Speed fragments life. The man who travels too quickly, plunges into a tail-spin and loses himself. Whoever says he must find himself has already detached himself. Such a person is a paradoxical being. The detachment from one’s SELF is the consequence of moving too rapidly. Men live their lives as though in a centrifuge and then look with incredulity at their unbalanced lives. There is no reason to pursue life. Where would that lead? Only away from yourself, and you have no desire to go there. Whoever wants to come to himself, must first pause.
The comical thing is, you have already arrived. What would you do if you were carefree and happy? You see, you do not have to lie in anticipation of yourself.
Whoever enjoys an equilibrium between himself and his surroundings, flies. Not as a bird or an airplane flies, that would be inelegant and loud, an object of ridicule. The objects surrounding us are not burdens which we must hold firmly in our hands and bear. That would be stupid of us since these things already have their own firm foundations. They are far more substantial than the blossoms upon which butterflies alight. We enjoy the color, the nectar, and the sky above. What do we care how the plants grow, whether this way or that?
Is life not a dance? Whoever cannot maintain his balance or is in too much of a hurry, falls on his face. Whoever holds fast doesn’t dance. Whoever can’t let go, doesn’t live. Others can lend their support but cannot hang on lest they never regain their momentum. One might call it living irresponsibly. One is not held accountable for anything directly, rather one is obliged to bend one’s back to shoulder the burden of others. Others take on heavy responsibilities for themselves and dump the rest on you.
One doesn’t construct equilibrium, one doesn’t plan it. It presents itself as soon as one allows things to take their own course. Birds fly in the wind, plants yield to its force and bend. Man feels the cold, curses, and dreams of warmer climes. The man who proceeds in such a manner is condemned to shiver in the cold, instead of letting himself drift, delighting in his own weightlessness.
Perhaps you have the impression, that there are too many incidents, that too much has happened. You can’t find your bearings, your world rushes by, nothing can be firmly held and controlled. When we try to pursue a thing, we accelerate and spin out of control. We lose our equilibrium and our center of gravity, just as a ship which steams along at too great a speed threatens to founder and sink. It is very easy to take measures against this. You need do absolutely nothing.
Life is ethereal and light. That which is ethereal and light cannot be held firmly and controlled.
That which is airy and light can hop hither and thither, it can fly and gain new perspectives of the world. This is a far better form of entertainment than clinging like bread dough to a pie tin, waiting to be shoved into the oven.
If we were all happy, then these words would be unnecessary. No one would have written them and no one would feel the need to read them. Instead, we would probably be sitting together enjoying one another’s company. Of course, along with happiness go the many perceptions regarding the manner in which it may be attained.
One of these presumptions is that a man can be made happy as a result of another’s actions. Whoever waits for this, will have to be well schooled in patience. Another view is that a state of unhappiness is perfectly normal. Only look at your fellow men and you will find confirmation of this. Still others say that happiness is ephemeral, that it is so fleeting one may doubt whether it exists at all. In addition, one encounters the belief that happiness lies hidden in material things such as books, the trappings of religions, philosophies, or world-views. It’s just as wrong to say that happiness is a grace which one either does or does not receive. Many people will tell you how to go about attaining happiness – by doing good deeds, thinking clean thoughts, dutifully practicing abstinence, and other such nonsense. Strangely enough, most of these views are held by people who are themselves unhappy. Heeding their advice would be like asking a cabinet-maker to sell you baked goods. Wherein does happiness lie? It is important to realize that happiness does not lie outside one’s self.
If this were so, then one could in fact attain it, find it in something, receive it as a gift, or procure it in some other way. Happiness is not a possession, but rather a condition – a condition for which you alone are responsible. You cannot share it, you cannot give it away, and neither can anyone else. You need do absolutely nothing. No method is required.
All running about and searching serve only to help one recognize this. This realization can be arrived at much more easily. Since, however, no one appears to know this, everything is in chaos. And yet, the earth continues to turn. You need simply turn with it.
Happiness cannot be attained through struggle. Struggle is always a means to an end, but happiness is already at hand. No one need do more than establish his own equilibrium, and nothing could be easier than this, for happiness is as light as a feather. Happiness is not a right. It is not something which is to be bestowed on one man and withheld from another, even if we might believe that every man is entitled to such an award. Happiness is not merely a reward for a job one has done and even less a product of circumstances. It is in you, in you alone, where you shall find it. Human growth is not dependent upon material riches beyond the bare necessities.
No matter how much money you earn, it will never be enough. Your wants and needs keep pace with your ability to pay for them. Hasn’t it always been this way in your life? No matter how much of something was at hand, it was never sufficient; each and every time you needed more. Where will that lead? When will it end?
You adapt to a life style of wealth and prosperity, and nothing more. You put off happiness and well-being for a later time and immerse yourself in obscure pleasures which you, out of blissful ignorance, mistake for happiness. Whatever it may be, this kind of amusement lasts but a few minutes or hours. Afterwards, you feel as empty as before and look around for some new diversion. You are in pursuit of yourself, for that which you pursue – happiness – is you.
Happiness, whether it is evoked by our surroundings or by other people, is a very fickle thing. Whoever follows this path can never stop, for as soon as one attains what one deems to be happiness, it disappears.
It is commonplace for people to view happiness as a commodity or as a form of spiritual nourishment, as something to obtain, to conquer, but not as something to be developed from one’s own personality. Happiness is non-transferable. You can cause happiness in others, but you cannot convey it to them. Happiness is a characteristic of modern man and it is present in all of us. You need do nothing more than realize this in order to bring it to fruition. You think to yourself, it can’t be that easy…
Whoever tells you that happiness is a grace and can only be attained through hardship and obedience knows nothing about it and only wants to hold you in his power. Such a person is not interested in your happiness. Unfortunately many of us do not trust our own judgment and suspect mean motives behind the friendly face of the person opposite them. This is hardly surprising in a world which worships actors. It is the masks and the make up which we admire, not that which lies behind them. We don’t want to know what lies behind the mask at all. We are afraid of what we might find. This is why we ourselves wear masks. We try to obtain happiness by behaving in exactly the same way that, we are told, happy people behave. In the process, we become the most base liars. Yet, none of us need behave in this way.
What if you were to suppose that you are already whole and complete? That you don’t have to look for anything special, strive to obtain anything, or wish for anything? Everything is already at hand, within you – happiness too, of course. If you think in this way, it may just happen, that you are your happiness. Now you may say, „How can I do that? I have obligations, it’s not easy…“ The thing that weighs so heavily on your shoulders is you. You press down on yourself and make yourself heavy. If something makes you unhappy, throw it away. Why keep it?
Life, for many people, doesn’t seem to hold much else. If happiness cannot be found in such things as work, hobbies, or money, then they look for it in relationships. Someone filled with happiness is supposed to come and pour out their happiness from their vast reserve of a heart. People consume one another like goods or commodities. When the happiness is used up, they fall to pieces. By requiring this kind of happiness, you put yourself under pressure, and create your own problem.
The whole world insists: One must become happy. Happiness alone is important. Is this really so?
This is nonsense, for happiness arises without encouragement, through living. And you are already doing this. If, despite this, you still wish to search for it, what will be the result? That would be like looking for a hat which you are already wearing on your head. This is senseless, is it not?
If you cannot be happy now, then you will never be, for no happiness is forthcoming. Everything that you need for your happiness is already at hand. Whatever does come to you and which you deem to be happiness is a base illusion, something which will soon fill your life with worries. What then are you lacking?
Discover happiness in yourself, not in material things. And when you sense it, let it loose. Give in to it, but undertake nothing. The art of being happy is not unlike swimming. One can move about in water once one has grown used to it. Inevitably however, one will drown if one grabs hold in a vain attempt to take possession of his surroundings. Whoever believes that one must maintain a firm grip on his happiness is in error. Happiness is something flowing; holding on to it only brings about its end. Looked at in this way, being happy is not a matter of minutes or hours, but something which is lifelong. That which you feel is the magic of your own movement.