"Q) Growing up I remember the saying: happiness is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Do you agree with this?
A) No. That’s the conventional approach and I think it’s a recipe for a life of suffering. There’s nothing wrong with those things, and they feel good, but hanging your happiness on them encourages a lifelong preoccupation with reaching and keeping certain ideal circumstances. Eventually your loved one dies or leaves. Eventually you age and cannot do what you once did. Your thing to look forward to might not be what you expected or might never happen.
So that strategy doesn’t sound too wise. But it’s pretty close to the normal way people approach life. I think we can do better than that.
I have all three of those things all the time whether I’m happy or not. Happiness, to me, is being in the present moment without being preoccupied by a craving for some part of that moment to be different. That’s all it is. The circumstances don’t have to be any particular way if I am able to accept them in real-time without getting wrapped up in how I’d like them to be. To be a happy person is to get good at that."