From Dr. Lu – Happiness Is A Cloud

[Quantum Healing With Dr. Lu]

Happiness Is Like A Cloud

by Dr. Nan Lu

What is happiness? Have you ever asked yourself what happiness really is? Where it comes from? What its real nature is? To some people, happiness seems like an illusion, something unreal or, at least, a state that doesn’t last long. Maybe you’ve decided that to feel happy you need to buy a big, beautiful house. So you work and work, month after month, year after year, to save the money. One day you get the house, the big house you knew would make you happy. You move in and sooner or later you realize that you are still looking for happiness. What’s going on here?

There is such a thing as happiness, it is real. People are always looking for happiness, but happiness is in the mind. It’s like a cloud that comes and goes across the sky. We’re searching for a cloud because clouds have many interesting shapes and eye-catching colors. They are always moving, and so searching for a cloud is something exciting. Just like a cloud, happiness is always moving—moving from one thing to the next and the next. . . .  That is its nature.

But joy . . . joy is like a blue sky that is always there behind the clouds. Everyone wants happiness because happiness is easy to catch. Joy is different from happiness: With joy, you have to discover what you already have, to accept it, and to embody it. Yet almost no one wants to make the quantum shift necessary to discover joy!

This is the big difference between the East and the West: The goal of all Eastern training and Eastern spiritual practice is to discover joy. Western practice tries to catch happiness. That’s the main difference. Yet, in order to feel either happiness or joy, it’s still associated with your body. Your body has to function in balance so your mind can be balanced. Happiness functions in the mind; joy functions in the heart. Deep meditation teaches you to have a peaceful heart, a baby’s heart, an empty heart. The mind can be peaceful, yet that’s not the deepest level of practice. In the East, we believe the mind is controlled by the heart. In the East, a peaceful mind is never talked about as the ultimate goal—it’s opening the heart, having a peaceful heart full of unconditional love.

It’s o.k. to try to have happiness because, generally speaking, when you are happy it’s better than being angry or sad. Happiness is considered a “positive” emotion. Emotions do affect your health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we understand that anger impacts the function of your Liver; sadness affects the state of your Lungs. Our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits are interconnected and each aspect of being has a great impact on the health of the whole individual. So in a sense, it’s better to have happiness.

But you have to understand one thing: You cannot always keep happiness; you cannot maintain a state of happiness indefinitely. Grasping for happiness all the time will make you become unbalanced, maybe even crazy. When it leaves, you will immediately continue to search for it without end. When will the search be enough? See? You cannot continue to just feed the mind. It’s impossible. If you continue to feed the mind, the happier you are, the more depressed you’ll be with what you have. After you get happiness, when you achieve the big, beautiful house, then you will be depressed because . . . what’s next? Which cloud are you going to pursue now?

You see, joy is not achieved; joy has to be discovered. Joy is what you already have—you are born with it—it’s deeply woven into your body, mind and spirit. You have to nourish this concept because joy is yours. It’s within, just like your inborn healing ability. But because of the culture or our upbringing or personal environments we become distracted and unaware of what is really ours, and then we confuse happiness with true joy. Yet no matter what, joy is like a blue sky: it is there all the time underneath everything else. You just have to understand, you just have to realize, it’s with you all the time. Discovering joy requires a change in consciousness. Qigong is a path that can connect you to the Universal—and to this deeper aspect of yourself.

If we look at joy using the meditation concept, which is also Qigong practice, it has no action; happiness has action. To experience true joy, you don’t have to do anything. Joy does not rely on action. Joy does not depend on external circumstances or events. It’s something that comes internally. When you are happy, you always want to continue doing something, to extend the happiness with more action. Happiness is more on the superficial level, the physical level: you can see it, think about it, you can feel it—it’s outside, it’s external.

Joy has great depth; it is an invisible aspect of this reality. Happiness manifests itself in the visible; it has no real depth. In a way, they reflect Yin and Yang, the duality of our existence. Can you see the difference in your life? 


The colors of the world blind human eyes;
The tones of the world deafen human ears;
The tastes of the world make human mouths water;
The pursuit of pleasures makes the human mind crazy;
The pursuit of the unattainable makes human conduct unnatural;
The wise man puts his ear to his heart and ignores his mind.

Tao Te Ching (c.a. 500‒200 B.C.E.), Chapter 12


Nan Lu, OMD, LAc, is the founding director of TCM World Foundation and its sister organization, Tao of Healing, both based in New York City. He is clinical associate professor at the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Lu holds a doctorate from Hubei College of TCM, China, and is a Lac. In New York State. Classically and university trained, he is a master herbalist as well as an internationally recognized Taiji expert and Qigong master, and is a best-selling author of three TCM books published by Harper Collins. Dr. Lu’s specialties include women’s health, cancer and immune system disorders and he frequently partners with doctors of Western medicine using a complementary approach. He advises and lectures extensively on TCM, preventive and integrative medicine and has been an invited speaker at major conferences, (;;  

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