What does happiness look like?
I have no clue but I had a minuscule peek. A jarring but beautiful glimpse of that elusive thing called happiness. Maybe, its the forte of the evolved; the exclusive preserve of some very transcendental beings; something attained by the elite cult of monks and saints. Who knows - all I know is that being happy is one of the hardest things to do. Especially for some of us.
Why is it so hard, you ask? Well, the brain is the mastermind. It does amazing things. It keeps us alive and somewhat sane. But, as you all know - quite well - reality isn't exactly a wonderland of the most wondrous things, so say hello to the many afflictions borne by our minds.
If you ask me, there are all kinds of brains - pioneers exploring the frontiers of insanity, everyday Joe on a comfortable cruise control, a square peg in a round hole and a square peg in a square hole. What kind of brain do you have? Is it a blooming field of all kinds of neuroses, or a relatively calm ocean in tune with the shore of reality?
Have you ever had to deal with a brain that romanticizes the concept of being happy but runs away from it as if its some kind of poison ivy - detrimental to its health? Do you ever get the feeling that your brain treats happiness as a deadly virus that will destroy the rich network of psychoses and neuroses it has so diligently dedicated itself to. Like it has been engaged in this artistic tour de force of altering the landscape of your reality and constructing a caricature of your sanity. No? Never felt like you had a brain going a shade insane? No? Lucky you.
Regardless, as one marked person riding the crest of a muddled clarity to whosoever I might be reaching out to, happiness is like being a child. Breaking through the offense of drudgery and the defenses of a neurotic mind, there comes a pure state where you jump and scream, where you just can't sit still or shut up. So, you keep hollering incessantly an endless trail of "wohooos" and you move your limbs and your body in a hypnotic dance of a skilled goofball.
On a more philosophical level, it means being present in the present, embracing reality with all its dangers and imperfections with a child like glee & being on the path that calls out to you. Feeling pristine, energized, pure, light. In fact, you feel so incredible that taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone is no big deal. Your mind and body are oblivious to the self-inflicted circle of doom and suffering that rules your everyday life. Physical discomfort, stepping into the unknown - bring it on - its no longer a thing to fear but a grand, larger than life adventure. Your whole mindset changes; you see the world with different eyes and a radically different mind.
Sometime ago, I was in Switzerland - the beautiful country with perfect mountains, a vibrant, colorful flora, quaint, artistic homes, wonderful and friendly people, and cows with a gigantic bell nestling their neck - the land that has so much to offer that you would be hard pressed to not be awed. My favorite part though was the snow. The moment I was exposed to a snow riddled vista, I was a whole new person. From a grumpy hag to a smart, chic kid. I was smiling, jumping, screaming, sliding my butt along a trail of snow, flinging snow at my brother - and finding it one of the most satisfying and soulful experiences of life. And, then there was snow-tubing where you place your butt in the hollow of a tire and sit tight while it slides past at a somewhat comfortable but mostly uncomfortable speed. It made the balls of my eyes feel like they were going to pop out of fear, and I seriously thought I was going to be crushed by an avalanche or I would go flying into a crevasse or a valley. My paws began to sting and burn to the point that I had to rush indoors with tears. Nevertheless, if I had time, I would have ventured out and signed up again for the hair-raising snow-tubing and the painful, biting kiss of the snow cutting through my hand.
Snow makes me happy because it brings out the child in me - the one that otherwise turns into a neurotic, skeptical being. What does your happiness look like? Tell me.
A persistent, arbitrary and a quirky phenomena - it utters the strangest and the most conflicting things ever. Sometimes, its a calm ocean and sometimes a torrential deluge. Sometimes it will anchor you to sanity and sometimes it will plunge you into the depths of insanity. Welcome to the mysterious world of inner voice - the beacon that's supposed to navigate us through the choppy waters and the murky maze of life.
A couple of days ago, a voice from within me said the most bizarre and the most weirdest thing. It asked me to change. It said - I need to be social, I need to be more confident, I need to be more out there and I need to connect with people. Was my inner self finally opening up to an epiphany? Was this what they call a sublime realization that rattles the very foundation of your life and leads you to a brand new path in life? Was I finally being enlightened by the deepest, truest part of me? Was this the wisdom I had seeked? Was this the answer to all the questions I had asked the universe? Was this the antidote that would rage against the dying of the light? Would this lead me to my one true path in life? Would this bestow upon me the much elusive and the much needed - peace of mind? I was skeptical, a little mellow and surprised.
A day later, that same voice said - No, I don't need to be social, and I don't need to be confident. I just need to be a free spirit, to be as weird as the real me is, and to be as eccentric as the real me is. I just need to be able to let myself be the real me - to let go of the idea of perfection and the relentless and insatiable impulse to control things. All I have to do is let myself be the person I was becoming without any qualms. The blueprint of social etiquette cannot build or nurture your core but your free spirit and your inner child surely will do the trick.
So, what exactly is this inner voice? Where does it come from - the conscious or the subconscious?Is it influenced by others? And, what's its exact purpose? Whatever might be the answers but its the voice not necessarily of reason but the voice of truth that - when heeded or probed - will illuminate that which lies in darkness.
I got pure lucky on a road trip with a bunch of strangers. We were playing a quaint, ancient game that had nothing to do with skill, talent, or effort but everything to do with fate and luck, with odds and jackpot. This particular game had a bunch of single digit and 2 digit numbers arranged across three horizontal lines. All of us playing this oddly exciting game were clutching at these number cards with a child like anticipation. I suppose, it made us feel like we were all playing for the lottery and all of us were fair game to win. But were we? That's what I wondered ever since we played this game. It got the crazy wheel of my mind churning and turning, thinking and wondering. And this is what I have to say about this murky and highly speculative, subjective topic of luck and fate.
I think some of us are more luckier than others. Lets say we have a bus full of people - about 40 people. Here's what happened while playing this game -
People who win once - win again and again - as if their fate has mastered the trick of winning the odds.
People who are close to winning but did not quite hit the jackpot are the ones that are most likely to win the next few rounds.
People who do not win at all and are doing miserably will not win for a long, long time.
Not exactly an edge of the seat, nail biting roller coaster but definitely a game that keeps you hooked and keeps you anticipating. A game that you do not control in any way might as well be a game controlled by your stars and that thing called fate and luck. A game like that tingles our nerves and gets us thrilled and curious about things like odds and possibilities. It has this distinct feeling of stepping into the unknown but not the uncomfortable unknown. Its the kind of unknown that you can look in the eye and turn away from - without any concussions or repercussions.
As a child, I played this game with my cousins and a bunch of strangers in a train. I never won but my cousins almost always won. Everyone else was stumped and astounded by their streak of uncanny wins. As for me, I felt left out and pretty much like the ugly, doomed duckling. But I was only thirteen and young scars heal fast. So, it was all forgotten in a moment and no love was ever lost.
Fast forward almost two decades later - when I was playing this game with my mom, my bro and these other strangers, I found myself among the cream, the elite, the lucky ones - in short - I was always close to winning big. Sure enough, I did win the biggest and the most fantastic prize of the whole game series. At the opposite end of the spectrum stood my brother. Its almost as if luck did not like my brother or had a personal vendetta against him, his numbers stood in stark and steep contrast to my lucky numbers. My mom was in the semi-lucky zone where she didn't exactly fall off the grid but she never quite got off easy.
As I started comparing this weird game to the game of life, I found that the winners, the lucky ones, the semi-lucky ones, the fucked luck ones remained quite the same. Bizarre and surreal.