Never do we want for a reason to be happy. But relishing unhappiness—lusting after pity and comfort like some five-year-old attention-monger—is what we spend our lives perfecting. It is the finest thing closest to the soonest happiness we can possibly imagine. This is how it is to be a human being.
Let me be frank—me with myself and me with the rest of you. Happiness is as misty as the rain of rice fields in summertime China. It’s there, all present and accounted for, but difficult to experience. It can’t be grasped so much as felt, and it adores the whim which gives it those irksome comings and goings. And let’s be clear—comings and goings, yes; leavings, no. Where on earth does it live?
Happiness is not that calm emotive state that we practice like a sport; it simply is. But being what it is, in simply being, demands that we not run off this way and that to find a key to a lock for a door to a room that houses some secret chest filled with reasons for happiness. It does not ask that we give up this or acquire that. It does not suggest that we affect this or disaffect that. All of this nonsense, I am convinced, is a pathetic waste of our time.
Because, in the grandest sense of the word “happiness,” we are responsible for recognizing that it is a freedom. To say we have control over that freedom is a bit like saying, “I’ve locked up love so it never gets away!” Preposterous. What the hell good is a love that can be locked up? You can have it.
Happiness the freedom, then, is not something granted to us, but revealed to us. Now the tricky bit about happiness is that its inherent freedom is not evident in all the same ways. There is no formula for determining what is, for any given person, a happy memory, or experience, or event. And therefore I cannot give you a precise way to uncover your peculiar reason for happiness.
Though I can say two things with absolute certainty which might put you at ease: 1) Everyone has the freedom of happiness already within them; and 2) everyone has the capacity for uncovering and living out that freedom.
Easy as pie, if you use a store-bought crust. But how to uncover that unique face of happiness within oneself (you persistently ask)? Start with William Carlos Williams and roll on:
“so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
And if, as you repurpose dear Mr. Williams’ words to fit your own ways and means, you find the rolling list rolls on, then pay attention to what keeps it rolling. The ignition is at the start: “So much depends upon…” Not “depends upon” as burden, not “depends upon” as weight or gravity to be carried. But “depends upon” as the passionate fire which ignites. Follow that energy down into the depths of your life and I would wager the freedom of happiness is there, quietly lurking, patiently waiting. Because, by its true nature, no freedom does well suppressed—certainly not one made of fire.
Take this to heart. It has bearing in the everyday as much as all days; and in every way, it sets us creatures of great joy. For we always have and always will have a reason to be happy.