[This article was originally written by Jay in four sections. The first section was written on June 24th, 2001. The second was started on June 26th, 2001, then picked back up again, mid-sentence and without missing a beat, on February 2nd, 2002. Jay wrote the third and fourth sections March 18-19th, 2003. As always, you can read what Jay thinks about this subject in 2014 in the post script. Happy reading! – Dawn]
Happiness. Happiness is the path, it is the journey, it is the vehicle, it is the fuel; and it is, of course, the destination. Happiness.
Thwarted happiness causes all sorts of ugly circumstances, from the harmless complainer to the mass murderer. Yet happiness pursued can change the most destructive person into a useful and productive member of society.
It’s been said that we all must have something to live for, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously. And it’s true, I think: something motivates each of us each morning to get out of bed and do what we do throughout the day. What we do is a physical manifestation of the “why” behind it, and thus we make our lives the way we want to.
Yet our lives don’t turn out the way we thought we wanted them to. This can, of course, be good or bad. I thank my lucky stars every day that I’m not living the life I imagined for myself in my childhood. The feeling and the idea though; that I’m finally beginning to grasp: I always thought that happiness was my birthright, that if I did right and lived right I would be happy. Now, I suppose that’s true, if you live it to the nth degree; but I was thinking of a much broader context.
It does become clear, though, that it’s really quite simple in theory: think right, feel right, speak right, live right, maintain always the right perspective and you get to attain and maintain happiness. The practice, of course, will take much time and many pages.
The problem we face with discussing Happiness is that it’s a much too commonly used word. I’ll try to be as consistent as possible and capitalize when the word is to have special meaning because Happiness is a word of Destiny. We are all unlimited untapped unrealized potential, and true Happiness is the unique domain of those few who glimpse and move to fulfill that potential. Yet all too common is the man with a decent job and a wife who will discuss with him the trivialities of a day poorly spent until bedtime draws nigh, who calls himself happy. He stole his definition of Happiness from people who didn’t really have anything worth stealing.
I’ve got to say it, though I’ve said it a million times already: if you don’t have an intimate, conscious and loving relationship with God, you are not truly Happy. If you’ve never felt the love of God flowing through you, then you don’t even know what True Happiness is. And though our compassion makes it sad to admit it, most people seem not to have knowingly felt the love of God for any period in their lives.
Yes, even compassion plays a part in Happiness; and even I, the intolerant one, must admit it. I can’t help, when I meet a person, getting an immediate emotional impression from them. My overall impression of them broadens over time, but that first overwhelming glimpse is never (well, almost never) proved wrong. Two of the best friends I’ve ever had were people I had an intense hate/hate relationships with for months. Very intolerant, both, just like me.
Yet it’s my very strong empathy that made me decide to develop my seemingly intolerant attitude. Still, it would seem that to watch a sunset and cry Happily, you turn those eyes to a person doing their best to define the word asshole and you can’t help but see inside them and feel compassion.
We see a dead animal, we know it’s okay; nothing really dies, ever… yet we feel compassion that this creature chose this time to physically die. We know how it feels to be dying inside, even just a little bit, and it can be freaky. I personally don’t think it’s either necessary nor advisable to die, but until I find the full answer to that I’ll leave the point mostly alone. I’ll just write a separate journal or book about that when I’m about three hundred years old or so. Then folks will listen.
Yet to even have the desire for physical immortality seems crazy to a lot of people. I know that we can express perfect Spirituality while still manifesting physicality, though, so I’m totally in.
Let’s look at the word God as soon as possible, too. You can’t go throwing words like that around without explaining what you mean by it. God, to me, is not a male or female, or a distinct separate being who watches over our worldly progress with a smug look on his face, knowing the game is stacked against us. That’s not to say God is not manifested in any maleness or femaleness God chooses; God just isn’t restricted to it.
God doesn’t have to be called God, of course, It’s often more convenient to avoid the word than it is to use it, because it’s just that: a word. Yet it’s a word that has been used so much and so often by folks like me that a workable definition should be hammered out.
See, I don’t think one need know the word “God” to recognize that life has a rhythm, rhythms within rhythms. I don’t think one need use the word “God”, ever, to know that life is beautiful and pure potentiality. I feel that all we need to discover who and what we really are is contained within us… that is our most immediate and most necessary element in realizing True Happiness. Everything you need to be completely Happy is contained in the neat portable package you call you. Of course, you don’t even really need all the packaging; but let’s restrict this discussion to life on Earth, at least for the time being.
God is everything, yes; and we see that in moments of great clarity. God is the mundane that we allow our playful selves to toil at; God is the sunset that lifts our eyes from our work; God is the rhythm that moves us from one. to the other. to the end. Which is also known as the beginning. But even those moments of great clarity are but a beacon… they draw us on to the moment when we know all moments will be lived in perfect rhythm from this moment on, when knowledge and realization are one.
We have to know that True Happiness is possible. Only a glimpse, and we know it exists, we see a goal to be pursued. That is the energy of the Universe aligning itself towards its own perfect union. We get glimpses, moments of great clarity, or even times of great pain. One’s greatest freedom is almost always preceded by one’s most frustratingly restrictive period.
Spirit would seem like a rubber band in this respect. Stretched to its absolute limit, to the apparent breaking point, it seems one can take no more. The stress, the strain, the pain of having no more flexibility, no more room to move at all… followed by a release, a snap, a letting go. The Spirit (or rubber band) in question flies with such speed and such strength and power toward its goal.
Is the pain necessary? we ask. Must we be stretched to the point of breaking before we can find our release and begin our journey? Must a Spiritual journey be one punctuated with starts and stops, stretch to release to stretch to release again? Is True Happiness to be found in learning to move constantly forward? Or is it a relaxing into the process, a full and final acceptance of the cycle of stretch and release?
The one thing that is certain, the one absolute that cannot be questioned, is the possibility of True Happiness. How to get there is the ultimate question, the question that must be asked again and again until the true answer is discovered. Can we get there? To that I can always cry out a resounding and certain “Yes!”.
This was a journal I began that was supposed to be dedicated only to writing about Happiness. Then I looked around at my stacks of journals and books and spiritual accoutrements; I looked within at my thought patterns and deliberate morality and my past and future accomplishments; and I realized everything I do is about Happiness. It shouldn’t be the title of one of my journals; it should be the title of my life. It will make a good subject for a future edition of “What It Means to Me”, and it is bound to come up repeatedly for aforementioned reasons. We deliberately posted about God last week to clear up the poetic confused rant about God in this post. [You can read last weeks post here – Dawn] An awareness of the flow of life and conscious efforts made to connect and work with that flow are not just essential elements of Happiness; they are the cornerstones of it. That is the God we all need.
Happiness is not about not having issues. Waiting for happiness to descend upon you the day you finally get your shit together is the most laughable of ideas. Happiness works like any other truth; the idea gets more complex and broader in scope the more you engage in learning about and practicing it. The people who seem to have it together when you look at them from where you see things are reaching up to the next level, looking at ways to become better and happier tomorrow than they are today. If they are wise, they are looking at people who have one or more aspects of life ticking along even more smoothly, and refining their thought patterns even further. Happiness is the wind at your face; you can only feel it when you are moving forward. Stop and you lose it.
My heart goes out to yesterday Jay when I read these thoughts about Happiness. So much of his energy was expended on chopping life into bits of right and wrong, when the lesson was to learn what is right for me and pursue that path with my whole being. So much time was spent waiting for that expended energy to build back up naturally, when the lesson was to use my energy wisely and build it deliberately. Did I waste my time? Was I doing the wrong thing? Only if it hadn’t led to something better, only if the program hadn’t successfully replaced itself with a better program as it was designed to.
More good news has been discovered or created within me as well. The pain of the journey and the stops and starts I was having trouble coming to grips with turned out to again be the product of my perspective. The pain of yesterday was perhaps necessary for me to be as happy as I am today, but pain and lack of motivation or gumption to my current perspective looks like misunderstanding. If I hurt inside or am not filled with creative ideas and the energy to use them, I know now that I am gazing at an illusion. What power does the illusion hold when you know it is of your own making? The only power remaining to the illusion that knows you won’t pay attention to anything but beauty is the power to create greater and greater beauty to hold your attention. Any path that we choose to walk is both discovered and created by the fall of footsteps in a given direction; the only way to make Happiness a constant in our scenery is by evolving every aspect of ourselves deliberately and continuously.
Do you have a spiritually charged word or subject that you’d like Jay to write about? Send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment on the blog. We look forward to hearing your ideas. And thanks for reading!