Monday, January 30, 2017

The Magic of Living

I was thinking about writing something about the subject of happiness, when the thought occurred to me: hey haven't I written about this many times before? A simple search reveals that this is indeed the case.

In an entry entitled "The Happiness List" (Nov 5, 2005), I wrote about how one can be made happy by the simple things in life. In "The Happiness of Small Things" (Jan 7, 2005), I wrote: "We define our own happiness. Happiness to me is just a simple and quietly fruitful life".

Those words we written more than 10 years ago. And my view about happiness has not changed at all. I still believe what I wrote in "A Diamond Soul", that happiness cannot be achieved by manipulating the external world; real happiness comes from an inner transformation, a spiritual realization, a crucible of pain, which forces us to relook our life in a different way. Perhaps joy is a better word for this deeper happiness. Most people find this transforming joy through religion (another one of my favourite blogging subjects).

Our real-life situations are never ideal: we have relationship problems, we face work-related pressure in the office, we have financial worries and we are concerned about our future. These non-ideal circumstances make us "unhappy". But if we look closer at it, they all stem from a need to control what is in essentially beyond our control. We can never dictate how others should behave towards us, nor can we predict what tomorrow will bring. All we can do is do what we do, to the best of our abilities, to continuously grow and learn with each moment of experience, be it a painful or a pleasurable one.

Some people find happiness in family life--the bustle of kids and large gatherings with relatives. Some like yours truly find happiness in simplicity and restraint--not owning much and not desiring extravagantly. The simple and ordinary things in life already make me ecstatic. An insightful sentence from a book, a sublime movement from a sonata, a beautifully executed piece of cinematography from a movie--all these things give me enormous pleasure and joy. I certainly do not need the peak experiences that come from bungee-jumping or careering at high-speed in a fancy sports-car.

Every word I write is an emanation of joy--the joy of being able to think, write and express. Every time I write, something is created out of nothing: suddenly a thought from my mind is now lodged in your head. Isn't that magic?

When one has an opportunity to create magic everyday, one has absolutely no excuse to be unhappy.

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