Happiness is a State of Mind

I saw this question on Quora - "Epiphany: What is the most profound epiphany you ever had?"

I don't have epiphanies very often, so I had to share the one that jumps to mind and add my two cents to this question.  

Here's my answer:

"Happiness is a state of mind. " Six years ago, I was in Kyoto on a consulting trip. You can't not visit temples when in Kyoto, so I found myself in a temple with a zen garden that's supposedly world famous. I stared at the zen garden - sands and rocks and short trees - for a good while along with a dozen other tourists who also spent 1000 yen to come in the temple and to take off their shoes and to look at this garden. "I am not really getting it. " I thought to myself. But I stayed and my mind started to wonder. Naturally, I started thinking about projects and things that stressed me. My eyes were still on the rocks and sands and short trees, but my mind was going back to the real world. And I started to feel less and less "zen" right in the zen garden. Then suddenly this sentence came into my head out of nowhere like someone just beamed this thought through my skull into my brain with a laser. "Happiness is a state of mind. " It's so obvious. Happiness is, after all, a state of mind, literally. But I also at that moment realized that if its merely a state of My own mind, I have total control over it! It was a random moment in my life that I keep coming back to. Maybe it's the zen garden that did its magic, or the fact that I was severely jet lagged. But it's been one of the most powerful statement for me and I try to remind myself of it whenever I am less than happy.

Originally posted on quora.com (https://www.quora.com/Epiphany/What-is-the-most-profound-epiphany-you-ever-had/answer/Brandon-Wu)