I’ve spoken before on happiness. I’ve called it a blanket term. A word we use to make small talk of conversations we aren’t willing to have, but it isn’t what we mean. A word that doesn’t mean what it implies, but is tossed around so much it loses its meaning when its so much bigger than that. I’ve called it a journey rather than a destination–something that is not achieved as an end result, but motivates.
Happiness–true happiness in the way it’s presented–is a bit like the holy grail, and no, I don’t mean Monty Python, but I’m proud of you for going there. (Ni! Ahem.) It’s spoken of at great lengths. It’s theorized and imagined and sought after by scholars and laymen alike. Yet, there has always been a question of its validity.
That’s the way I’ve begun to see happiness. True happiness. Not a grinning persona. Not momentary joy. It’s the end-all-be-all contentment of ages. The happily ever after. The rainbow slide of life that’s to meet us one day, pot of gold and all. See? It’s impossible to talk about this without sounding ridiculous, but I am quite serious.
I don’t think happiness is a thing in that sense that the holy grail is a wine goblet or a person. I don’t think that it’s a thing that we are or that we become. And if it is, if I’m wrong, as the biggest marketing tool of mankind promises that I am, (Can you hear it? Can you hear the infomercials? I never knew happiness until I began this program! Buy my book and learn the secret to happiness! Eat these foods and follow this workout routine and know what happiness is!) then I think we at least ought to try and treat it the way enlightenment is treated. As a journey. As a great quest of self-discovery. As a means to find the keys and unlock the door.
And maybe we’ll never find it. And maybe that’s not the point.
Maybe true happiness, as we imagine it, is nothing as it seems. But much like the holy grail and its team of scholars forever searching, it offers us a sense of purpose to be on a quest to find it. A quest. A search. A mission. Whatever you name it, it still resonates throughout the history of mankind.
Some think that its money, but money will only get you so far. Some believe it’s religion, but some of the most religious people I know are still desperately depressed. Maybe it’s helping people, volunteering, building houses, feeding the poor. And maybe that’s the start. Maybe selflessness is the first step in the right direction. And maybe love is there. And acceptance. And tolerance. And lending an ear and closing our mouths. And maybe if we exercise kindness, show everyone that they matter, maybe we will begin to see life for what it was meant to be.
Because I don’t think this is it, what we’re doing.
When looking at the news for twelve seconds forms a dark cloud over our day, when having a conversation, any conversation online, ends in an argument, when a single word out of the lips of any person offends to the point of malevolence, when there is no longer a filter, when we no longer care to implement a filter…
When we were in public school or parochial school or Sunday school, etc., we were taught to be kind. We were taught to include everyone. We were taught to accept others and not talk behind their backs, not point fingers, not throw stones. We were taught to embrace differences. We were taught to listen to different opinions.
Did everyone follow these teachings? Sometimes the teachers didn’t even follow them, but we are better. We have to be better. We are better than we are allowing ourselves to be. And we will never be happy if we keep this up. We will never know happiness or enlightenment or the holy grail or whatever you want to call it until we can learn to be kind. Until we see this earth as sacred. Until we see life as sacred. Until we learn to love and learn to spread love. Until we can look at someone who is different and see the ways that we are the same.