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“Why is it so difficult to be happy?”

The Russian writer Dostoevsky had a surprising response to that question:

Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy. That’s the only reason. The man who discovers that will become happy that very moment.”

Really? I’m not happy because I don’t know I’m happy? Is this some kind of naive, spacey, hippy-dippy spiritual fast food?

Coming from someone else, it might be. But consider Dostoevsky’s story.

He suffered constantly from terrifying, painful bouts of epilepsy. As a young man, he was put in prison by political enemies and sentenced to death. Execution day came and he was led out in front of a firing squad, blindfolded. The soldiers raised their rifles…and at the last moment, a rider on horseback approached with news from the Duke, staying the execution. Dostoevsky had been spared!

Perhaps Dostoevsky has given us something that is at least worth reflecting on…

…Maybe a key to being happy in the life I have is to realize that it could, at it any moment, be taken away.

…Maybe we don’t quite realize how happy we are.

…Maybe happiness is not the end goal; maybe it’s the place you start.