Open Your Eyes
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2005-02-08 21:48:05 (UTC)


For many of us, when we find happiness, we are quick to
learn that in society there is a hierarchy of happiness, an
arbitrary order that places some forms of self-fulfillment
as being greater than others. Where the world calls one
kind of happiness "real" or "perfect" it calls
another "hollow" or "empty" as if to say that a person
riding high on one type of wave is not as truly happy as
the man standing next to him, riding a separate, but
higher, one.

One might even say that society uses this very hierarchy to
prevent people from doing what it considers wrong. It
places achievement ahead of drugs calling it more "real"
and it places love ahead of the Internet calling it
more "profound." Even though two people sitting in a room
might be just as happy and just as content with life, one
is somehow better off than the other; one is smiling
for "real" and "true" reasons even though the joy they feel
is just tangible and just as real to both of them.

As one of those people only satisfied by the "higher" forms
of happiness, I would like to believe in this hierarchy.
But even I have to wonder if perhaps I've been played as
the patsy. Perhaps, due to the way I was raised or due to
my own human nature, I am incapable of enjoying the most
easily traveled paths to happiness, perhaps I missed the
boat and I'm forever doomed to work twice as heard for the
same amount of joy as the person next to me.

Perhaps, but somehow I doubt it.

Because one thing that I've learned about happiness is that
like any other emotion it isn't permanent. At some point
it's going to leave, at some point you're going to feel
pain and at some point you're going to look back on those
better times, back when your life was good and you were at
peace with the world. When looking back on better times,
everyone hopes and prays that those days will return soon.
Some, those who earned their happiness and worked for it,
look back and smile, enjoying the memories of the times
gone by. No matter how much they long for those days,
they're comforted by the memories and cherish them like

But those who chose the easy way, look back on these
memories and cry. They cry because it becomes obvious what
addictions and egos are when it comes to happiness. They
are not hollow forms of the real thing, they are not less-
tangible or less-perfect stand-ins for true contentment,
but rather, they are deceptions. It's happiness that isn't
even there, just a means by which the mind tricks itself
into thinking otherwise and whenever the pill has worn off,
the lust-object is gone, the ego is smashed or whatever
mirage that was used is faded, the mind can see clearly
again and it sees the trickery for what it was, just a scam.

But the mind invariably wants more, more happiness, even if
it means trickery and deception. Denial is a powerful
force, but it's also easily shattered by the winds of
change and those seeking true fulfillment, those seeking a
more complete happiness, a more real feeling of
contentment, do not fear it, for it can not hurt them.
They'll at least have their memories to enjoy, unlike the
guy behind them in line.

So my friends, perhaps I am a dupe, perhaps I am the idiot
and perhaps I'm stuck doing things the hard way for all
eternity. But even though my victories may be smaller, even
though they may be fewer and even though they may be less
impressive, they will always be cherished. I'll look back
upon my life and see mountains and valleys, highs and lows,
good times and bad, but even though my life may be
checkered with dark times, at least I'll know none of my
good times were mirages.

Because when you remove the mirages from the easy path,
much like removing the white squares from a chessboard,
you're left with nothing but a sea of black staring at you,
an ocean of pain that can no longer be hidden and a life of
unfulfilled potential.

That is not the life I want to lead and I will not let
myself fall into it, no matter how easy the path may be…

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