Last year during my annual seclusion, I found my mind inexplicably seized by a poem—not a fully composed poem, but merely the first two lines, plus a strong urge to expand on them. I followed the urge, and by the end of my seclusion, the poem was a lively, light-hearted encapsulation of an important spiritual principle: right attitude. It was done, and I was satisfied.

Then I reflected, “Gee, it would be fun to share it with others. But how?” After a couple possibilities didn’t pan out, I shelved the idea. It simply wasn’t important.

This year, however, on the day before I was to teach at Spiritual Renewal Week, I realized that, with a bit of tweaking, the poem would fit not only the week’s theme (“Finding Happiness”) but also my class theme: happiness through right attitude. So I shared it at the class:

The Secret of Happiness

An Ode to Right Attitude, by Nayaswami Gyandev
Ah, sweet happiness, so often sought
In places and ways where it simply is not:
In people and things and events—which don’t last;
In sensory pleasures and living life fast;
In being admired, in having our way;
In power, in fame, in lucrative pay.
The happiness these bring is fleeting indeed.
We want the kind that endures—guaranteed.

The key lies in attitude—which is good news
For whatever else happens, that we can choose.
Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s not,
But always it matters, and sometimes a lot.

So ask God to help you, as you do your part
To be even-minded and cheerful of heart.
Be ever awake and ready to go.
Muster your courage, charge into the flow
Of all that life brings, for it’s from the Divine.
Seek only the Spirit, and stay in your spine.
Say “Yes!” to life, if joy is your goal.
Take charge of your attitude. Live from your soul!

Then happiness won’t have to wait one more day.
For it isn’t complex, and it’s not far away.
Joy is within you. Claim it through how
You’re living your life in the here and the now.

Many people remarked on how much they enjoyed it, some online viewers emailed me for copies, and now the poem resides on at least two Ananda websites. So God took care of the sharing. Now I’m on to other things, and the world is saved from me becoming a poet—at least, until the next poem seizes me.


  1. Its such a beautiful, simple and lively poem. Thank you for sharing.

  2. “Now I’m on to other things, and the world is saved from me becoming a poet” – hahahaha!! well I actually don’t believe that, given that your poem was really really beautiful, but I laughed at that!

    This was exquisite!! I liked the last two stanzas very much; I’m really sure you had your mind and soul into it when writing that part because they seemed so much like Master’s and Swamiji’s poems. So simple to remember for the entire day, “Stay in your spine”!

  3. Thanks a lot for this great poem. The part where you say “happiness is sought, where it is not” immediately reminded me of the true self. Very grateful for this!

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