(Interestingly, when I went looking for pictures of happiness on the internet I found lots of pictures of groups of people jumping up and down on the beach with their clothes on or individual people standing alone in the middle of an empty field. These don’t quite do it. I mean, I get the point, but these don’t quite portray what I am trying to get at, if I knew myself. I could also go looking for a bunch of people doing something together and smiling. That seems closer, something coming from the heart and spreading out to others, and what is in them spreading out to us. We. Us. Everybody. All is One, as the prayer says.)
Living should be a joy. Every moment we live, every thing we do – everything which gives us enjoyment and happiness – should be a sanctification of the thing that brings life and the moment, an affirmation that the Universe is great and wondrous and we should be thankful to exist. Every instance should be a wonder of new life. We should be thankful we have lived another moment and should be blessed to live another moment more and we should be blessed to be able to share that joy with other people.
This makes sense. We want happiness We want meaning. We want community. We are all looking for a way.
(There are no dragons or jewels or gold or people jumping around on beaches here, just people serving their community, but somehow this fits my image of happiness better.)
I think one of our problems in our quest for happiness is the lack of dragons or jewels or gold or people jumping around on beaches. There’s an element of fantasy we want when we are looking for happiness which just ain’t there in real life.
Life isn’t easy. It takes focus and work and commitment to find happiness and meaning and to share it. The Bible acknowledges this. It says Fear of G-d comes before Love. What does this mean? It means that to find happiness we have to put in effort, and putting in effort is not something we want to do
Not everything that gives enjoyment gives life, neither to ourselves nor to others. Some things which give life to us steals life from others. That’s not an answer, because it takes meaning away from life.
And why shouldn’t I just lock myself away in my apartment and just do stuff which makes me happy, all alone from the stress of the world? Like video games! I am playing a wondrous computer game right now. Hours and hours have been put into it in terms of programming. It has been designed to imitate the wonders of creation and trigger my pleasure and meaning seeking centres and it does a wonderful job, and I sit in front of the screen and run the program over and over again and nothing gets done. Nothing real. I stop eating properly and I stop doing things which could benefit others. I could jack into a computer game, as Bill Gibson might say. But I have a commitment to others and myself. I have a commitment to bring others in my life, for their sake as well as mine. That is why I shouldn’t just lock myself away!
(Don’t get me wrong. Skyrim is an amazing game, with a lot of good and bad things. It is like LIFE concentrated in to this virtual world. This is potential realized. This is the height of computer RPGs with entire communities working away to make the experience constantly new. The problems and the benefits weighed together… well, I have to think about that one… and I have to overcome a video game addiction. The problem is: It never ends. It just goes on and on and on. I have to make a choice. Either life or this. If I choose this I should be as good as a brain in a box. Trouble is: I have been that, and I possibly will be again. One is asked the question, “Do you choose Life?” and then they seduce themselves with the dark side. But it is never that simple.)
Some things steal time from us, create a virtual world which has only the illusion of happiness and meaning and time spent living. But this is a whole topic to itself. That’s a big part of my problem. A part of me actively seeks to steal life and time away from myself.
I haven’t worked this one out yet, but I think I am getting there. It has something to do with… well, it’s complex and wonderful and simple… stay tuned.
Peace and Love