One never really searches for happiness unless he or she is deprived of it after tasting it.
My search for happiness began rather dramatically on July 13, seven years ago on a sunny day when it rained but no rainbow appeared. Instead in the far west angry dark clouds appeared to dominate the horizon.
What happened next sent me spinning to the ground and knocked me out cold. When I awakened I was in a mist of pain as one has a concussion. My first and only thought was to replace the pain with the search of happiness.
Seven years later………..I can say that my search for happiness has been what I would liken to the climb to the peak of Mount Everest. I feel that I am at the first base camp, the mist is clearing and I can see the peak, glinting in the brief movement when the clouds clear and Light glints off the snow-laden peak.
The major difference in this climb compared to the traditional ones where brave climbers take on the journey to climb Mount Everest is that I seem to have no companion climbers and no Sherpas to carry the weight.
Thus as I climb, I drop the accouterments of daily living which are dead weights, then one by one I have to drop the attachments to worldly things and finally people, which is the hardest but the weight is unbearable on this climb.
The biggest challenge is that I have to drop the heavy cloak of fear for the climb is awesome, and the fear is weighing me down making me lead footed.
Yet I find I cannot let go of the fear and it is like a ball and chain on my leg.
After I woke up from the concussion of loss. All I could feel was pain in the region of my heart, intense to the point that the living world receded into a mist of surrealism. People came and went from my life; people lifting me up, walking a couple of steps with me and then leaving. There was no joy at their coming into my life and no regret on their leaving as my post concussive state had formed a fog around me. I know now that I should have thanked them, but my walking coma precluded that recognition of their generosity. I thank them now, for picking me up when I was dead weight on them and walking me to the next post.
What I knew for certain was that in order to get rid of the pain, I needed to continue to climb in search for Happiness. I knew that if I stopped the climb, the pain would become paralyzing and unbearable.
Sitting in a spiritual retreat with the Sheikh, in the mountains, counting the Names of the Divine on my rosary with my other companions I realized that as the beads fell from my fingers with one of his ninety nine names, I felt Him closer in a nebulous manner, light filled me and made me light………. I would not want to get up but the retreat had a schedule one had to follow so even in the sweetest of times when I felt the path of joy opening for me, I could not stop to savor the first step on the path as my reverie would be interrupted. Life intervened and I was called to dinner or sleep or by a colleague for help with something…………a worldly logistic entered to break the reverie and the map to the road to Joy would once again disappear.
It was like playing the game, “where in the world is Carmen?” and yet when you had almost tracked her down and the path opened, you were snatched away into the commonality of the “real “world.
In all this time in search of Happiness I have learned one inflexible fact that I can confidently share with all the Seekers of Joy…………and that is: Happiness and Joy comes only when we move closer to the source of our life, our Creator who lovingly crafted us with His hands blew His spirit into us, whispered the Names in our ears and gently laid us down in this world “for a time”.
As we wander around seeking proximity to our Creator He assures us that He is closer than our jugular vein and yet we get sidetracked.
The logistics of living or the erroneous idea that “things” that are supposed to bring bodily comfort or drugs that bring mental oblivion, will bring us happiness and release us from the prison of pain is a trick of the distractors. This never really happens and many lose out before they even see the path of Joy leave alone tread it.
It is only when I try to focus on connecting with my Creator with His Names, conjuring His attributes from the far-flung places on the globe that I have been blessed to traverse, and recite His words like music that I feel the drawing to His proximity. It is then sometimes that happiness settles like a warm cloak on a freezing night around my shoulders or a deeply affectionate hug of someone who loves me and will protect me from all pain.
Once I leave the realm of His remembrance and His words, and hesitate on my upward climb in search of happiness, the joy that I had felt fades and I am back on the path of pain and attrition of patience and forbearance.
There are two types of knowledge that can open the door of happiness, one is the logistical knowledge of getting to know the attributes and Magnificence of my Creator which points me to His door beyond which lie the gardens of Happiness.
The second kind of knowledge is elusive and undefined but very individually specific. It is the specialized code for each person, as unique as his or her fingerprint, which is needed to open the door……….
This is where the rosary with His Names and attributes comes in for me. As the beads fall, sometimes it is like a strong wind that slaps me to the floor but at other times it opens the door long enough for me to feel the gentle breeze laden with His love and a glimpse of the Gardens of Happiness…
It has been seven years in search of happiness……………I have glimpsed the open door to the path of joy but never for long enough for me to tread it. Thus I remain a climber on the rock face of the mountain, still working towards the peak in search of Happiness.