Incoming message from Tie Fighter. Subject: The Trinity of Happiness
“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
What I want to share with you today is not a magic formula, or a set of rules. It is not even advice. The truth is that I do not believe that you or anyone reading this require what I say to become fulfilled.
In fact, I would be surprised if you relied on things whose collective number you can count with your fingers in order to be a happy winner in life. That is not to say you cannot, but merely to point out a vast potential that perhaps remains untapped.
Admittedly, we all have our go-to distractions, supports, and energy wells when we feel down. It is natural and healthy to seek good feelings from things around us.
But in this article I want to remind you that the greatest asset you have is not external.
My friends. Your greatest asset to achieve happiness in life is perhaps the most neglected tool of all.
It is the simple capacity of your mind to think.
If you can think, you can believe. If you can believe, you can imagine.
If you can imagine, what is reality but a buffet for you to derive joy and fulfillment from?
This, my friends, is the essence of happiness.
On this note, I do believe most of us require practice. Happiness is not a supernatural gift. It takes patience and a mind willing to forgo its ego.
Some of us have had a head start on happiness due to our conditioning and environment. Some of us have sailed the ocean of life with clear skies, while others have not.
Some of us were born into anxiety and worry, while others were not.
However as I have said before, it is not where you start or finish in life that matters, but rather how far you have ran. Remember this.
The past is not for regretting. The future is not for fretting. The present is not for forgetting.
Right now I want to remind you, once more, of the happiness you have and will always have, should you want it.
Three concepts. Three words.
That is all one needs to start on the road to happiness.
You may disregard them for clichés. But I hope you do not disregard them completely.
For life, despite all its frivolousness and ironies, is at the end of the day a sincere and earnest endeavor. At least that is what I believe.
The first of these words is gratitude.
It is the thankfulness of life and all its potential. Now I can give you examples, such as the likelihood that if you are reading this article, you already have more access to sanitation, health, and sustenance than the majority of people on Earth. You already have more avenues to happiness- And there are many.
However, you probably already knew that. Let us go beyond comparisons, which are natural and are the place to start.
Plainly put, true gratitude comes from the knowledge of your uniqueness. It is the appreciation of your life movie. This is a play in which you are the protagonist, and the plot is yours to explore.
You may feel ill right now. You may feel sad at this juncture of time and space. You may even feel that worst of human emotions: hopelessness. But I want to let you know that it is not permanent.
I want to remind you that you, like all the heroes and adventurers, are greater than what you are going through.
I want to remind you that the best movies are those in which the protagonist endures the greatest challenges and keeps going until he or she finds meaning.
If you can breathe, you can inspire. Every second is a first chance for you to partake in a new stimulus or idea that can enrich your life. Every minute is a chance for you to work on a passion and a creation. Not a moment goes by that life is not giving you access to her bounty. She is in fact saying “This is all yours.”
Should you choose.
The second word is acceptance.
It is another way with which thoughts can heal. Whatever you are going through, it only takes a small shift in mental gaze to see the light in the darkness. To clarify, I do not think one is served well to close his eyes and ignore the darkness, or to pretend that there is none. The truth is that no darkness is without its light, and that every situation, as sure as the laws of physics, can have a positive spin.
Negativity is normal. Stress from unforeseen circumstances is normal before one attains maturity and knowledge of the array of “circumstances” in life.
However, constant negativity and stress is not normal, and is a sign of immaturity. To split the world into good and evil, happy and sad, and any amount of dichotomies is to not truly appreciate it.
Cynicism breeds worry. Though I understand life is not always easy- Trust me, I know- one cannot simply focus on the negatives.
As I have said, some of us have not had a head start in life. Some of us have had things taken away from us.
Having not known a parent’s love or a lover’s embrace may seem like a cruel fate. But to those whose lives are still filled with clouds of despair, I implore you to reconsider your circumstances as you live in this moment.
Your situation and your past may seem terrible. And they may be so. But I offer you a scenario.
What can you do when the hope of living was taken away from you? What can you achieve in a realm where the hopeful have long perished and where there is suffering in every waking minute?
Do you lie down and give up?
What can a man or woman do?
Let me tell you what a man like Viktor E. Frankl, who may be the happiest man you have never heard of, did not.
If you can- And you CAN- Imagine. You are a victim during the Holocaust. And no, you are not a “lucky” pianist or “fortunate” Schindler-ite. You are Dr. Frankl.
A former psychiatrist, he experienced the full breadth of Nazi cruelty in the form of Auschwitz, Kaufering, and Turkheim, which were major concentration camps in which death came with each sunrise. These were places where men ceased to be men, and where women ceased to be women. In these camps, most humans were reduced to walking corpses without hope, prone to being blown over at any whim or gust of wind, like the ashes of those who fell a day earlier.
Dr. Frankl was not of this breed. He willed himself to happiness wherever he could find it. He survived, and more importantly he did so with his mind. He would go on to write a book whose words would eventually find their way to me, and now to you.
I implore you to consider these two quotes when pondering the concept of acceptance, as I have done. When you are faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, say these words to yourself.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
To choose one’s own way. In my brief existence, I have seldom come across more liberating words.
If we chose to believe that in any circumstance we can shift our lens of perception, then we can navigate, if nothing else, our own inner reality to suit our optimism. If we can will our minds, we can wield strength unmatched by any adversity fate throws in our direction.
That, I believe, is the truth in Dr. Frankl’s strength.
Finally, I offer you the last word.
Believe in yourself and in your life’s meaning.
Naturally there will be doubts, as sure as the storms that an oak must weather.
I will not tell you to ignore doubt, not because it is impossible, but because it does not lead down a path towards harmony.
Belief is not ignorance. It combines both gratitude and acceptance, and is perhaps the hardest to achieve in the trinity of happiness. But let me offer you this perspective.
If the simple answer to a choice being right is your immediate satisfaction of it, then the key is to be immediately accepting and grateful for your choice. Then you will be satisfied.
Moreover, you will see that all your choices are there to be made, and that all your decisions are lessons to be learned.
There, perhaps, lies the truth.
The best choice is one that accepts the past and expresses gratitude towards the future.
If you wish, say with me as I say now:
I accept what I have done and what has been done unto me.
I am grateful for this path that I chose and the paths that I will choose.
I believe in myself and in this journey.
In the end there is no end.
With that, I hope you too can start or continue on the road of happiness.
I wish nothing but the best for you as you walk on your path, where, but the grace of the universe, go I.
If you can take anything from this article at all, just know that happiness is not esoteric. It is not a gift that only the special among us have.
It is everywhere and anywhere.
Should you want to find it.
For just as a destined lover too, it is also in search of you.
Until next time.