About a month ago, a long time coworker had left the company, and it sparked the idea of happiness. Not that I was happy he left, nor did I really care. His initials were D. D. At first, I wanted to call him Dee Squared, but as the name sounded, it was two square. It matched up well, though, because he was Asian and very good at math. So, there was depth in the name. However, many people have called my humor dry, so I guess I need to spit more when I joke, and here his name Double D was born.
"Hey, Double D," I called out. My fellow coworkers turned around and started giggling. As you can see, my professionalism at the office is top notch.
At first, he didn't respond, then stated he didn't like being called Double D, but I persisted. Then it caught on as others started to use his monicker. And, like a knee jerk reaction, he started to respond as if he was born with the name.
My then girlfriend and I took him skiing many years ago, he was hitting on her because he didn't know I was dating her. Well, he hit on her because he liked her, but he wouldn't have if he knew. I think. Afterward, we went to dinner at a steakhouse, nothing better than meat after a hard day of snowboarding in the warm California sun.
The conversation swerved to happiness and the cause of happiness. He was unhappy. He didn't own a house. According to him, he should have at his age. He didn't have a wife, a nice car, high enough income, the list rolled on and on. I told him none of that stuff would cause happiness. You either are, or you decide not to be.
Before I found writing, I went on a soul searching venture. I knew I wanted to do something creative, so I tried everything. I drew, painted, wrote poetry and stories, taught martial arts, acted for several years, worked on opening my own school, but nothing made me happy. Then I came up with the brilliant idea to write the one story that has been tugging at me for over twenty years. And bam! My soulmate, or who I thought was my soulmate, and I ended it.
Gawd...it was soul-wrenching painful. I cried for nearly a year. Well, not constantly. But it provided the muse I needed to put into words, plot, and emotional state to write Nightfall. You see, my main character, Talon, loses a child, and the only thing I could come close to was the intense body-numbing pain of a broken relationship. Still no happiness in the sense of finally finding and writing the story that had haunted me.
What the hell?
Was I fulfilled? Yes. Was I purposeful? Fuck yeah. And those haunting voices slowly subsided, in a good way. I was on destiny's road. But was I happy? Not really.
Then it smacked me in the face. Hard! Like a punch that you don't see cause you're not lookin'. Happiness was a choice! Sort of.
I'd been on the spiritual path of enlightenment for some time, trying to decipher the cryptic language of oneness, all for one, one for all, the source, the higher intelligence, inner intelligence, inner wisdom, living in the moment, the present, the Buddhaness, the perseverance of the Hesus story.
And I realized, happiness is born with us, innate. You see it with babies, that joy, that connection they have with their parents. You see happiness when kids play, pretending, not yet tarnished by the limitations of adulthood. You see this with geniuses, who don't let others' limiting thoughts hinder them. Happiness, after all, is not a choice, but part of our being. We are born with the ability to think and feel, just as we are born to be happy, and lather it with sadness. We choose to be sad, otherwise we are just happy, content.
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Double D had bought a nice car and had moved out of the room he rented and into his new home in the suburbs. He had found a job with more pay, maybe a better title. But he wasn't happy. I know this, even though I hadn't spoken to him since that dinner because in the years since he's bought his home, none of his friends have ever seen it. They know what city it's in and were promised an invite to a house warming party that never came. What was going on? He was afraid of being judged. For what, I do not know. But maybe somehow he thought that he wasn't enough, the car wasn't impressive, or that his house was in some way representative of who he was (too small?). In essence, I assume, his happiness was linked to others' perceptions of him. If that is the case, then he will never be happy. Even if people revere him, he knows, as we all do, that opinions can change with a drop of a hat.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't be unhappy, because life has its ups and downs, but that happiness is our natural state. If you think about it, it takes a lot of work and effort to be unhappy. That's why meditation is often the solution to this. To quiet your mind is to quiet the crap that stresses us out.