My grandchildren, can you guess what almost every people in this world look for?
As if I’m making up this question. Since I refer to every human in this world. So the answer is more complex. Some work extremely hard. Some just sit idly while imagining things. Some do something that they do not actually enjoy. And there are still many other human activities and behavior as such. However, as far as I observe, what they look for is only one, “Happiness”!
Well, what’s funny, my grandchildren… is that most of them do not really understand that happiness itself! Think about it, isn’t it strange? They, those people, work, struggle, as if they are after something they do not really understand themselves?
I have asked some people about what happiness is. Their answers vary and some are unusual. But from those many answers, my conclusion is that it is ‘pleasure’ that makes them happy.
Some answered, “If I have this and that, I’ll be happy”.
The other answered,” If I’ve become this and that, I’ll be happy.”
“If I’ve been together with my crush, I’ll be happy.”
And so on, there are still many other unusual answers. If I categorize them, there are only two wishes of those people. First, they want to grasp and enjoy every kind of pleasure. And second, they strictly reject everything that makes them unhappy.
And even when some day they die, they still have these two wishes. When they die, they want to go to heaven and do not want to descend to hell. Why so, my grandchildren? Because they have heard a story. The same story that is already common and we are often heard of that in heaven, everything is fun and so full of joy. But in hell, everthing is so horrifying and tormenting. Can you see that the same pattern also applies even in the other world? That is we crave for everything pleasant and reject everything unpleasant.
Once more, I ask you to observe your environment together. We limit this observation to only pleasant and unpleasant events.
My grandchildren, if you always lust after happiness and reject unhappiness, then I can assure you will live in misery that is even difficult to help. Because in fact, my grandchildren, that happiness will always come side by side with unhappiness. Just like the two sides of a coin. One side is happiness and the other side is unhappiness. You’ll attain happiness after going through unhappiness. Or vice versa, that happiness will end in unhappiness.
Many people lament their own lives, as if they were the most miserable people in the world! At a glance, it may be true. But if you are more careful, it doesn’t look so. If you are even more careful, every people will go through these happy and unhappy moments. All day and every day. From the time we wake up until we go back to sleep, we will be washed over by a succession of these happy and sad feelings. Those feelings well up and then disappear. To make it clear, let’s read this short story of mine.
One morning, an alarm clock rang so loudly. Drowsily, a mother fumbled around the table for the source of the noise to turn it off. Slowly, she forced her eyes open wider. There was a feeling of laziness, as if she wanted to stay longer on her bed. Half complaining, her brain instantly presented her with a series of work. Starting from making breakfast, bathing her little kid, taking her older child to school, washing clothes and many more on the list that made her tired even before doing all those things. While walking sluggishly to the kitchen, she took an opportunity to peek into the bedroom next door. She looked at her two adorable children sleeping comfortably. She smiled gratefully. The image of her two sleeping children had worked its magic on her, as if she had drunk the most effective potion. Her legs and arms suddenly turned very fast. Her job was done in no time without her complaining.
When just half of her breakfast menu was done, her ears caught a crying sound form the kids’ bedroom. Because she couldn’t leave her cooking, she started to shout, “Honey…! Take our baby.” Because her husband still hadn’t waken up, while complaining, she strode into the kids’ room, took her little baby and brought her into her father, who wasn’t completely awake.
Annoyed, the mother put the baby on the father’s face in the hope he would wake up soon enough. Right after the baby was placed on the father’s face, she peed. The father cursed. The mother laughed her head off instead. Eventually, the father also laughed and kissed his baby. The three of them played around in the bedroom.
After an odor from the kitchen was smelled, the mother jumped and ran to the kitchen. A portion of her fried tofu had turned black. As a result, the breakfast menu was changed into scrambled eggs and crackers left from the night before. When she prepared school kits for her older child, her eyes stared at the hole on the back of her son bagpack. She whispered in her husband’s ears complaining, “When can we buy a new bag for Dodi?” The father looked down and answered, “Hopefully next month we have excess money, Honey. Now we can tape it up first.”
While shaking her head, the mother said softly, “Next month, don’t we need to visit grandpa?” While clutching both of his wife’s hands, the father said, “I’ll think about it.” Half startled, the two of them saw Dodi putting his books and school kits into a plastic bag. Slowly, he put the plastic bag containing his book into the torn bag. “Dad, can I have a roll of duct tape? If I tape it from the inside, the hole won’t be visible.” Moved, the father stood and gave him the duct tape, without a word.
Well, my grandchildren…. From just an excerpt of a story, you can count how many times the mother feels happy and sad.
If any of you think your life’s really dull, think again. Two things, happiness and unhappiness always come side by side. To earn a wage, one needs to work for one month full, obey the supervisor’s order. After working hard for a week, every labour earns their wages on Saturdays. Farmers have to work hard under the scorching sun for three months! Before harvesting the grain, Mr. Karjo has to work hard to pay for the installments of his motorbike after he can show off his new bike. Mothers can be proud of their children’s achievement but cry when their children do not listen to them. Fathers always worry about their daughters and take pride in their daughters-in-law.
When you have grasped this happiness and unhappiness, you need to start learning. What causes this happiness and what causes the unhappiness. Try to digest it slowly. Aren’t they connected to each other? The two can really become the cause as well as the effect, cannot it?
If you have been able to see that these two feelings are dependent on each other, that happiness or unhappiness can come as both the cause and the effect, then you have been able to see one of the aspects of this life, accepting this life as it is.
So, once more, if there is anyone who wishes for a happy life and does not want to accept an unhappy life, then you can call these people confused people. Because their wishes will never come true.
My grandchildren, this simple perspective can make you wiser. You do not complain much anymore. Because being happy and unhappy is not an extraordinary thing. Happiness and unhappiness are just ordinary feelings that always surface, again and again. And when you can see that joy appears again and again in a day, then you can enjoy it as happiness. Because at the same time, images of misery that often bother many peope are not true. Happiness always comes by its side, doesn’t it?
My grandchildren, from my explanation before you can have new prespective that makes you wiser. You will be more careful about how you spend the money you earn from your hard work. Even when you work, you will not be lazy. Because at the end of your hard work, you will reap what you sow. It’s the same when sadness washes you over, you won’t be engulfed in the sadness for too long. On the contrary, when you are enjoying your happiness, you will not lose control.
My grandchildren, if you are serious with your observation in a certain time, at the next level, Grandpa will show you that there are so many drawbacks from this kind of happiness. This joy will always trail after your mind. As your mind keeps developing without limit, this joy will keep developing as well. You can enjoy the satisfaction only for a moment. When you have attained one happiness, and you are used to live in that happiness, gradually you will feel nothing special with that happiness. Then another happiness appears. That is how you will always be thirsty for happiness, forever.
And when you pursue and wish for these new forms of happiness. Before you reach it, you will feel you are unfortunate. If you cannot reach those new forms of happiness after a relatively long time, the feeling of annoyance will engulf you. And you will become short-tempered.
My grandchildren, those who have really perceived joy and grief just like that, they will say that it is not happiness.
Do you want to go on an adventure with me searching for another kind of happiness?