Chapter 2: The Joy of Living

Burgos, Spain

A New Volume is Starting

Chapter 2: The Joy of Living

To be alive and to live I believe are two different things. We can breathe, we can walk through the motions of life, but can we truly live life solely existing by the use of our physical body? I’m not sure if this makes sense, but what I mean is this: Is it possible to live our entire lives satisfying physical, external needs in order to trigger happiness within? Can we live our entire lives failing to see the insides, the inner beauty expelling forward beyond what merely meets the eye? I don’t think so. For me, it took so much time to realize the internal capacities we as humans have. The capabilities we have if cultivated- the tenderness that our hearts possess, the incredible aptitude of our senses, and most important of all, the power and will of our minds.

As humans, as animals that we are, we have a part of ourselves that is directed towards survival. It is only natural that we move towards actions that will fulfill our emotional and physical needs. Actions that will enable us to support ourselves, the people around us, and the things we find the most happiness doing.

The question that comes most to mind is that why do we have to find things to do, to have, or people to be with to find the most happiness? At the end of the day, the ultimate goal for each action we take is to be in complete happiness. The ultimate goal for survival is to, well survive so that we are happy. Why, then, do we include so many things in our lives that lead to ‘unhappiness’?

We get jobs to find ways to make money. Why? To be able to support ourselves, to be able to have things that will make us ‘happy’. Why, then, do we choose to make decisions to have a job that won’t lead us to happiness? I don’t by any means believe that it is the job or whatever it is that can cause unhappiness. It is something, deeper, something within us that can only give us our own happiness. No job, no person, no ‘thing’ can lead us to unhappiness or happiness.

These past few months have been an exploration of the different tools that can bring ‘happiness’. I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time, but reflecting on the past months has given me an understanding of the different emotions I felt and why they led me to feeling a sense of happiness, even if it was short-term. Observing those emotions was important, understanding why I was happy when I was happy and what was triggering that happiness. Those things were only short-term, I knew. 

I learned, through observing those moments of happiness, to observe the moments of pain as well. The reasons why they were happening and no, I realized it wasn’t something externally triggering those bouts of suffering. I was in Nepal when I was reading Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg and traveling with my friends Miki and Joserra. It was with them, through conversation, when I truly understood the correlation between suffering and violence of the mind. I thought about the pain and suffering I had experienced within myself and from those around me.

It only seems to summarize it from this poem I wrote a few days ago:

We fill deep corners with light and love,

Slowly finding the light streaming through the small hole we were so blind to see before,

I thought what’s the point to all this,

Because, I don’t know about you, but all I am seeing is self-harm

And acts of self-induced injury.

There are always circumstances which we feel cause us pain. There will always be something outside that will 'give us' pain- someone we care about or an environment we can’t seem to be happy in. I’ve stopped reaching the conclusion that it’s something ‘out there’, that something 'gives us' pain. There’s always going to be something outside, shifting, moving. However, I think sometimes we fail to see that just as the outside world is always moving; we are always moving, always shifting. The wheels of our minds are always turning and our hearts are always feeling.

I’ve learned to let the wheels of my mind work, but not carry me away; to let my heart feel, but not hurt. By no means have I reached this level of faith, but becoming aware of all of this has been the first step as I continue on this powerful journey called life.