Friday, September 4, 2009
The Unbearable Happiness II
If you want to know what happiness is don’t look into the holly scriptures and don’t talk to the holly men, just watch some children play.
I often watch my children play in the playing room.
I look at their pure and unadulterated joy and I can’t stop thinking that I was once just like that.
I look at them and I can’t stop asking myself: “What ever happened to that happy boy?”
I grew up on a farm at a time when ADD was not a childhood disease but rather a childhood requirement,
If you did not climb up trees and jumped over fences, if you did not have a permanent assortment of scars and bumps, you were considered a weird, abnormal kid.
We did not have a lot of toys, computers or video games, but boy, did we have fun!
The first “joy kill” memory I can recall was going to church on Sunday morning.
Going to an orthodox catholic church was a very grim and scary experience.
There is no joy and laughter, not even smiling in an orthodox church.
I don’t know if joy was considered a sin – pleasure was a sin for sure – but I remember being scolded for having fun in the church.
God was not supposed to be fun. God was supposed to be feared.
Then I remember going to school.
I remember distinctively being asked to wipe of the smile of my face.
“Stop smiling / laughing / like an idiot!” they would say, the implication being that only mentally retarded people can have that kind of unconditional joy.
Normal people needed a reason to be happy.
Some how, in time, that idea become embedded in my mind.
Happiness was not something that you are. Happiness was something you were supposed to find and to get from outside.
That meant that you are not in control of your own happiness, that your happiness is controlled by external factors and people.
Once you give up that control you are bound to spend the rest of your life in spiritual misery, at the mercy of other people and institutions.
And that my friend is the short version of how we got to sell out our happiness in exchange for being accepted into the club of civilized and unhappy people.