This article was written years ago by MSS Hari Jiwan Singh of Espanola, New Mexico:
Sat Nam Dear Family,
There’s a song we sing called “Happiness Runs” which was first sung and released by Donovan in 1969. It’s almost like a camp song. By that I mean that its very simple, rhythmic, and catchy. It could even sung in rounds. The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, loved this song. At first, I thought I understood why. Well, I was wrong again. Please, let me explain why.
The song begins, “Happiness Runs in a Circular Motion.” I thought that the circular meant the circle of life, the completion of this journey. I soon discovered that it’s not just about me. A circle is the symbol of Infinity, of the whole ball of wax, of the whole creation, and beyond! I further discovered that true happiness runs through the service to God’s will. Happiness blends into a contented life, one connected with the circle of Infinity.
The next line is, “Life is like a boat upon the sea.” I thought this meant that staying afloat was a secret. It is, but it turns out that there’s more. Our Guru often refers to our existence as a journey across the sea of of life, the sea of tragedy, the sea of blocks, to the glorious shores of contentment. The image of this crossing as the Guru explains it is, “Across this terrible world ocean.” This image is indelibly inscribed in the consciousness of a Sikh. This line represents the truth and the humility necessary for crossing over into merger with God. Of course, this journey cannot be completed without Guru ji’’s permission. It’s all up to Him. All we can do is get in the boat, paddle, keep paddling, and pray that Guru’s mercy falls upon us.
“Everything is a part of everything anyway,” I never misunderstood this line. It’s right to the heart of the truth. Everything is God, including us. This truth is hard to find, harder to understand, and, still, harder to carry with you. Nevertheless, it’s still the truth. The reality to see this is subject to your consciousness and your karma. But no matter what you or I think, we are all God-in-training. This line reminds us of where we stand in comparison with the big picture, so that humility can visit you. It’s a great thing.
“You can have it all if you let yourself be.” What does “have it all” mean? Will I become a wealthy person? Will I find true love? Will I be remembered? And, by the way, what does “let yourself be” mean? The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, used to say, “To be, to be. Not “to be or not to be” as Shakespeare said. To be, to be was a statement, a mantra, related to the truth and his teaching of – I am, I am. The first ‘I am’ is finite, the next ‘I am’ is Infinite. ‘I am’ my own person, and ‘I am’ the personification of God. ‘I am’ represents ‘to be’ in this world and the next; to master both. In addition, ‘to be’ meant to relax into the exalted state of Guru as existence spins around. Finally, ‘to be’ means to be under the protection and prosperity of Guru ji. This is what is also meant by “you can have it all.”
So, it’s true. This is a grand song. It represents our way of thinking accurately. Like anything, interpretation will vary because of the myriad of personal reasons, excuses, rationales, or justifications available. But, to our teacher, this song depicted a great truth, the great truth of God expressed in the most simple and sophisticated way.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa
You can listen to this song here (we’ve always sung it as “Life is like a little boat”; Donovan sings it as “Thought is like a little boat”):