But we forget. We return to a preoccupation with what we don't have. And, of course, there is always something. Therefore, we are never happy.
But happiness, relative earthly happiness, is possible. It comes from turning the tables on the typical attitude. Instead of dwelling on what we don't have, we can dwell on what we do have.
We can do this best by imagining how we would feel if we lost what today we take for granted. This should not be difficult. Perhaps we have already been without it. Perhaps we know of someone who doesn't have it now.
Let us imagine we didn't have it. And how we would feel. And how we would feel if we got it back.
If we were starving, oh, how we would long for food.
If we were homeless, oh, how we would feel if suddenly we were taken in.
If we were unable to see, or to walk, we would tell ourselves that if only we could see, or walk, we would never complain about anything else again.
The secret of happiness: knowing what we have when we have it.
* * *
Gratitude is a choice. Since even the most fortunate are often unsatisfied, it is clear that gratitude does not come from what we have. It comes from how we look at what we have.