“The Purpose of Life is to be Happy”


Namaste …

             Aloha …

                         Peace …

                                   and   …

                                                 Happiness …


    I’m the “Gleeful Guru” …  or so I’ve been told for so long, that I have begun to believe it myself.   In the midst of the deepest philosophical discussions on the deepest matters, such as the meaning of life, where the soul goes ( if it goes anywhere at all) after death,  whether quantum theory really does explain the concept of a common consciousness  or  if the sound  of “OM” when intoned correctly over a flat surface dusted with iron filings can actually create the Shri Yantra … topics like this … my mind will wander off and find some humor somewhere to either derail my thoughts entirely or send them careening wildly off in another direction.

    I have occasionally been distressed by my apparent lack of  solemnity in public,   particularly since I am very serious about these matters.  Lately with all this bavarcation about “adult attention deficit disorder”,  I am somewhat mollified by the notion that I may merely have a disease which is now currently fashionable and I needn’t distress myself unduly.  Which is a relief.

   The fact is,  I find the world very funny.   I find human foibles endearing.  I find pomposity so ridiculous that it amuses me.   And when a situation is particularly unpleasant, I keep hearing my mother’s voice saying,” Oh but this will make such a good story …”    And that sets me off.

   But in the past few years,  I’ve begun to sense that God … or Allah, Yahweh,  Brahma, Jehovah or as I prefer ( so as not to accidentally skip any Divine aspect) the “Universe” … is indeed a sublime prankster.  And as I’ve become more and more aware of apparent “coincidences”,  I have found a Creator who also embraces humor and tremendous joy.  This was an overwhelming discovery for me.

And I should have found it much much sooner.  Because Universe was tugging at me to get my attention.  For thirty years!

There was the Maharishi Yogi in Amritsar.  I sat at his feet with a small group of ladies and received my “Mantra” directly from his lips into my ear.   Why didn’t I notice his soft giggle running counterpoint with every word.   The warmth in his eyes … the mischief?   How did I miss it?

And the Dalai Lama.   Oh I loved his explanation of how he dismantled a clock to see how it worked and the bemused expression on his face as he admitted that he could never get it back together again.   He sat there with the cogs and gears on his table and waggled his head ruefully over his helplessness.   But there was a gentle smile on his lips.

Swami Yogendra-ji sitting serenely with an array of students awaiting his instructions on the next asana .  His ashram lay directly under the old Santa Cruz airport in Bombay.   As the jets hurtled upwards or thundered down to land, the entire building shook as if in the throes of a bomb attack.  And the old Swami would throw up his hands and laugh and exclaim that if we could do our exercises with this distraction, we’d really know the positions correctly.   A frown never crossed his face and if a particularly loud plane rattled our bones, he’d chortle as we cringed.

It was all around me.   The teachers or gurus … the ones who truly connected with us and with that Universe … all contained a reservoir of laughter.   It was there in their eyes and bubbling just beneath the surface.   The steely grimness of the preachers, pontificators and prosetylizers I had seen in my early years was nowhere to be found.


And then in 1998  “The Art of Happiness” was published.   It is a handbook of lessons for living  by the Dalai Lama which have been gleaned from lectures and interviews  by Dr. Howard Cutler. The first chapter opens with this wonderful quote by the Dalai Lama.

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.   That is clear.”

And I believe that the Dalai Lama is absolutely correct.  When we accept this and jettison all the grimness and artificial “goodness” foisted upon us by religious leaders, we will see something else.   That this “happiness” is indeed dependent not upon wealth or power or any of the things people mistakenly strive towards.   It is part and parcel of how we feel towards each other.   The truest happiness is not obedience to a straight and narrow path of required actions.  It is finding joy in the act of giving and sharing.

This feeling cannot be dictated.  It comes as naturally as breathing when one truly connects with other people.  As a teacher … as a mother … as a lover.   It comes when you pet a purring cat.  It comes when a plant you’ve watered and tended suddenly one day offers you a flower.  Above all it comes when in the deep quiet of your heart, you connect to Universe … and listen.   It is all around us.

So here on this modest blog, I will share.   And connect.   And I know this will give me great happiness.   Even as I write these words, I am happy.

The Gleeful Guru




16 Responses to “The Purpose of Life is to be Happy”

  1. Darrell says:

    You are still my Swami Suchabana! Love you, Sissy Boo

  2. Diane says:

    To The Gleeful Guru, I found your site on the article from Julie Ross and her new daughter Jessie. Upon reading your powerful words, I decided to find your site to get some help finding such happiness that you portray through your words, let my journey begin, and thank you for sharing!

  3. I had not read ‘The Art of Happiness’ – but I do think I should. What was so amazing was the quote from the beginning of the book. When I first met my husband one of the very first things we discussed was our ‘take’ on life. He told me that he felt we are here to be happy – I was extremely impressed – nothing grand or over-thought … just that simple phrase. He lives his life making all his choices and decisions based on the happiness factor – it’s the most wonderful way to live! 🙂

    Thank you so much for your inspiring blog – I read blogs based on my happiness factor – and yours brings a smile everytime I read one of your posts!

  4. nikkitytom says:

    And thank you too … it is the most wonderful thing to know that something I’ve written brings a smile. That’s what keeps me “gleeful” …

  5. Andrew Kirkland says:

    I am sure you do not remember me, but we met about a year ago at the Sheraton in Hawaii. i was the manager for the Mississippi State tennis team and I purchased jewelry for my grandmothers and my mom. You left a very clear impression on me, and I have kept your card in my wallet ever since. Unfortunately this is the first time I have had a chance to read your blog, but I wish I would have started reading sooner. Your words are really inspiring and I wanted to thank you greatly for posting!

  6. Rachel & Alex says:

    Hi, I was purchase jewelry from you last week at Sheraton Hotel in Hawaii. I wish you’ll remember us. We told you we are from Vanvouver. When we’re back home, your smiling still in my minds. I want to let you know. The Jewelry really beautiful, i like it so much. I want to say thanks to you. I wish we will see you next time in Hawaii.

  7. Gail Fiske says:

    Am visiting your website in depth since your introduction and….since I last posted to you on HP earlier today 1/21/13. AND as I expected AM INDEED not disappointed, but invigorated! Like a breath of the purest fresh air to my being….thank you so much for this opportunity to experience the “refreshment” of spirit and mind I can find here of others with empathy, openness, generosity, tolerance, acceptance, freedom from and encompassment….here in VT so rural, so loved, it is difficult to find individuals….though I know they ARE here because of the nature of the State. I am gleefully pleased!

  8. Rita says:

    I am the Indian decent lady from Canada, met you at Sheraton Hotel almost two weeks ago. I spoke with you about my personal life, I took your advice and your inspiring words on the goodness of life, you have since been on my mind. I have read your blog, you have really motivated me to look at life from a different angle and that me stronger and more peaceful. Thank you and I wish our paths to cross in future.

  9. Joan Farley says:

    Nikki – How wonderful to find you. Maybe you remember me – the lady form Virginia who loves your jewelry and has visited you several times at the Sheraton Princess. I just found your card in my things, and looked to see if I could find you. I am delighted you have written a book about your mother – I will always remember the story of the clunky wooden necklace you bought her in delightful wickedness, only to have her pull off wearing it and making it look like a million dollars! (I bet you remember me now!) Your elegant art of presentation still prevails in your lovely website. I have printed out some of your stories to sit and read at my leisure. Take care Nikki and always stay as delightful as you are. Joan

  10. nikkitytom says:

    Thanks SO much for your warm words …. gives me what we call “chicken skin” here in Hawaii. Yes I do remember you and the story of Mom’s necklace. I wish I’d thought of that tale for the book, It’s quintessential “Mom”. So glad you located more of the little memoirs here … I think at least half of them were first published right here on thegleefulguru. Now I’ve opened another site on Etsy featuring my new digital prints which have taken over my life. The link is http://www.etsy.com/shop/NikkiTyTomkins. I’m having such fun with these. I realized I’m a “geriatric nerd” ….

    Take care and thanks again for your kind words. Hope we’ll see you again soon in these sunny isles. Aloha Nikki GG

    • Joan Farley says:

      I have started reading “Bird Songs” and am finding it quite delightful. My husband has promised me another trip to Hawaii – if I come you must autograph it for me.

  11. nikkitytom says:

    Thanks and “Mahalo Nui Loa” …. I am SO glad you are enjoying my little memoir of my dear Mom ….. and will be so happy to autograph it for you on your next trip. I am also very touched that you tracked it down on Amazon to get a copy. That warms an “author’s heart”. Will have my pen ready and a big Aloha for you when you next touch our Hawaiian shores ….

  12. Dot Kemper says:

    I met you this Spring at the Sheraton Princess in Honolulu and was richly rewarded in meeting you. Thank you. Thoroughly enjoyed talking with you, laughing with you and sharing life experiences. Am giving your web address and e-mail address to a friend who is coming to Honolulu………she is planning to look you up. Thank you for being in my world! Dot Kemper

  13. Kavita says:

    Dear Nikki, I read a story by you in the magazine Imprint many years ago, it left an impact, & I came looking for you today. Your name stayed in my head these decades. Regards, Kavita

    • nikkitytom says:

      Namaste Kavita. I am so touched that someone would remember my name after almost thirty years … which is when I wrote my story for Imprint. I still have a copy of that magazine. Now this miracle of the Internet has given me a chance to write so much more. Now composing music for piano students and trying to fill in that gap between the easy pieces and early classics. And from time to time I write a piece for my Gleeful. But almost everything I do or write has its roots in my years in India.

      Jai Hind! Nikki

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s