Bad stuff happens. At every level. Be it the unbelievable tragedy of school masacres, families stuck in a run of terrible bad luck, insane wars, losing a job, losing a mother… there is no doubt that there is great suffering in the word. And being a ‘rich’ westerner doesn’t make our potential for suffering any less or our suffering any less real.
What can our response be to this? To me the only solution can be to side firmly with happiness, to side firmly with good. For every bit of evil and suffering, to look to put 1 or 2 back in for the other side.
To work to heal ourselves and our relationships with others, to heal the troubles in our families while we have the chance. To help out wherever we can, to enjoy the present moment. There is no Utopia, but with enough good going into the world, more of the suffering can be transformed back into happiness.
For a long time I wondered about bothering with this blog, “there are enough happiness websites on the net, who needs my thoughts on it all?” But then I thought about all the bad news on the net, and all the unhealthy, just plain nasty content floating around out there, and I decided that the other side needed all the back up it can get – If we bother in life, the bad (though it will never disappear) won’t overwhelm the good. I also thought that perhaps some insight I may gain on this path might help at least one other person somewhere, someday. That would be justification enough.
The other day I had a tiny moment of clarity, nothing more than a nudge, a thought that popped into my head as I walked through the kitchen – that I really did have enough reasons to be properly content and happy. That it was true what all the people I consider most wise had been saying all along, what I’d read and shared but hardly every really felt – that I do have enough, there is no need to look elsewhere – the present moment contains everything I need.
This was followed by another funny thought – but if I’ve got everything I need, what am I going to run after now? What am I going to search for next? I’ve been so used to running (towards an invisible answer – away from suffering) and seeking, that the idea that I could stop was almost worrying.
Running – or never stopping – has been a way of life for me. What would I do if I really stopped running after things? The only answer that came back, was to spend time bothering, and making time, to enjoy the present moment and to improve the quantity of good in the world. Instead of focusing so excruciatingly on me, perhaps at last I can shift more of the focus outwards. Listening, for a start.
Later that evening I was running once again – running after more ideas of what would make my life better, but I realised what I was doing quickly at least, and smiled at myself. And the seed is still growing, the central idea still shines very bright:
That the more we stop to be kind and compassionate with others and ourselves, the more we offer and seek help when it’s needed, the more we all stop running after things and take time to look outside, to look at and listen to others, the more we bother to heal wounds, to mend our relationships and our families, the more we bother to be creative, to make art, to let a well-lived life be an art, the more we bother to invite others in, to enjoy the wonders of the present moment, and to share our positive energy and joys with everyone else… then the more good there will be in the world, and the balance will always swing gently in its favour, and while there will always be suffering, its scope and its effects may lessen, and our time here will be happier, and more fruitfully spent.