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Are You Happy or Are You Fooling Yourself?

Who doesn’t want to be happy? If you answered “ME” to this question, please refrain from reading on; this post will lead to unnecessary feelings that might indirectly take you to a happier state. Consider yourself warned; your darkness is much appreciated for contrast purposes, and still welcome here.

Let’s get straight to it shall we; consider the following two quotes first:

“All happiness is of a negative rather than positive nature, and for this reason cannot give lasting satisfaction and gratification, but rather only ever a release from a pain or lack, which must be followed either by a new pain or by languor, empty yearning and boredom.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation

“When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is alone and unique in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”

Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Perhaps both quotes tickled you the wrong way, but both help us see something very interesting in the historical pursuit of happiness; mainly that suffering exists in life and it takes so many forms. What one person perceives as a punishment or an exercise in suffering, another person considers normal or acceptable.

So we all suffer, and we all perceive it differently; so how is it possible to perceive happiness as the same for all?

Frankl goes on to dissect positive happiness vs negative happiness, the latter being freedom from pain or of suffering. Positive happiness then becomes a very personal experience, almost a spiritual one.

TOO MUCH PHILOSOPHY TALK AND YOU WANT TO GET TO IT?

Happiness should not look the same for every one, the same way that suffering is unique to each person. So are you happy based on your standards of that? OR are you happy because people tell you that you should be, or have no reason not be? We often experience life so differently within the same moment, and time frame, yet we expect that there should be one story that binds us all together. We expect a streamlined idea of life, one that everyone buys into; and that’s not a recipe for happiness.

How is it possible for people to be in the midst of suffering, and still experience joy? It is then easy to see that those who have discovered internal happiness, no longer seek it by removing themselves from pain or boredom or suffering as a whole.

It sometimes takes us forever to understand what really matters to us despite the suffering, and sometimes all it takes is a split second for us to truly see how happy we are where no comparisons are needed.

So are you happy because you know what happiness means to you, what it entails and what it refuses?

Or are you fooling yourself out of the experience and joining into the suggested story of happiness that people, movies and songs tell?

Worth a thought.

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On Love

Rule 40

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

Forty rules of love- Elif shafak

Stop and think about the role that love plays in your life. Where does it begin, does it have limitations? Does it dictate something? everything? or nothing? Where does love reside? Is it only outside of you, only reciprocated when received from specific sources, or is it infinite within you and eternal reflected onto everyone and everything with no objection?

I am not attempting a poetic account of it, many have done it before me much to my amusement and educational benefit. But then here I am, here we are, having to experience all of those descriptions and variations on our own, for our own sake. What do we do? Is this love or lust, is it love or dependency? is it love or need? Where do we draw the lines and decide, where do we let go of the need to define that state and simply sink into it, perhaps in to an intellectual abyss, or into a conscious black hole of upbringing, insecurity and desire?

I thought that love has always eluded me, perhaps every time I found a label, every time I found a description or an explanation I completely lost interest. Why would I still want something I completely understand, where I had identified points of origin and where it climaxes and ends. The more I could explain, the less exciting it became.

Then I stopped. I could no longer tolerate the thought of love. I could no longer sit and wait for others to show me my own value, I could no longer accept that love saves me, and then it leaves me, to find me again in a stranger’s eyes to save and leave me again. I no longer wanted the love I sought in everyone. I wanted to dig deeper.

I began my experiment, except this time I wanted my result to be as vague and incomplete as possible. My hypothesis was that: The love I am looking for cannot be explained, or contained. The Love I seek is not an intellectual experience.

I watched too many TED Talks about the physiology of love, and the different hormones and enzymes at play when one experiences romantic love. I dove into the strangest books by George Bataille, perhaps his eccentric and unbelievable talent and disgusting imagination could point me in a new direction. I moved on into music, and people; it seemed everyone had one thing in common. Everyone finds and emulates love in their own way. That unclear, unjustifiable energy we experience is too unquenchable that we direct at the first target.

We end up directing it towards people, and towards books and music and animals and the planet and God and sex and ..and …and.. all for the joy of experiencing it ourselves. We are always on one end of that love.

I was closer to my answer because I was getting more confused, things were making less sense, I was beginning to grasp the far extremities of love, like running your fingers on the fine ends of the softest fur. My external dissatisfaction mattered less and less. Life hit me hard, and my anxiety would knock me face down, but that still wasn’t stopping me. There was a well of indescribable energy within me, and I had tasted its water.

I write today reminiscing about the journey, and glorifying my absolute incompetence when it comes to grazing the surface of understanding how powerful and underestimated true deep and internal love is. Where with every wall torn down, love presents itself as it is; everything.

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: Hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out

Hafiz