In my last post-Ol’ Blue Eyes-In Memoria-I fleetingly referred to the fact that, while working in working in a homeless drop in centre, I had the pleasure of meeting the happiest man who I have ever known.
This got me thinking about what it means to us all to be happy, and how all of us often categorize how others are feeling by reference to what we know, or by what we think we know. It is a curious thing to do really when you think of how active and inquisitive a brain we have, but I am sure that, consciously or subconsciously, we all do it.
So here is a challenge that I now drop into the blog-o-sphere. What if we were to put aside our preconceptions of others, and look at their lives and mode of living without any bias or knowledge that we may have built up so far.
If we were to do so how would we define happiness, and further examine what such a term means to ourselves?
According To Wikipedia
others have stated, anonymously
“Not what you have, but what you see; Not what you see, but what you choose; Not what seems fair, but what is true; Not what you dream, but what you do; Not what you take, but what you give; Not as you pray, but as you live. These are the things that mar or bless The sum of human happiness.” —Source Unknown
while Einstein states that…
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
and I will come to my own views on such a topic in a moment, but let me first introduce the gentleman that I have been referring to. No real names, no packdrill; just as in the last post, but for convenience sake I will call him Bob.
Bob was a regular client at the drop in centre. Aged 40-45 he was intelligent, witty, philosophical, and joy to be with, and he was always welcomed in the centre by both his peers and by us workers. Yet he had a “problem”; please note the inverted commas. He was an alcoholic, so much so that he could barely get drunk, no matter how much he consumed. For those working within the centre this was a problem, as we knew what harm was being done to his body; yet at the same time we were puzzled, as, by all outward appearances, he was one of the happiest guys around. One day we decided to try and end our puzzlement, and we asked him why, when he was homeless and addicted to alcohol, was he so happy.
This is the summary of the reply he gave
“I know I’m wiping years of my life through alcohol, and I know that I’ve no home, as you would define it.”
He told us
But I’ve got good friends all around me who speak my language and who understand me, I know where to get good food, warmth, a shower, and good company, and, unlike many around me, I have peace of mind. I have no family, I have no responsibilities to speak of, and as I walk around London, all I see is a sea of grey stressed out faces. I am happy, they are miserable, so who is the wise man and who is the fool?”
He left us with nothing else to do but to shake his hand.
It was true that he was killing himself, it was true that, according to many of us, he was living a deprived existence, but as he so rightly said, he had peace of mind, so was he so foolish after all?
The other critical point is that he never went looking for happiness. If it came to him, fine, but, according to him on subsequent chats and occasions, he never actively pursued such a dream.
How many of us can say the same?
I personally agree with his philosophy about life. It is true that I have never been homeless, and thank God, alcohol and I have only a light acquaintance, but I have been through mental hell and back. I have tried to seek out happiness, and like so many before me, I found that such searching was in vain. For me, peace of mind, came accidentally, first high up in the hills away from everybody, and now through a long and happy marriage, but in closing this post,I will pose the following questions.
What makes you happy, and, in your own mind was does such a term mean?
To quote a half cut football director who, stumbling on the pitch at half time, berated the somewhat subdued home fans
“Come on, let’s be havin’ you!”
any thoughts, any replies
- What is happiness to me? (trivico89.wordpress.com)
- How to be happy-THE TRUTH OF IT (gypsiemama.wordpress.com)
- Ol’ Blue Eyes-In Memoria (bublicksblog.org)
- Poll Finds that Women Are Happiest at Size 12 (Because Cheese Probably) (jezebel.com)
- It’s Happiness (thabisomolatlhwa.wordpress.com)
- Bittersweet and Brutal (rosalialunasparks.wordpress.com)
- How to be Happy, …… Really!!!! (ptsdawayout.com)
- Happiness (enthusiasticallyoptimistic.wordpress.com)