I contemplate happiness.
Not because I am not happy, for I consider myself very fortunate to be living a happy life, amidst the inevitable rhythm of loss and gain and loss again, into which this life is born.
I contemplate happiness, because it fascinates me.
I believe this is the one ‘thing’, the one ‘hope’, all humanity shares – to live a happy life, every day.
And in my fascination and curiosity, I want to unravel the secret or secrets of ‘happiness’, convinced that somehow this common desire amongst us all is not incidental, but intentional – planted in us as we come into being as the perfect synergy of earth and Wind.
A kind of destiny.
Or purpose perhaps?
What we are made for?
To live happy lives.
Still, I see, as I travel through life, so many for whom, despite serious effort and eager intent and religious fervor, happiness remain illusive.
An almost unattainable, impossibility.
I see fellow travelers getting married and getting divorced, having children, having affairs, amassing wealth and pursuing wealth and achievement and significance, joining churches and mosques and temples, joining movements, immersing themselves in meditation and ancient practices, buying stuff, traveling, building, taking medication, seeing psychologists and psychiatrists, seeking counseling, meeting with spiritual mentors, all in efforts to obtain happiness.
To find it.
Or discover it.
Or get a grip on it.
And some, find some sense of happiness.
And some, find some sense of lesser unhappiness.
And a few, receive happiness.
That state where one lives with a sense of wellness and content, a being at peace, free from fear and anger, despite the relentless demands of a life filled with uncertainty and empty of guarantees for tomorrow.
I am reading, at a pace I can manage and digest, as much of the Ancient Philosophy which explores happiness, as I can.
Looking back, I realize, without knowing it, I have been reading this for a lifetime and have been quietly pulled towards this endeavour, since I was woven in my mother’s womb.
It is essential to receiving happiness.
We know this and seek it.
Hence, our attraction to churches and mosques and temples, and when they disappoint, to counselors and psychologists or bohemian practices where we hope to find the keys with which we could unlock that one door which seems to remain impenetrable.
We need wisdom, we are right about that.
In my own adventure, wisdom has been one of the most precious gifts received.
Not my own wisdom, for I would not be so brave as to consider myself wise.
I am a seeker of wisdom.
A lover thereof.
Perhaps a philosopher, for that is what the word truly means: ‘love of wisdom’.
And, I am aware, as my wise sister often reminds me, that wisdom is slapped onto many things, a label for diverse ideas, sometimes even contradicting ideas.
For me, however, wisdom is those ideas which lead us closer to our Origin, into at-one-ment with our Source and Sourceror, resulting in the receipt of an increasingly happy life.
Wisdom, it is essential to receiving happiness.
And we are privileged to be living in a time of access.
We can access ideas in so many ways.
Information is largely free and unconstrained.
We can read and we can find whatever we desire to read.
I think of a different time, when few could read and what was available to be read, was limited, accessible to only Kings and Priests.
A time, of Oral Traditions, in which we spoke the ideas we held or heard.
A time with it’s own advantages, it’s own gain, despite the loss, unbeknownst to it in the chronology of time, of no or few texts and limited access.
Our loss, as we frown upon Oral Traditions, immersed in the gain of so many texts, is overload – wisdom often lost in the flood of information and the complexity of idea built on idea, built on yet another idea.
Originality lost, in highly processed, seemingly easily digestible offerings, which are easily bereft of nutrition.
Every gain, filled with loss and every loss making space for gain, even as we receive the gift of accessibility to texts.
Robbed of a person, of a someone who conveys and are available to discuss and consider together.
Even this text, these words written down by me, now, in this time, and read by you, now, in a different geography and time, robbed of contact, emptied of the opportunity to look each other in the eye, to see each others’ facial expressions or hear the tone of each others’ voices, emoty of reciprocity, as I have no access to your response and your experience and your ideas, as I share mine with you.
And so, I am reminded of the gift of a Tribe.
Aware and convinced that reading Wisdom is invaluable to receiving happiness, I am reminded that being in the proximity of people, sharing life with people whom you love and by whom you are loved, is as important, if not more important.
We know this too.
It is in this instinctive knowledge that we attempt to form families and make religious affiliations and join clubs and organizations and sacrifice our time, sometimes even our selves, into the service of governments or corporations.
For we desire to be in a Tribe.
To be surrounded by people who love and value us and are loved and valued by us.
Unknowingly aware that a Tribe is essential to our well-being, to living a happy life.
For it is in a Tribe that we receive and give.
More than love and acceptance.
Wisdom, as well.
As we embrace each other and remind each other and share with each other from the fountains of our experiences.
We are right.
Without a Tribe, we are adrift.
The strongest man is not he who stands alone.
It is in being woven together, our life woven together with the lives of others, that we become more.
This is a precious and rare gift.
To have a life larger than our own.
A life intricately woven together with the lives of others.
A life in which we can be an ‘us’, instead of an ‘I’.
I live this life.
I receive this gift.
I am grateful.
My life woven together with the lives of others in expanding circles, rippling outward.
At the most intimate centre of the most intimate circle, my life woven together with the life of Zuko, a woman who was a young girl, two decades ago, when we discovered our hearts enfolding each others’, our life woven together with the lives of our four beautiful children, as they each come to us as gift and responsibility and increase, woven together with the life of our sister, a sister who chose to be our sister, as we live in close proximity and intimacy, from day to day, into weeks and seasons and years.
It is as we see each other often, as we share geography and experiences, as we eat together and laugh together and cry together, as we discover together and do together, that our lives are woven together.
My life woven closer to the life of my sister, a young woman, who was not even a teenager, when I met her 20 years ago, than it is to the lives of those who would be my sibblings by blood, for she and we have seen more together, than I and they have seen and so even blood dissipates in the absence of proximity or the desire to be woven together.
Our life rippling outwards.
Our ‘cousin’ joining us recently, she too choosing to weave her life into ours, as we choose to weave our life into hers.
Perhaps for a moment.
Perhaps for a life time.
For this we do not know.
And the weaving together of lives, ever fed and done, by will and desire.
Not individual will and desire, but reciprocal will and desire.
For I could’ve willed and wanted to weave my life together with the life of Zuko’s, as much as any man can will or desire, but it would’ve been in vain, had my willing and desiring not been requested and answered by her own willing and wanting in equal deep desire.
Not only once, many seasons before, when we were young, but every day, every moment, as summer gives way to fall and days fall off the calendar – every day we need to will and desire, together, to weave our lives into at-one-ment, choosing to share our time and space, choosing to share our hearts and desires, our thoughts and fears and hopes and new discoveries, willing it into being, to weave into a single tapestry our happiness, our joy and sorrow, our loss and gain.
Our life rippling outwards.
Into a broader Tribe of friends, whom we do not see from day to day, due to time and space and circumstance, but with whom we share our life, as we choose to weave our lives together.
Us with them and they with us.
Friends in South Africa and Ethiopia, Botswana and The Kalahari, England, Canada, America and Australia, and here in China, in the Far East, where we find ourselves in this moment.
Perhaps you are in this Tribe?
You would know?
For we will to weave our lives together.
And as we weave into at-one-ment, we are enriched, as we enrich.
We are made more, as we make more.
We become, as we contribute to the becoming of others.
This broader Tribe important too, for it is easy to entrap ourselves in an enclosed environment, barren of flow, where we lose the gift of open minds and broader ideas, of deeper wisdom and alternative views.
This entrapment a loss, with little gain, other than the illusion of safety, often coming at the price of losing our freedom and our ability to become and be, everything we are created to be, as our Origin is.
But it is the intimate Tribe I celebrate today.
The lives woven together, by reciprocal will and desire, from day to day, through geographical proximity and shared moments, through speaking often, from our hearts, expressing our thoughts and views as we eat and walk and travel and commute, as we do laundry and prepare for classes.
Sharing our curiosity.
Our struggles and our overcoming of them.
Our loss and our gain.
Encouraging each other.
Reminding each other, often, of The Way of the Gift, we receive so freely, indubitably, as the Wind takes us into different experiences.
Telling each other, of the perspectives we hold and sometimes share.
Affecting each other, with deep affection, as we compensate as well, each one for the other, when faith or hope seemed to have emptied out or energy had been exhausted, embracing each other, not despite who we are, but because of who we are.
Knowing, our bond is freely chosen.
It is willed, and has been willed and will be desired.
Tomorrow always foreign to us all.
Neither of us prive to the knowledge of what will be, or who we will be, basking rather, in the gift of this very moment, and the gift of each moment which came before.
The gift of every strand which has been woven into each other.
Convinced that surely a time will come, because of life and death, or time and circumstance, in which we will not be allowed anymore to weave together life which is and will have been.
Convinced also that just as assuredly a time will come simultaneously, as time itself folds in on itself and reveals it’s own irrelevance, in which we will be allowed again, or rather still, to weave together life which is and will have been and are, without end.
My deepest realization, in this very moment, as I contemplate the deepening happiness which I receive in every new day, and my sincerest entreatment to you, as you choose to hear my simple words: willing to weave our lives, into at-one-ment, with the lives of others who will the same, is essential to receiving and living a happy life.
And so I express my gratitude.
To our children.
To our sister.
To our cousin and friends, who’ve chosen to be more than aquintances, as we will it too.
And at the same time I implore you.
Will to weave your life, into the life and lives of others.
Will it earnestly.
Be brave, for I know too, our brokenness may prevent us from truly willing to weave, often drawing us into the lifeless world of masks and deception, as we pretend to weave with strands which are not us.
Will to weave, every day anew.
Your life, with the life of people whom you love and by whom you are loved.
People you embrace and by whom you are embraced, unconditionally.
Will and weave and unearth the collective Wisdom, which become our Oral Traditions and new texts, which help us to unwrap with ease the gift of a happy life we already hold in our being.