Saturday, September 29, 2012
Happy Being Being Happy
On my birthday this past Tuesday I had a mini breakthrough moment. This is what happened.
I spent my day in Santa Monica/Venice. At Barnes and Noble, I found a book called Ishmael. At first I walked away and didn’t buy it until an hour later when I couldn’t stop thinking about this Gorilla named Ishmael. He places an add in the paper, “Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.” How could I not be curious? Plus the name Ishmael reminded me of my first creative writing professor at UC Berkeley named Ishmael Reed. Thanks to him, I learned to write using my own voice. “Write like you speak,” he said. At the time, it was an a-ha moment. And since, my writing has evolved.
After buying this book by Daniel Quinn, I went for a long walk on the beach, reading it as I went along. When I came to a stop, I had this realization: I spent the first 30 years of life soul searching, as if finding or even understanding this ‘thing’ called a soul would bring me happiness. And then came the idea of ‘being a pure observing spirit.’ It allowed me to breathe and live freely. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of this idea and I started searching again. For what reasons, I don’t know.
British philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, “Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.” How brilliant is this! Happiness doesn’t happen in an answer or in a search for meaning as I had again started looking. It’s in ‘being’ that happiness happens. When I surrender, observe, and just be, happiness is. It is in searching/ looking that I lose sight of what’s already here. Happiness is not lost or somewhere waiting to be found. It’s in front of me.
The piece here is titled, “Lennon.” John Lennon inspires it. The Beatles sang, “There will be an answer, let it be.” Were they onto something? I’d like to think so.
If the question is as Shakespeare asked, "To be or not to be?" I'll BE.