318. The Quest for Happiness

The small boy wishes he would be grown up already; he wishes he would be allowed to stay up longer than 8pm; when he is allowed to stay up until 9pm, he complains that he can't stay up until 10; as he is entering puberty, he wishes to find a girl friend; once he has one, he wishes to move out from the parent's house; once he moved out, his girlfriend wants to get married and have a child;  to do that he better gets a decently paid job; once he has that and got married and has a child, he then wants another child; to fit the family, he needs a bigger car; then, long overdue, its time to buy a house; having a house, it soon becomes too small; after moving into the larger house, his wife starts looking old to him and he starts dreaming of a younger lover; having that, he realizes he's getting out of shape or all this and starts jogging in the morning for one hour; just in his forties, he is prone to his first heart attack; and, on top of that, he starts getting depressed because he starts realizing that his lifespan goes towards its end.

Fortunately, nowadays, thanks to the tremendous progress in science and technology, he doesn't need to dream for himself anymore: he can watch the dreams of others on TV and indulge in the display of soapy love, murder and rape - it's all just actors acting, isn't it? - he can forget his own dreams which spares him the disappointment when he doesn't fulfill them, isn't that great !?!

But then, every once a while, not too often, someone stops in his tracks, and starts having this strange idea of thinking about what he's thinking.

And when he does that and if he trusts himself enough to not join the next sect he comes across, he may look at what he really wants. And he may realize that he was chasing the dreams that others told him to dream; he may realize that he is dreaming a dream while he is dreaming a dream when he was already dreaming a dream in the middle of a dream.

He may look around what others dream they're dreaming. Finding out that he is not the only one who looks for a way to wake up; wondering about what others do to find out what happiness 'is'. Because, by now, he realized that he was always so busy that he had never time to think about what he _really_ wants.

Doing all this, he has become a prime target of the recruiters of the cults and sects that hover over the unsuspecting souls; like sharks smelling blood many, many miles away, they will zoom in on anyone who dares to start to wonder, whereever they may be.

If he's not too frightened yet, he may trust himself to not throw his life away by merging his soul with the desperate zealots of founders, avatars, fathers, gurus, and babbas; and, finally, he may ask himself: 

"What do I like and what is it that makes me like
what I like? And what do I not like and why do I not
I like what I don't like? And what is it that I don't
care about and why do I not care for what I don't care?"

And while he is doing that, it may occur to him that everything he observes has a beginning, that it never stays the same, and it finally ends.

The more he is looking, the more he sees that his mind and emotions are in a million pieces.

Let's say he doesn't get overwhelmed yet and starts cleaning up his act, one little piece at a time, trying to get 'whole' again in an un-wholesome world.

Then, at some point, he may remember that he is the dreamer and this is the dream.

When he remembers that, he finds himself untouched by the world, whole, in a peace that cannot be possibly threatened.

But then he may look around; looking if he is not alone; it is then that he sees how people chase dreams that are not their own; if he tells them what he sees, he's lucky if he doesn't get hit by a stone or a bullet.

Whereever he looks, from the billions of men, he has trouble finding the ones who are on the quest for happiness, too, just like him. Whereever he looks, he sees people hoping for happiness, for peace - without ever asking what this could be in the first place.

Now, by this time, if he still didn't succumb to the lullabies of faith and belief and of the higher wisdom of the Gods, Angels, and Prophets who never happen to show up, he may get these bold thoughts: 

 "Perhaps it is myself who created all this?
Perhaps it is myself who causes my misery?
Perhaps it is only myself who can save me in the end?"

And if he didn't get killed by the clergy already, he may speak up now and experience some pain.

But if he's really smart, he shuts up and goes home.

Copyleft © 1998 by Maximilian J. Sandor, Ph.D