Happiness, Choices, and the Real Me

(Video of my Seattle trip, not the best quality as usual…but something, at the very least, to represent the experience.  Alan Watts on the audio).

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

–Watts

Is the road to happiness a lonely one?  I guess that depends on the person travelling on the road.  Some people find happiness and companionship all at once.  For me, it’s a multi-step program.  When I am alone everything makes sense and I see that much of my life and how I feel about it is a matter of choice.  Rather, it is a series of choices or options for how I feel about:  each word that I said or was uttered to me in the past, each itchy mosquito bite, each gust of wind, each moment of eye contact, each exchange of confessions, each drop of rain that falls from the sky, each perfectly unique snowflake, each bite of food that agrees or disagrees with my taste buds, each swig of water, each loss or death, each birth or gain, each friendship, and so on, and so on.  Admittedly, I have used anger and sadness so much, in the past, as a default that those emotions used to be the first ones I wanted to turn to…even when something good happened.  But now I slowly feel myself moving toward positivity, toward the notion that even bad things are good and they will help other things coalesce down the road.  When I am alone in my own quiet and happy world I am Zen, or at least I have moments of true and powerful clarity.  I have connected with something far larger than myself, its presence is abundantly clear!  Sometimes I can see the greater purpose of everything in my life and I transform into something else.  I am still me, but instead of being something that meanders and stalls…I become something that floats and progresses.  My heart beats differently, my lungs smile at the air that fills them, my stomach is calm, and my brain becomes bright as it hums.  This feeling cannot be truly captured with my words, at least not yet, but it is very real and it is the most beautiful feeling I have ever had!

When I connect back with people, sometimes things go really well.  I feel like they can finally hear me because I can finally speak.  Recently, I connected with friends who I have known for years, but they never really met me until about a week ago.  I just finally opened up a little bit, not all the way, but enough for them to catch a glimpse.  I was elated after I left their presence and felt hopeful.  I think it went well because they knew that they didn’t know me and they jumped at the opportunity to see me when I offered to reveal a part of myself to them.  But the people who have already formed an opinion of me, the people who falsely believe that they know me…those are the ones that I struggle with.  It isn’t even a struggle, that word doesn’t do it justice; it is an epic-bloody-raging battle.  This battle field is full of passive aggressive quips, backhanded compliments, yelling, crying, and even sometimes a total ignoring of my existence.  Oh, and it hurts!  It hurts so badly!  As they swing their swords at me, I try to help heal their wounds, I try to maintain positivity, I try to be understanding of the fact that the battle they are fighting is not against me…it just hurts when their swords stab through my heart as I continue to try stitch their weeping cuts.  In these circumstances I don’t know how to balance the “me” who floats and sees unity in life, and the “me” who hurts and feels unbearable pain.  I think it must be a test; it must be the next step in the progression of my existence.  I need to try and see the purpose in the battle, I need to continue to leave my sword behind and refuse to contribute to any form of destruction or devastation.

Happiness, what a curious thing it is!  It is elusive and mysterious, but at the same time powerful and overwhelmingly good!  I am certainly on a quest to maintain a life that is more inclined toward joy.  I recognize the need for balance and the purpose of other (less pleasurable) emotions or states of being, but I don’t want to live my life so far away from the light anymore.  I promise myself that I will try to see the opportunity for joy before I see the opportunity for pain, I promise I will be strong for the ones love—even when they decide to hurt me, I promise I won’t give up, I promise to be constructive, I promise to be helpful, I promise to forgive, I promise to be genuine, I promise to face fear, I promise to be the light.

After a day of exploration and a night of sleeplessness near Seattle, I started thinking: what if every person I encounter is a person that I once was or will be in the future?  What if every person that makes me mad, sad, happy, excited, or exhausted is just me?  What if every wrong doing or injustice is self-inflicted?  To me this is a captivating contemplation and possibility, and it really makes me turn my head and see things in a new way.  It’s true that I (as in me, the one person that I believe I am right now) have been guilty of enraging myself to the point of screaming in the same way that I have been guilty of making myself laugh to the point of tears.  But the idea that each and every person is just another version of themselves (or me) is a bit mind boggling.  It really makes sense to me though.  It would be a genius way to test a person and to teach them all at once.  And what if it goes beyond that?  What if every fly swatted, every rat trapped, every bird shot, every dog loved is another me?  What if I am me for X amount of years and then I become you…and you become me?  What if you treat me like shit this time and I treat you like shit next time, when you become me?  What if I love you fearlessly in this life, and in the next life it is you who loves me?  What if the person you fear most, is the person you used to be?  What if you are about to become the rabbit that you just hit while driving down the road?  Bump, bump!  Does this mean that I should treat everyone the way I would treat myself if I were them?  I know I need to be better at seeing the world through the eyes of others.  I really do try a lot of the time, to be empathetic and sympathetic whenever possible, however, I am guilty of heartlessness and cruelty and judgment…just as much as you are guilty of it.  But since you are another version of me, I guess we both already know that?  I’ll be perfectly honest here…it is 4:45am and I have barely slept a wink, so all of this is probably mumbo jumbo—blabbering madness.  I just woke up out of a scarce sleep and felt like I needed to write this down.  I will also admit that I have been listening to a lot of philosophy-type podcasts and Sir Alan Watts, so I am sure that has something to do with all this too.  No doubt, someone else has thought of this before and written it down in a much clearer and well-expressed way.  But then, if someone else did it, and if they are just another version of me, then I once wrote this down and did a damn good job!  I also, then, invented the wheel and all the other marvelous and terrible things in the universe.  What does that mean when it comes to the Creator (or Creators)?  Does it mean that we are all the Creator(s) and the Undertaker(s)?????????  Mind—explode!

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