Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cracking Happiness

I recall someone once drawing an analogy between writing a paper for a grade and cracking a combination lock. It's apt for so many quests: money, affection, understanding, music, health, goodwill. Perhaps happiness itself. I turn a lot of knobs. I hear a lot of clicks. Being close feels about the same as being far — qualitatively separate from being there. Winning buys a little time, and rehearses for the next gig. Among my cringe-worthy idioms is "having a life" but I guess it conjures the set of knobs I am currently working. Some pithy wisecrack belongs here to distinguish this from pathetic whining, but I'm still working that knob too. I'll let you know when something clicks.

9 comments:

Gwen said...

It sounds dirty to tell you to keep cranking your knob until you find happines, but I just did it, didn't I?

Bob Stein said...

Haahaa, well yes and I cracked that lock when I was about twelve.

Will said...

Happiness is something I've been working through over the last couple of months. One of the biggest impact in my happiness is realizing that most things are pretty inconsequential. My theory is we often get so worked up over stupid things that just don't matter, trying to add meaning to our lives. If we step back and realize how unimportant most of it is, we can focus on the things that actually do make us happy. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Fancy Schmancy said...

When you crack the code to "having a life", please let me know.

Bob Stein said...

Agreed, well said, Will. I observe worries in my past have been wrong or useless. But the fresh ones always seem so full of promise, so I don't learn.

Fancy, let me get back to you in about three hundred years. I should be really good at it by then.

Mona said...

happiness is not something that you should be seeking from outside. It wells up from within. Apparently, what comes from outside is just an illusion, or at best, a consolation.

Bob Stein said...

Mona, I love what you say here. The inner combination lock is much more vast and complex and interesting than the outer universe. And at least for those of us who don't have valid concerns about starvation or predation constantly, it is the more important one.

Thank you yet again for reaching out from your inner reality, across the illusions of nations and blogs, to my inner reality. It is always a joyful "consolation" to see your name.

Brooke said...

This post is wonderful. What is it about happiness that is just so challenging??? When you actually experience it, it feels so incredibly simple. But then it sort of slips away again in its slippery, ephemeral state. It is certainly not a constant. I guess that is ultimately for the best. If we were happy all the time, and we knew the absolute secret to attaining happiness in such a way as to make it constant, then life would lose its challenge, its edge, its things that make it interesting. Sure, I could be happy all the time if my life consisted of meditating on a beautiful mountaintop somewhere....but really, who has time to do that??? What I am learning to do now is to not ride my own emotional roller coaster. To just let the crazed emotions pass without absorbing them, and to not take on the BS of other people (no matter how persuasive they may be). And y'know what? It's hard, but it seems to be working!

Sue said...

I know this is an old post but I found it interesting. I was only looking at the hex colour codes, then clicked the blog at the bottom of the page. Happiness for me is being with my little girl and not having to work for someone else, I will be even happier if I make my fortune but can't see that happening somehow! :)