Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happiness Is the Way

This morning, I woke in a strange room to the sound of the train whistle and felt instantly home. Stepped out onto a deck and smelled a beckoning Eastern Fall. Drove to a windowless room in an elementary school near Pitttsburgh and began the journey towards the miraculous, the ordinary acts of playing with others turn extraordinary through the little moments of beauty breaking through the protective armor we habitually construct.

Spoke some words tuned to truth, with humor and profound seriousness. And then the music, the carefully plotted succession of tones and looping rhythms hitting that life-giving groove that just won’t quit. “Hi-o Silver and Away!” to the airport and walking through the terminal, I felt my body blazing brightly with a happiness that has no cause, no repeatable steps to insure its return, simply the glow of grace descending.

Even in the midst of such blessing, the analytic brain is hard at work—“Where did this come from? How can I hold on to? What steps can I take to bring it back?” Blake warned about this.

“He who binds himself to a joy, does the winged life destroy.”

And then a recommendation:

“But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

Pure Buddhism, the idea/ideal of non-attachment, of accepting what comes and flowing with it. A little gratitude is always appropriate, but not too much— just too much ego in “Thanks to (pick your Deity/ spiritual force here) for favoring me with a moment of happiness,” as if such powers have nothing better to do with their day than check in on me. I don’t think they care in a personal way and the natural world that uplifts me also wouldn’t think twice about killing me. But perhaps there are some lesser angels at work, some inner or outer guiding force that is constantly sending me signals to follow this and not that. And perhaps they are pleased when I have the good sense to pay attention.

“There is no way to Happiness. Happiness is the way” says the cover of my journal that I still write in by hand. In the rare moments when such a sense of rightness descends, it indeed feels that this is the way we are meant to be. And my first impulse after gratitude is to find a way to note it and share it. Happiness is fleeting and can’t be wholly caught in a net of words or a mix of musical tones, but when it comes, it feels good to tell the world in one form or another. And so this little attempt as they call my flight at Gate 53 in the Pittsburgh Airport.


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