A scratchbook for my thoughts on the meandering paths of life.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


What is happiness?

Is it moments of gladness, where warmth flows through you, when things are going well? Is it what you feel in response to a true smile? Is it the satisfaction at a great accomplishment?
Is it an attitude towards the world and life in which you look at it all through a smile? In which you expect good and look for good in everyone, smile at what comes and try to let it pass through you when it is unpleasant?
Is it seeing what you have created around yourself and feeling content and satisfied? Seeing that it is beautiful and good.

Is it, indeed, a feeling? Momentary or enduring, strong or stable?

I've generally thought so. But in the face of encroaching hardship, of years of confusion and struggle, I am thinking again.
If when hardship comes, you lose faith, then what was your faith worth to begin with? If you expect pleasant because you feel you deserve it, but you get painful and feel you do not deserve it, and you lose faith... well perhaps it's understandable. Because words like "understandable" and "human" are our ways of sugar-coating weakness. But that is not faith.

Then again, I'm not exactly religious. What is faith to me?
I'd like to think that it is, actually, more to me than it is to many religious people. For them faith is a word, faith is canonized, institutionalized, expected, assumed as the result of following a preset course.
Those of us who have no religion must define faith for ourselves, fill it with our own life, feed it with meaning.

So for me, life without faith is a very sad life. And my faith has waned weak over the last decade or so. And so, when darkness looms ahead, I must reassess. To finally abandon my faith, or rekindle it with all the zeal I can muster?

But I had not intended to talk about faith. Do I think that faith is the seed of happiness?
But I do think that happiness is a feeling. And I think, in spite of a slightly buddhist tendency, that it is important. And there is nothing wrong in seeking it in accomplishments, in beauty, in love. But being human means reaching further when these are lacking. And further is further inside. And further inside is towards God. Because when accomplishments fail, when beauty falters, when love does not abound, we must still seek happiness. Faith is the way. Or at least one start. You must redefine your attitude. You must look with the eyes of the child, without prejudice. What is beauty? Aren't so many small things also accomplishments? Isn't love everywhere, in every cell and every atom of every thing we perceive?

Human always compares. Are my accomplishments great enough? Is my child as beautiful as theirs? Do they love me as they used to? Do I love them enough? But to really be happy perhaps you must stop comparing. Look at the world and see it anew. Recreate yourself here and now. Light abounds. Miracles abound. Love abounds. You shun it with your mind because you have convinced yourself of what you want. You look ahead and seek your goal with the power of your will.

But when life pulls the floor out from under you the goal may become unreachable. And you can either mourn the failure or you can embrace what life has given you instead. You must have faith for that. Faith that living the present to the fullest and embracing the truth will enrich you, will take you where you need to go. Faith in God or life is like trust in a person. When you trust a person you can lean on them, you can relax with them and be more of who you are. When you have faith you can believe in the present, you can open to it, flow into it, let it flow into you.

No comments:

Post a Comment