Wednesday, September 11, 2013

the starting point

I don't know anyone who wouldn't be willing to say, "I want to be happy." It's a no-brainer, right?

And in pursuit of that hope, anyone might ingest the formulas that others are always willing to provide ... go for a walk, be a Christian, get a job, have some kids, move to the country or city, rob a bank, love well, drink green tea, shoot heroin, meditate ... the formulas are all out there, waiting to be plucked like ripe apples.

But of course one person's formula is not another person's answer. Some formulas work and some don't, some appeal and some don't. Whatever the reaction, the hope remains the same: "I want to be happy."

I wonder if it's true within all of this: To be happy, you've got to start by being serious. This is not as easy as it sounds. There are any number of things about which a person might imagine s/he is serious, but it is a seriousness that relies on a group-consensus sort of seriousness: If lots of other people say it's serious and I say it's serious, then it is serious.

Or is it?

Happiness may be a lot of things, but it does not rely on consensus. You are happy ... that's it -- end of story. No support mechanisms or applause necessary. Woo-hoo is your woo-hoo.

And if this is true, then the sort of seriousness anyone might start with will likewise be devoid of consensus requirements.

So what does anyone take seriously -- really seriously? Is it chocolate chip cookies, one spiritual pursuit or another, working hard on a particular project, singing ... what is personally and irreducibly serious?

Whatever it is, I have a hunch that the recognition and acknowledgment of something serious -- anything at all -- is the starting point for an honestly happy life.

It's just a hunch.

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