Mickey smiled and said, “That’s it, that’s the first part. I was going to tell you all the detail of the fantastic massage I got at the yoga center. All the detail and how great it felt moment by moment. But I realized I would not be able to, as much as I wanted, to give you the actual taste of the experience. I realized that you can only taste or feel your own experience. And I think you got that point with the orange and view from 84. You have your own direct experience; all I can add is that the massage was the best I ever had and then even better than that.”
“What made it so much better? Don asked.
“Eric the masseur, applied such intense pressure he had to stop and teach me how to balance against the pressure with my breath. He taught me to focus one-pointedly on the in-breath and out-breath so that all other thoughts dropped out of my mind. Then when the pressure from the massage and the letting go of my intense focusing on breath stopped the rebound opened into this wonderful pleasure that spread all throughout my body and mind. That’s part one. Intense one-pointed focus of attention opens the door to happiness.”
“Right. Go inside Mickey, through the door. Tell us what you found there.” Don said.
“Happiness, you dummy.” Artie said.
“Well your almost right.” Mickey told them.
“You are right, the focus of attention does open the door, but the happiness is not on the other side of the door. The happiness is where you are already standing. All you have to do is to know how to look inside of yourself. Its been there all the time. But like the taste of the orange you have to experience it directly for yourself. I can only tell you how I happened to stumble on this for myself.”
“No!” Artie said emphatically. “I get happy when I get what I want. And I get angry when I want it and I don’t get it. My big brother was right about that.”
Don cuts in, “Artie are you really trying to say something good about your brother? Anyway, I don’t think it’s that simple. Sure, when I get what I want it feels good and I am happy (Don pauses) for a while. But pretty soon it wears off and I just want something else. Anyway, remember when we were kids it seemed sometimes we were just happy (Don pauses to reflect) for no reason.”
“Yeah that’s it, you’ve really nailed it, Don.” Mickey said. “Happiness is on the inside. On this side of the door. Maybe it’s, like on the other side of the door to happiness is a big mirror. You open the door, with intense focus of attention and the mirror reflects back to the happiness that grows inside of you. That’s the second part of my story. Uncovering the happiness that is already there.”
As Artie starts laughing to himself, Don asks, “What’s so funny, thinking about your brother?
“No, just imagining Mickey taking off all his clothes for the massage and then looking and hoping to find his inside happiness.” Artie jokes as they all start laughing like little kids.
“Listen for the inside happiness you can leave all your clothes on.” Mickey told them. “What you take off is layer after layer of who you are. That is who you think you are. At a workshop I went to we played a sort of game with another person and you ask them and then they ask you, “tell me who you are.” After you go around with the routine answers of I am Mickey, I am a person, a man, a husband, a father, a brother, a lover, a cook, a cleaner, a driver,
Artie interrupts, “you sure are a talker.”
Mickey says” So you take off not your clothes, but all of the thoughts, ideas, and concepts that are covering up the real you inside.”
“And the real you is happiness, right?” Artie smirks and before Mickey can answer Artie adds a surly, “sure it is.”
“And that’s why I said you have to experience it for yourself.”
“Just like the orange.” Don adds with a big smile.
“Yeah, just like the orange.” Mickey agrees. I was fortunate to stumble into my inside happiness. Others at that workshop did not. As good as the massage felt when I fell into this inside happiness it was even better. (Mickey chuckles thinking) ‘indescribably delicious even more than an Almond Joy.’”
Don asks, “Mick, what’s this got to do with your not wanting to punch out Artie, any more?”
“It started at the workshop along with the discovery of the inside happiness.” Mickey said.
“It was light lightening or enlightening in my head. Artie’s insults dropped out of my mind and I realized they had been the push, for all of those years, that kept me on the path to find my way back to happiness. Every time Artie knocked me down I searched for another way to get back up. If not for Artie I would still be just another unhappy sad sack like the two of you. And still thinking that you cannot be happy without having a reason for something to be happy about.“
They all laugh.
Don quips, “Hey Mick, do you think Artie did it on purpose?”
Artie smiles and barks out “Hey!, let’s go roast some marshmallows, we all know what that feels like.”