It’s unfortunate that blessings and curses are often indistinguishable at face value. We find ourselves chasing ideas or hopes that only seek to make our lives harder and often ignore that which could easily make us happy. That’s really what it means to be a human, I guess. We’re idealists living in an imperfect world and while we strive for perfection, while we pine after symmetry, the universe continues to overpower us with confusion and meaninglessness. We constantly look for the black and white in the world. Our binary perceptions are so deeply ingrained into the societies we have built. Good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral, X and Y. We attempt to weave the fabric of reality with only 2 strings of opposing colors.
But unfortunately, the universe is not willing to submit to our desires. She mixes together every color, creating a muted grey that permeates all things. For nobody is inherently good or inherently evil; nothing is inherently right or inherently wrong; the fabric of reality is woven with strings of every possible color. We seek tirelessly for simplicity because we are too ignorant, weak, and lazy to always see the nuance. Sure, we all get glimpses of it from time to time, but we always find a way to blind ourselves once again. We enjoy being in the dark. We enjoy when things are simple. We lust after ease and constantly seek to avoid suffering.
That’s really what it means to be happy: to not be suffering. Happiness isn’t really a thing that one can achieve, it is simply the periods in someone’s life when they are too distracted to notice their pain. All around us are reasons to be unhappy. If we look behind us, seeing all the mistakes we made and times we veered off course, we become unhappy. If we look forward, seeing all that we might someday regret and the inevitability of death awaiting us, we become unhappy. If we look to either side of us, seeing those that are so very far ahead of us and those suffering as they lag behind, we become unhappy. Only by distracting oneself from the outside world, only by recognizing one’s own presence in the moment, can one truly find happiness. That is why happiness so rarely lasts, because we’re too preoccupied with where we are that we lag behind, and everything behind us catches back up. Regret, guilt, anxiety, fear. These are the demons that are constantly scrambling after us and, unfortunately, they are very easily able to grasp us when we are happy. But unhappiness is on every side, there really is no definite escape. We must simply recognize that happiness comes in waves and, though it has left us, it may someday return.
How you feel is really more about where you look than anything else. Sure, looking back you may feel regret or sorrow at the things you did or things you lost. However, you may also be happy with certain things you did, or things you have kept. Looking forward is the same, as is looking beside us. Perception is where all the power lies. Most people perceive only the negatives, making happiness a fleeting and rare feeling. However, some perceive only the positives, making sorrow a much rarer occurrence. But this preferential perception of the positives should not be sought after. For if sorrow is a rarity, then it becomes much more intense when it does finally catch up to you. On the other side, happiness loses its sweetness when you ingest it every day. That is why those who perceive the positive aspects of life are often hit the hardest in times of sorrow. That is also why those who seem the most miserable adjust most efficiently to times of sorrow. Life, truly, is all about balance. Too little sorrow can corrupt our happiness and too little happiness can leave us brittle. Balance is everything in life. All problems arise from excess or deficiency.