dick.richardson @ ymail.com
The Question of Happiness.
Although I have addressed this question and my experience and feelings regard to it in books, poems and articles, one is still occasionally asked, in private and in sincerity, as to how the events of which I have spoken and written about really correlate with happiness, and personal happiness at that. The feeling of happiness is of course just that, a feeling; and it is no doubt the same thing for all people, but different things make different people happy; and there are of course many degrees of happiness - and its opposite. Moreover, we all know well enough that feeling happy is not there all the time, and that it is not something which can be switched on like a light bulb; and certainly not at will.
Likewise is it plain enough to everybody that it is something better to be with than to be without - or leastwise certainly without its opposite on the scene. Also does everybody know that so much of existing human life on earth is spent in the often futile attempt at trying to issue this feeling forth. People do this or that thing thinking or hoping it will make them happy. People also tend to be much nicer and easier to get on with when they are happy, and it tends to be more fun being with them at such times. All these things are obvious to everybody. As it is also in trying to make somebody else happy. And what might make them happy today might make them feel completely bored or fed up tomorrow. However, the kind of society which we find ourselves living in here has certainly seemed to have put personal happiness at the apex of all things to go for and achieve, or leastwise to be sought at all costs.
So, what is the mystics take on this and what part does that mystical reunion event play in this area of personal happiness - they often ask. Well, I cannot speak for any other human being on this, and certainly not other mystics; I can only speak about my own feelings and experience of it. But for me the mystical reunion event and what it reveals and the effects of it are certainly not about happiness. Indeed, they make happiness seem to be quite a trivial thing. But, needless to say, happiness is not a trivial thing during a lifetime here, and the mystics, the same as anybody would, try to make other peoples lives happy - one wants them to be happy and enjoy every moment of their life. But, and I cannot speak for others, happiness is not a big thing to me - and even though I would rather be happy than miserable needless to say. But it is not that important.
Then of course one has to confront the question of personal happiness with that of living in a world that has got so much wrong with it that it makes one want to continually scream at everyone. And what does that do for personal happiness ! Not a lot. Also of course, and as is plainly obvious to everybody else, if people are happy then they are less likely to intentionally do things which are going to make other people miserable.
Over and above all this of course is also the consistent general characteristics of this or that person; some are generally of a happy disposition and nature whether they are feeling happy or not (I am one of them) and some, even if they are deliriously happy some of the time are not basically of a happy disposition and personality.
Added to all of this is the obvious fact that many (not all) people are actually made to feel happy by trying to make others happy. And one could hardly make other people happy if ones own existential disposition was that of a walking barrel of misery and discontent. It is plain enough to everybody that happy people tend to make others feel happy whilst miserable people tend to make them miserable - or at least feel sad for them. And feeling sad does not make one feel happy does it. But, all these things are obvious to everybody and not the exclusive right of mystics and sensatives.
So, one finishes up with this odd existential feeling of wanting other people to be happy whilst not really giving a damn if one is feeling particularly happy oneself. Moreover, this, although genuine and real, it is not only an altruistic thing, for it is also practical (and as I keep saying I am a pragmatist) happy people make a better world to live in than miserable ones do. One has to keep in mind also that there are plainly nice and nasty people hereabouts, and one is far more concerned with that than with mere fleeting moments of happiness. No doubt terrorists, murderers, child abusers, thieves and vandals feel quite happy when practicing their thing. So, as I have said so many times, life is not simply about being happy - far from it in fact. And even though it is far nicer to feel happy than miserable. But what is important of course is to feel it all - the good, the bad, and the 'orrible. And could one really appreciate feeling happy, or even half way happy (neutral) unless one has really known the horrible also.
Thus, and I can only speak for myself not other mystics on this one, I would asses myself to be content with the neutral. Giddy heights of ecstatic happiness no longer interests me (don't know that they ever did really). One could look back over certain aspects and times during ones life here and realise (only from hindsight) as to how happy one really was then. Perhaps it can be realised better from hindsight than at the time of actually living it. I know well enough that looking back over what would now be seen to be virtually the sum of my life here, then I am happy about it and it is certainly been a happy (and fortunate) life - but like all people I have known other times too.
But restricting this happiness thing conversation to merely mystical transcendent experience and what it reveals and what it does then happiness, as such, is not at all what it is all about. It is about something far more profound, important and enduring than that. Does mystical experience make people happy? No. Does it make them miserable? No. Does it make them annoyed about the way life is lived here and this level of the evolution of human society? Yes. Yes, it makes them dissatisfied in respect to that. But when not dwelling on that, or writing and talking about it (on the occasions that one can indeed do that) then, as I see it and feel it, the mystic is not even thinking about being happy, or sad or miserable, they are just too busy BEING a part of the nature of things, and loving it. Happiness is not a measure of love and nothing even like it in fact. Does being in love make you feel perpetually happy? In the words of the prophet - like hell it does. But sometimes it does. Was I happy in that transcendent state they ask. No, I was not, I was in love. If it had merely made people feel happy then I never would have bothered to even mention it.
Now, if we lived on the kind of word (social world) that the mystics envisage and would like to see, then it is plain enough that nobody would be miserable - and thus they would be more likely to be happy. But, of course, they would all be in love with life and everything - and which is more important and effective than merely being happy. I had many happy times during the war with bombs dropping all around. But that is not what life and love is about - and such happiness is often short lived.
To feel happy is truly great; but it is not what existence is all about. And to seek merely personal happiness is not what our own lives and existence are about. Unless of course you think mystical experience is a packet of lies. But, what you think does not alter things, it is what you do which alters things. And one cannot go against the grain of what you really know to be true. Try it and see. A terrorist might think this or that, but that is of no consequence to anybody else or society - until they do something about it. Tis all plain and obvious enough is it not. Who cares what thoughts float around in there - tis what you do with them that counts and shapes the world. And what virtue is there in merely thinking good thoughts, or if less good ones pop in - tis of no consequence. The virtue, or the lack if it, is what you do with them. How many times have we said - we do not decide what thoughts pop in there, but it is we who HAVE to make the decision as to which ones to dump and which ones to put into effect. And none of this stuff has got anything to do with happiness. But love has. For those inclined to think along those lines (I do not) then one could say that thoughts and ideas are sent to try us.
Love is not about being happy, it is a torrential river of passion on which you cannot swim against the tide - so, go with the flow - providing that flow is going somewhere good and which is positive and worth while. You, be the judge of that - for indeed you are; and you have no choice in that matter; for that is how it is and how it works. This world will not get any better than it is now unless we judge it to be a good thing that it should be - and then do something about it. Happiness!? Well, that can wait - as can eternity; for there is stuff to be done. I would take a guess that all mystics feel much the same way about this.
No wonder the world does not like mystics - leastwise living ones :- ) And they are not here to make people feel happy - that IS for sure. Why are they here in the first place then one might ask :- ) Well, I do not know, maybe to make them think eh. Pity that we cannot make them feel or see. But, there you go - that is down to each individual - for their life is their relationship with the all; and we each have to learn it alone eventually. Now, that IS something which I know something about :- )