" radio show we heard from a practitioner who has begun to respond, “I’m happy to be here,” when asked, “How are you?” She told us how helpful she finds it in moving from conditioned mind’s autopilot reactions (fine, okay, not that great, etc.) to a “getting HERE I realize I’m happy to be HERE” response. Again, people began to take up the practice, experiencing that “helps me remember to get HERE before answering" she described. Since then we’ve heard from a few folks who feel they’re being left out because they don’t feel happy; they can’t talk about what’s real for them because “we all have to be happy all the time.”
The “happy” we’re talking about is not the “yea, I’m happy; I just got what I want” of egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate. A synonym for the happy we’re pointing to is gratitude. “I’m happy to be here” is like saying, “Regardless of all that may be happening in any moment, in the big picture I’m grateful to be here, grateful to be alive.”
That’s the attitude of mind and heart we want to bring to every moment. From that place of seeing this as “Oh, happy, blessed opportunity,” we can hold on to our trust in Life and face anything, knowing we are loved and supported. Without that awareness of presence, we find ourselves taken over by an ego orientation focused on an endless false list of “what’s wrong.”
“I’m happy to be here” is simultaneously a prayer of thanksgiving and a call for any and all available assistance. It’s equivalent to “Hello, Life! I’m available” we met in I Don't Want To, I Don't Feel Like It. Rather than being the superficial, flippant retort ego would like to frame it as, it’s a very deep place in which to practice every-moment Zen.