Universal Happiness pt. 2

There is a profound simplicity in a genuine smile.  There is a sort of magic in the sound of laughter.  We innately relate and understand these two things to be our exterior expressions and reflection of our inner joyous feelings.  Pure, beautiful, universally human.  Smiles, laughter, these things become contagious; and most naturally it is the interaction with other people who cause these reactions to arise from within us.  This is because these two things are about human connection: “Contrary to folk wisdom, most laughter is not about humor, it is about relationships between people (www.nbcnews.com).”   Though other things in life are able to make us feel happy, only other people seem to make us laugh and smile; only other people cause us to embody the image of happiness.

Though we live in an era of widespread social connections – via the internet – this is not actual interaction.  Ironically, we are feeling more isolated than ever before.   In a book on social psychology, the author made this report: “Over the last half-century, there has been a steady decline in nearly all things social apart from social media… We volunteer less, participate in fewer social groups, and entertain people in our homes less than we used to.   To me the most troubling statistics focus on our friendships… One out of every four of us is walking around with no one to share our lives with.  Being social makes our lives better.  Yet every indication is that we are getting less social, not more (Matthew D. Lieberman, pgs. 248, 249).”  People have been reduced to icons on a computer screen and our laughter has been reduced to “lol.”

We are in an era of time which finally extinguishes the very word “isolation;” its meaning is simply impossible. The vastest distances of seas do not even destroy the possible connections between humans anymore; planes and boats have overcome such obstacles… Now, it is only the screens in front of our faces and the items we distract ourselves with which can simulate separation.  We have the ability to now create chains of support – locally and internationally, if we choose to reconnect.  If we do so, we will see that there is not much of a difference between us and strangers, between these strangers and the people we know – there are underlying possibilities of friendships waiting to emerge, in every smile.






Happiness: The Universal Search pt. 1

Breaking the late-evening quietness, the question rose from me. “What do you want out of life, ultimately?”  It almost felt careless to ask, for I wasn’t truly curious.  I already knew what answer to expect.  It was far beyond a cliché by this point. 
            In response, she opened her mouth, paused, then said, “To be happy, of course.”  It was the repeated answer I had heard from others, over and over, freshly spoken.  And yet, the unifying source of desire still intrigued a juvenile part of my mind.
            “So, it’s a destination?  As in, a goal?  How will you know when you’ve accomplished it?”  My mind drifted to the words Nirvana, as happiness being a state of mind achieved, and Heaven, as it a place to be achieved.      
            She looked curiously at me as I continued this inquisition, then took a moment to reflect.  “It’s more so just a feeling…  I think.” 
            “Then wouldn’t it come and go?  Wouldn’t it be inconsistent and entirely circumstantial?”  Contradictions began arising.   
             With a sigh of slight annoyance, she turned away.  “I’m really not sure.  I mean, yeah I guess.”  I could tell this seemed as unimportant to her as it sounded.
            “So, just to feel happy as much as possible.”  I concluded, to myself.
            She nodded, and the sleepy silence continued.

Releases of endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin.  Happiness, being a defined emotion, then simply becomes a chemical reaction we’re seeking for.  The entwinement of the “pleasure principle” and our reward system.  Is it only this, our biological nature, which seeks, strives, and steers us with motivation for satisfaction?  Is the hedonistic approach ultimately correct?  Are things actually “good” based on if they release these chemicals or not?  And should we seek out those things to be the path of fulfillment we take?

At first glance, it may appear to be this way.  But, as we also know, human life, drive, and desire is much more complex than this.  We constantly defy normal behavior in the animal kingdom and display evolved characteristics, such as self-control:  “The sages instructed us not to follow our base instincts for sensual pleasures and material possessions, but rather our higher potential for compassion and moderation. This philosophy is found in both East and West, and in both secular and religious traditions (pg. 83, http://unsdsn.org/).”  Compassion, which by definition is the desire to help others, was said to be important in our pursuit of happiness, as well as moderation – which is the opposite of excess –  because they help us live “the right kind of life.” I do believe we need to live by these two key words in order to find such virtue.



Surreal Reality

A trillion stars, 
Fragmented shimmers of light beaming down onto me
I fly, so far, into the light show
Instantly, becoming one with the cosmos; 
Earth and spirituality
A weightless soul, 
A body bounded by gravity

A billion thoughts, 
Fragmented pictures I see dancing all around me
I fall, curiosity caught, down into rabbit hole
Gradually, my ego explodes; 
The freedom of every mentality 
An endless mind, 
A body confined by this insane sanity

A million moments,
Fragmented memories leaking subconsciously out of me
I spin, forwards, I spin, backwards, into time 
Simply, the past and the future are not aligned; 
No beginning, no end: my friend, death is rebirth, not a fatality
An effortless heart, 
A body always a part of the present reality



Wild Fire

There is passion
I almost lost
Red coals dwindled
Deep inside my heart
From the sky
Came deafening roars
The angry lover
Casted thunderstorms
The trees shuttered
As the beady eyes
Begin to invade
Hail falls
The earth it mauls
He is too cold to cry
I forget the kindle
And stare up at the stars
There is passion
Deep and burning
It is in my heart
I get a match
And gasoline
I want this fire to start
I want conflagration
For how can this fire be control
A light will glimmer in my eyes
Freedom given to my daring soul.

We as a society have created a idealisted picture of what a relationship is “supposed” to look and be like, but in reality we are such complex creatures every new connection should be taken into account for it’s uniqueness.

However, most relationships are never easy, per se.  They require hardwork and dedication.  But, they can become even more difficult – in an unhealthy manner – if we find ourselves constantly needing to compromise ourselves in order to please our partners; this then moves the efforts from creating growth, and into the lines of creating emotioal catastrophy.  I’ve learned from trial and error, and now can objectively look back and see lessons from when I found myself running and escaping from a dependent, unhealthy relationship.

It started with just feeling the need to fully immerse myself within the world of our new love, because it’s what he wanted, in order to prove I truly cared.   I didn’t know there should never be “something to prove,” but rather actions in themselves speak loud enough.  I didn’t know that enlsaving my soul with submission was hazardous to my wellbeing, because especially for women, this kind of interpersonal behavior is seen as a norm.  It was my first real relationship, and for the next two years of my life, how I ate, slept, breathed revolved this man.  He would get angry when my attention was directed elsewhere, and isolation came with an increasing lonliness (though being alone was what I initially was trying to escape when going into a relationship) because of losing touch with anyone else but my partner.  These were some of the hardest times of my life, but from the dark can come light, and here I learned a very valuable lesson:
When two people are committed to being in one anothers lives, there should still be space for independence and growth.  There should be support and compassion, instead of control and posession.
Eventually, after healing, I learned what a healthy relationship is like.  And how honesty and vulnerability will get you far in a relationship, as well as openness and patience.  But, how you first truly must love yourself before finding love, because how you see yourself is how you will project yourself socially, and therefore the type of people you will attract and accept into your life.  Self-actualization is key.

I’ve learned how you shouldn’t be in a relationship because you need to be.  What I mean is, you shouldn’t rely on another person to determine whether or not you are confident or happy.  Going into a relationship you should never be needing something from that person, you should simply go in with an intruigue of getting to know them, and appreciate the joy of being able to bask in the comfort of one anothers company – passion and pleasure igniting within two souls from being together.  Ultimately, never, never, never let your light be dimmed because of another person.  Stay true to who you are, be wholesome in what you do, bold in what you believe, and congruent in what you speak.  And most importantly, love freely, care deeply, but let-go when need be.