Joviality, Jollity, And Glee By DL Banks
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever. You don’t ask people with knives in their stomachs what would make them happy; happiness is no longer the point. It’s all about survival; it’s all about whether you pull the knife out and bleed to death or keep it in. Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other. Do not look for happiness outside yourself. The awakened seek happiness inside. Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.
Maybe you think you’ll be entitled to more happiness later by forgoing all of it now, but it doesn’t work that way. Happiness takes as much practice as unhappiness does. It’s by living that you live more. By waiting you wait more. Every waiting day makes your life a little less. Every lonely day makes you a little smaller. Every day you put off your life makes you less capable of living it. Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous. Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.
I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks. You, of all people, deserve a happy ending. Despite everything that happened to you, you aren’t bitter. You aren’t cold. You’ve just retreated a little and been shy, and that’s okay. If I were a fairy godmother, I would give you your heart’s desire in an instant. And I would wipe away your tears and tell you not to cry. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
Happiness doesn’t lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. And home is not a house-home is a mythological conceit. It is a state of mind. A place of communion and unconditional love. It is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace. Destiny is real. And he’s not mild-mannered. It will come around and hit you in the face and knock you over and before you know what hit you, you’re naked- stripped of everything you thought you knew and everything you thought you didn’t know- and there you are! A bloody nose, bruises all over you, and naked. And it’s the most beautiful thing. Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling.
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have. It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes.
The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them. Happiness is the most natural thing in the world when you have it, and the slowest, strangest, most impossible thing when you don’t. It’s like learning a foreign language: You can think about the words all you want, but you’ll never be able to speak it until you suck up your courage and say them out loud. A flower blossoms for its own joy.
If you’ve got nothing to dance about, find a reason to sing.