Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness

Since taking up art in any kind of serious way all I have ever wanted to be was to be an artist. Not really ever knowing just what an artist is it is difficult I suppose, to ever realise that one has arrived at the point where we can say with any confidence, "I am an artist."

So when I was asked to give a demonstration to a group of artists I should have thought that this was some kind of recognition that I had arrived at that point. 

Strangely that is not the case, I am full of self doubt and just longing for it to be over and something positive achieved. 

Are we ever happy? That is one of the big questions of life.

I was thinking of this after over-hearing a number of conversations. The first was a mother. She was bemoaning that as hard as she tried she could not longer bring back the happy times they all used to share together. “No matter what I organise it is always the same,” she said. “They always have things to do and places to go.” 

Hankering after the old days she is missing the joy and happiness of watching them become free beings in their own right. 

The second conversation was a friend complaining that he need a new bicycle. “Why? “ I asked. “This one is out of date.” The cycle he had was at least a year younger than mine, but he had to be up date.  

In reality, both of these conversations were about the same thing. Let me explain what I mean.

If we have a scooter we want a cycle, if we have a cycle we want a car. If we have a car we want a bigger or better one. The list is endless. And so is the pursuit.

I remember workmate who, the minute they got promotion began talking about the next step up the ladder. Or when they had been given a pay hike it was not bringing him any closer to his friend who had also had one. Again the list is endless as is the pursuit.

Even on the emotional and relationships front, our relationships are evaluated on the basis of how many visits, how many phone calls, how many invitations one gets and gives. We seek to create a perfect family of always smiling people around us, and are disappointed if things are not picture perfect. Yet again, the list is endless.

And so is the pursuit.

The pursuit of happiness. This is a well-known and well used phrase. Yet it is in fact a strange term. It in fact makes no sense at all. 

Like many oft-repeated phrases, one repeats it mechanically but it makes no sense whatsoever. 

Happiness is not an object or person that can be pursued. It just is. 

In fact, perhaps it is this very phrase that is often the seed of much discontent and unhappiness. 

The new phone, car, are all part of the pursuit of happiness. 

This morning I was thinking about these conversations and my own pursuit of happiness, and the next better artwork.   The desire to be what I might never be.

When you pursue happiness, it eludes you. However, when you recognise that happiness is the inner beings natural state, all you need to do is eliminate all that comes between your happiness and you.

I think I need to read that again and again in the next two days. Is it complex or complicated? 

Not really, just know that happiness is not out there somewhere it is in there somewhere.

Have a great and a happy day. 

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