Thieves of Happiness


Through our study of deliberate creation, we learn that Point of Attraction is of utmost importance. We learn that via our thoughts and feelings–in this very moment–we’re attracting more of the same. Like attracts like! Therefore, we understand that if we care about our future, we must care about how we’re feeling now. And, the sooner that we can right our thinking–by deliberately choosing a positive perspective–the better our future is going to be. Challenging, given the vicissitudes of life? A lesson taken from the Zen Master named Hakuin may help:

The story is told that Hakuin was highly respected for living a pure life. In the village in which he lived, a beautiful Japanese girl resided nearby with her parents. One day, her parents discovered that she was pregnant, and under much pressure she told them that Hakuin was the father of her baby.

The young girl’s parents went to Hakuin and angrily informed him of the situation. “Is that so?” is all that he would say. When news spread through the village, Hakuin’s fine reputation was lost, and he was shunned by many of the villagers. In spite of this, he remained undisturbed. Soon after the baby was born, the girl’s parents took it to Hakuin and demanded that he raise it. Willingly, he accepted the baby and lovingly cared for it, making sure that its needs were met.

A year later, when the young girl could no longer stand her guilt, she told her parents that a young man from the fish market was actually the father. Her parents went to Hakuin. They explained the truth, apologized profusely, and told him that they had come to pick up the child. “Is that so?” is all he said as he willingly yielded to their request.

What lessons may we learn from the story of the Zen Master? First: that we may avoid suffering by going with the flow of life. Hakiun did not resist. No doubt, he would have preferred not to be included in the young girl’s lie; but he didn’t get angry or seek revenge. Instead, he lovingly cared for the young baby. Second: that living from an ego-based perspective–in which we seek approval from others–is a waste of time and energy. Hakiun’s reputation was greatly sullied, but he cared not. Third: that trying to control life is a fool’s game. An infinite number of variables come into play. We may control our attitude only–and that is enough! Four: that we may, indeed, maintain our state of happiness in spite of challenges that come our way.

So, what are the thieves to which I allude in the title of this article? Circumstances, events, and situations over which we have no control! Live long enough, and all of us will experience them, in varying degrees of importance. For example: A neighbour lets his dog defecate on our lawn, despite repeated requests that he control his dog. A diagnosis of a life-threatening disease. A so-called friend who only contacts us to borrow money, our car, or request yet another one-way favour. A family member–mother, father, son, or daughter–whose communication always rings of insincerity and lies. A colleague who claims ownership of our ideas for advancement within the company. A spouse who betrays the sanctity of marriage vows. That variations of the story of Hakuin–whether true or not–will occur is not the question. They will! The question is whether we will transcend them, as did he.

And what is our task, if we’re willing to attempt it? To be like the Zen Master Hakuin. Under real-life circumstances that may hurt us, belittle us, and even threaten to crush us, may we rise to the challenge and think “Is that so?” May we figuratively step back from troubling thoughts and memories that would rob us of our happiness? May we let go of past trials, tribulations, and injustices? And may we turn away from what seems wrong and, instead, seek the glorious light of that which is right–here and now?

Contrary to popular belief, to surrender to what is…is not a sign of weakness. Neither is it a sign of cowardice nor defeat. To resist what is only creates more of the same! In truth, it is not circumstance that creates our happiness; but the opposite–that our happiness creates our circumstance. To accept that life can, and often does, unfold in ways that we could never have imagined is a sign of wisdom. We may apply that wisdom by safeguarding our happiness now. It’s our best of way attracting more happiness in our future.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

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