The Pursuit of Happiness
Let us approach CHOICE from an everyday perspective!
Imagine that you are in a vehicle and travelling upon life’s road or highway (whichever you prefer). You are perhaps going nowhere specifically, and you are wishing for happiness and a good life. In your vehicle are some tools to help you along the way such as:
– a blanket of warmth from your father
– a candle of light from your grandmother
– some coloured pencils to draw to you either light or dark experiences
– a cup full of honesty
– a box of shadows
Along this road, your need for happiness takes you to a junction where the billboard is advertising happiness in the form of food and drink. As you see the sign for happiness, you turn off the road in pursuit of this happiness.
You reach the diner advertising food and liquid happiness and you pull in. For quite some time, you remain there feeling happiness between each bite and sip, between each mouthful and plate until there is a moment where you don’t feel happy anymore.
You decide to leave and search for happiness elsewhere in a better location, and you set off once again.
At some point you feel lost and you have no idea where to turn, so you reach back to grab one of your tools and your hand inadvertently goes into the box of shadows. All of a sudden you are thrown into a depression and all sense of happiness is gone . . . along with all the mouthfuls you recently gobbled at the diner.
Eventually, in a fit of dismay, you reach back for a different tool and find your blanket of warmth from your father. You pull it tightly around you until the depression melts away.
You sit up straight and make the decision that you will no longer search for happiness in physical things like food or drink, and you once again head in the direction of happiness.
You set off and enjoy the road less travelled across the country. You forget the highway or road which you left before the diner and you are content with the little road you are on. Sooner or later, you see another sign and it shows that happiness can be found if you give to others what is yours.
You make the CHOICE to turn and continue to the place where you can share and receive happiness. Once you arrive, you see that it is a hospital, and many of those around the place are ill or infirm. Some are broken inside and hobbling on crutches, and some are lying on beds of nails. Some have their hand in a fire, and others are drowning in the waters of self-pity.
You reach into the back seat to share what you have, and your hand grasps the candle of light from your grandmother. You take it with you. At first you feel so happy that you are passing your candle around to everyone who comes across your path, and they are so eager to take it from you because they have forgotten what the light even looks like. Many grab it and try to hold on, not wanting anyone else near your candle, and eventually your candle is snuffed out and falls on the ground.
You are burnt out and are left without your grnadmother’s candle of light. The happiness which you once felt has gone. You pick yourself up, grab the candle and leave in your vehicle as fast as you can.
Many hands try to stop you, their source of light, and you only just make it out of the carpark. You find a road which takes you away from the place of expectations and martyrdom. Before long you are so tired that you need to pull over, and you reach into the back seat. Your hand goes into the box of shadows and you grasp the pill of bitterness and resentment. You swallow them.
You feel motivated out of anger and frustration that you cannot find the happiness that you desire, and you push the gas (petrol) pedal and nearly hit a tree on the side of the road. The near miss is enough to snap you out of your delusion.
You relax into your vehicle once again and reach back only to find the light and dark pencils, and you realise that life can be black or white if you choose correctly. You also realise that every white line can only be seen upon a black surface and a black line can only be seen on a white surface. Neither pencil is right or wrong, good or bad. The pencils do not know the difference, the CHOICE is the artist’s hands all the time!
With this realisation, you reach back to grasp the final tool – the cup of honesty – and you take a sip.
Honesty is a very impeccable energy and sorts out the necessary and unnecessary in life. It is the energy which gets us out of a dark experience and into a light one. It urges us to turn from the outside world a fraction and to invest internally. This honesty energy stops us from giving too much until it hurts. It urges us to give just enough to make a difference, where the other person has enough light to choose a different path for themselves.
After a sip of honesty, you realise that you should never have left the main road (highway) that you were on so long ago when you went off in search for happiness.
And so, you decide to retrace some of your steps, and with a few shortcuts from the GPS, you find yourself upon the right road once again. You travel for a short distance before you see a signpost which reads: ‘Get your fix here – light up your life!”
You know that your candle is dead and that you will need it somewhere on your journey, so you pull off onto the dirt road at the side of the highway and discover many people like yourself. Some are holding lit candles and others are arriving with dead ones. Those with lit candles are lighting those with unlit candles, and on and on it goes.
You ask those nearby where they are headed and they are unanimous in their response, “We are headed for the Eternal Well.”
‘The Eternal Well?’ you ask, wondering if it leads to happiness (because you are still seeking it).
‘Yes! It is quite a road! It winds its way through many mountains and valleys, but at the end of it, there is the Eternal Well.”
“Will I find happiness there?” you ask.
‘Oh . . . no! Happiness will be a CHOICE that you make along the way, as well as self-respect and a whole lot of other things. You see, the destination requires that you become exactly like IT is,” someone answered..
You are perplexed. “How can that be . . . that I become like the Eternal Well?”
‘Exactly that!” is the frustrating answer. “You will become an Eternal Well, filled with self-love, self-worth, self-respect, dignity, patience, joy and a firmness of spirit.”
You stand back in deep thought.
You sense that your life is about to change drastically if you continue upon the current road. You take a moment to look back at your journey, and you realise that in the pursuit of happiness, you made a lot of CHOICES which were going to take you to a lot of unseen places, but they would not last very long and would soon lose their flavour or appeal.
And what did you choose? You turned your vehicle onto the road you once started off on, realising that you were always going in the right direction before you set off in the pursuit of something that you were never meant to seek, but you were always meant to CHOOSE.
(FOOTNOTE: My father always told me that we write our own Book. Years later, I changed my idea about that, and I decided that we never write upon any pages, but instead . . . we selected the book already written and simply followed the pages that were already there.)