We try to alleviate, cure or flee. We are so creative. In moments of suppressed pain (it can’t really be called happiness) we feel alive and hope it will last forever. It never does, and we know it won’t. So we keep running. We learn to distrust happiness.
There are endless stories in our lives of betrayal, fear, longing, grieving or just bottomless, nameless pain. We are entangled, bound by hands and feet. We fight. We get more entangled.
We think we are alone in feeling pain so we think we need to hide it. Sometimes it seems it’s forever lodged in the pit of our stomachs, in our hearts. We look at others who seem to have it so together. We see snippets of joy here and there and we want it, too. Why is there a painful tone in us, in us alone?
We then try to tell ourselves that we are not that bad after all. There are many who aren’t as ______ (fill in the blank) as us. We try to convince ourselves by convincing others. We lie. We hide. We cheat. We never take the time to listens to ourselves, to what we really want, to what we really feel.
Then happiness becomes hollow, not as we hoped and we don’t believe in it anymore. We decide it’s fake. The darker notes just seem more true, more honest. After all, the pain lasted, the happiness did not.
Why is it that we never question the truth of misery but so often question joy?
And even if we question joy we still run after it. Or we just decide to embrace darkness because that we know we can trust. Joy is too elusive. Maybe we question joy because we’ve seen others lie so much – or because we know we lie ourselves.
What happens with us when we can’t reach our own projected happiness? When the image of who we are just doesn’t match who we really are, inside? We have this delusional idea that happiness has to be so grand, that we have to become famous or rich or at least something that others can admire. Because being happy in our own eyes just isn’t enough. We want outside validation. Others have to think we are happy, otherwise we don’t trust.
We are on the look out for methods to reach happiness, forever on the run to the next relationship, the next big thing, the next experience, the next, the next, the next. Because if we stop…
What would happen if we stopped? What would happen? You won’t know until you try.
This is how pain can be a door to joy. The value of pain is that it can lead to joy. Pain is a part of you that is calling: wake up, wake up! Look beyond your pain. It has a message. Joy exists always. Pain binds. Joy frees.
Put a little doubt in your suffering if you are often overwhelmed by it. Don't get caught in the endless stories, stop repeating them. If you are overwhelmed, don’t take it so seriously. Don’t try to control it by trying to understand it. Ask what it wants to tell you. Listen. Accept its answer, any answer. Silence can be an answer, too. Then listen to that silence and follow it. Silence might actually be the best answer. Then we know it's not an answer from our mind.
Accept that you don’t know your path. On the deepest level you don’t. If you think you know your path it’s only intellectual. Accept that you are clueless. We all are. Live. Trust. Love. Do what you think is right but always know that you don't know. That is coming very close to the simple mystery of joy.