|Is Everybody Happy?
|The year 1935, America was recovering from the throes of the Great Depression that had decimated the country. Leaving in its' wake; shattered dreams and hopes, along with many lives. The land of the plenty had been staggered and floored, but it picked itself up, dusted itself off and got back in the race. Rolled up it's sleeves and put its' shoulder to the proverbial wheel once more. "Down but not out" was the shout and the holler throughout the land. A day never to be forgotten; during that same year was on August the twenty eighth, the day of my eighth birthday. I remember on the evening of that day accompanying my Mother and her new husband to a Movie theater located on the Circle called the "Lyric" theater in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
In the "Thirties", there were a number of theaters, booking a wide assortment of stage entertainment which included many Vaudevillian acts; known Dance Bands of the late "Twenties and Thirties, Dance reviews, a few Musicals and of course a little Burlesque thrown in. All which helped heal the wounded American psyche during the aftermath of the financial disaster that had left its' mark on the American society.
On this special night of special nights, we attended the theater which was part of the Keith Circuit. The marquee outside read; "My Little Chick-a-dee" starring "W.C.Fields and Mae West", the "Blonde Bombshell". With a Stage Presentation to follow the Movie, the renowned Dance Band of "Ted Lewis". Along with a few additional acts; a Comedian, Acrobatic jugglers and a Dance review.
After the Movie had finished there was a brief intermission before the beginning of the Stage Presentation. The Curtain bell finally rang and the ticket holders hurried back to their seats. The house lights dimmed and the spotlights turned center stage. As the curtains parted; the Ted Lewis band played their theme song; When My Baby Smiles At Me. The leader of the band, Mr.Ted Lewis, with his battered top-hat in one hand and his licorice stick (a clarinet, to the uninitiated) in the other hand, stepped in front of his band and shouted, "Is Everybody Happy?" The crowd replied as though they were in Church with a faint questionable "Yes". Mr. Lewis once again shouted; "Is Everybody.." and before the word "happy" could clear his lips, I leaped to my feet and shouted at the top of my voice; "Yes."(as Mother tried to dissolved into her seat.)
Mr. Lewis laughed and said; "At least somebody is excited about being happy. Will someone please escort that young man up to the stage." When I reached the stage, Mr. Lewis extended his hand, as the spotlights danced around about me. And Mr. Lewis asked, "And what is your name young man? And could you tell us, why, you are so happy?" After giving my name, I said, "Mr. Lewis, it is my eighth birthday."The Band struck up Happy Birthday, and they and the crowd sang.
As I returned to my seat, the spotlight followed me as the crowd clapped. I was on cloud nine or possibly ten. Once again Mr. Lewis' words resounded; "Is Everybody Happy?" In unison; the entire audience shouted a convincing "yes!" By this time my parents had resumed an upright position in their seats. What a night what a Birthday present! I was sure there wasn't a happier boy in all of Indiana that night.
Which brings us to ask; What is this thing called "happiness?" Why is it that so many are not happy? Why is it that happiness is so fleeting, so temporary for some? Happiness, where does it come from? The answer to Mr. Lewis' perennial stage question, "Is everybody happy?" seems to attract more "nays."than "yays", and we ask, why?
What kind of Happiness are we talking about, anyway?
Well, we are not talking about a grin from ear to ear. Or a an accredited "Dale Carnege" type smile, as practiced by "Smiling Jack "the friendly used car salesman. Or the frozen smile of a Miss Universe contestant. Nor the obsequious pontifical smile that pretends to be "the milk of human kindness." Or a look-alike Mother Teresa's smile without the inner light. All the above are a far cry from this thing called "happiness".
The happiness we are proposing is an attempt to address the problem of consistency and permanence as it is related to happiness. To correct the Yo-Yo syndrome which happiness swings into.
If what follows seems at times to be circuitous and repetitive; the ploy is intentional. To begin with, everyone has the potential and the capabilities to become, to be this which we call happiness. We are going to explore a process over and against a backdrop that relies upon an individuals' conscious decision and conscious effort. A commitment which asks of the participant to maintain an intense intentional disciplined mind, body and spirit. A resolute determination that allows and empowers both the choice and the effort. Plus, the needed expertise of discrimination that is vigilant in choosing between, the lesser and the greater, between the good, the better and the more excellent. Which life is offering up on a moment by moment basis.
In previous writings and conversations, we have said in effect; that happiness is not an end, in and of itself. If one chooses to run after this elusive gift, to seek after, they will never find it. Happiness has that strange affinity to find us. It is in a way a by-product which rises up like a Phoenix out of the intangibles of life. One might say that happiness is an outgrowth of ones' self-knowledge, self-understanding along with an awareness; that everything created comes from the Womb of Creation. Happiness also comes out of the continuous feedings of Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love. And the many other meta-values and priorities. And that, whatever is contrary and counter-productive to these hgher qualities of living negates "Happiness".
All negation and negativity is due in part, as to how far we have distanced ourselves from who and what we were created to be, i.e., our very Being, our Ultimate Nature. The further away we are from that which we were created to be. The further away we are from our Source, the ALL IN ALL. And the Eternal Womb, out of which we were given the Breath of life. It is this very distance which precludes and lessens our chances for fulfillment and happiness.
We move away or move towards, in and through, what we think or do not think. What we do or what we do not do. The contents of our daily thoughts and deeds are essential to our well-being. As is our seeing, hearing, sensing and the feeling of reality as it is. The call has always been to awaken, to see, to hear, to be aware and alive as to what is going on, inside and out.
This separation from, need not exist if we are aware, consciously aware and alive to the moments of life. Many have a shovel and hammer in hand, as they dig their own graves and build their own coffins. Life is for the living. "Let the dead bury the dead."
To span the divide so we might return back, it is necessary that we remove the scales from our eyes and the wax from our ears, as we shake ourselves awake. So we can see, can hear, can be aware and alive to all the gifts and graces we have been given.
One day during my walk of the Fifty-States of America. I entered Yellowstone National Park located in Bozeman, Montana. After quenching my thirst, I visited the Park Ranger Station to get a Wilderness Camping Permit which allows one to camp in a special designated location far beyond the lower public camping areas and the more traveled hiking trails. Each camping site in this special area is a quarter a mile apart. Allowing greater privacy and solitude. The Wilderness Permit that I acquired placed my campsite seven miles up towards the timberline, besides a beautiful idyllic lake that had upside down mirrored trees lining its' shores. Plus a flock of Mallard ducks and the gathering of Elk as they quenched their thirst.
It was on the second day when I had decided to explore the area. Just as I was about to leave, a sound ripped through the forest, attacking and shredding every vestige of silence with the rapidity of a hundred chain-saws. I moved towards the onslaught as the piercing wail grew louder with each step I took. Point of interception was just around the approaching corner of a stand of Birch trees. We were close, the sound and I. And there just down the narrow path, walking towards me, was a machine supported by two arms and two legs. I was in hope that the bearer of the squawking machine spoke English. And that he had a bit of hearing left, in at least one of his ears if that was at all possible. The sound was still bludgeoning the air with a volume that would have made Thor, the god of Thunder sound like a surrogate. All of nature was in a state of shock. The silence and the tranquillity that had existed when I had opened my eyes that morning and said; "Good morning, World!" had ran away and hid. I could picture all the creatures big and small, scurrying for safety amid the crashing clamor, as if the "hounds of hell" were snipping at their flanks.
The young bearer of the "boom box" was completely obvious to "all and everything" in sight and sound. Except for that which was exploding the ear drums (mine, seemly not his). Although I had already concluded that I was about to deal with someone who was stone deaf. And if he wasn't by now, he would certainly be in need of a faith healer in not the too distant future.
I began with my best imitation of a frantic flag-man trying to stop a run-away freight train. He stopped but the music didn't. We stood there locked in a sound warp. The World momentarily disappeared behind the wall of sound. I am sure out of sheer fright. It appeared as though he was trying to read my lips. I gave him the old radio sign (for cut) "cool it". Afterwards I thought, he probably thought I might be trying to tell him I was about to commit suicide. If the sound had continued much longer, I might have considered it.
He reduced the sound level of the thunder maker to just below the ground noise of a Boeing 747. And with what seemed to be a great effort of thought, words came forth; "Yeah, what seems to be your problem man?" "Problem", I said; "I don't have a problem. But I believe you and I are about have a problem as I shouted above the "boom!, boom!" I just thought, possibly you might consider refrigerating, cooling it for awhile. And shut down your "sound studio". Because I just saw a squirrel and two chipmunks running for cover with cotton stuck in their ears. Plus, the female Elks can't hear the male Elks calling them. I thought that someone who likes music wouldn't want to spoil a little love-making. And besides, if you don't decide to turn that mega-monster off, you will be wearing it around your neck as a relic. Am I getting through to you?"
The young man stared at me, as though I had dropped down from a distant planet. And then his eyes saw the bull-whip and the large Bowie knife hanging from my belt. The Music stopped and we keep on dancing. No, that is not what happened... What happened was; once the music stopped, the silence became deafening. Or maybe the air was just gasping, trying to catch its' breath. Or maybe I was starting to go deaf. And then I heard the stammering words of the young man say; "I didn't realize the music was so loud." (if it had been any louder, the mountains would have crumbled and the falls would not have fallen, anymore) It was at this point he confirmed my earlier suspicion, his ear canals had melted.
I thanked him for shutting down the sound factory. He turned and disappeared down the mountainside. I drew a sigh of relief and wondered when the woodland inhabitants would come out of hiding, and the ground would stop its' shake, rattle and roll.
In walking the world, visiting the sights and sounds of the world's remaining listed wonders. The Art Museums, the Architectural Monuments, all the must see things that grace the tourist folders and posters. And in hearing the collective Oohs! and Aah,s and all the other descriptive superlatives. I have often thought, why is it that we reserve our "wow's" and exclamation sounds just for the tourists' Mecca's of the World, when there are so many wonderment's and beauty to our left and on our right. And in front of our steps throughout life. There are a thousand and one things, we take so much for granted each and everyday.
Have you ever wondered? How many people who awaken each and every morning breathing, just breathing ever take the time during the day to give thanks for the gift of breath. Or upon opening their eyes at the start of each day whether they are ever grateful for the gift of seeing? Or upon hearing someone speak; are they appreciative for the gift of hearing? Do they ever, ever think on these things?
What keeps us from seeing, from being aware of the breathings of life, Our we thankful for the very essence of each moment. Of all the multiplicities of life. Of the many blessings whether of the sky or the earth? Of the days and nights? Above or below, the within and the without? Why is it so hard for us to give thanks?
We see, when we do not see. We hear, when we do not hear. Because of our insistence, our belief and certainty, that we are awake. But with all due respect many are asleep while appearing to be awake and saying they are awake. In a way it is similar to when one says; he or she is fine, that there is nothing wrong, they feel quite well. When it is evident, plain to see that everything is not all right. That there is something wrong and that by all appearances, they are not well. It is rare that we see things as they really are, their such-ness, their is-ness. Our moments of lucid awareness are fleeting, momentary glimpses, quick insights of the possible potentialities.
One of the reasons for our flawed perceptions is due to the fact that we allow our biases, prejudices, needs, wants, fantasies, defenses and faulty sensory perceptions to exclude the reality of the in-coming data needed to structure Reality as it is. Not as we wish it to be...
A loaf of bread looks different, when one is hungry. This is why, one spends less in the grocery store when they shop on a full stomach. Unless one is an incurable impulse buyer.
But not only is our awareness sadly affected by our closing off the outside input through our predisposition's and filtering systems. Our awareness is also stunted and diminished because of our auto-matizing and the rubricizing of life. Along with our insatiable need to classify, catalogue and categorize everything and anything. Whether we are correct in our presuppositions or our assumptions, or not. We are also incurable organizers. If reality was re-presented by single pieces of a jig-saw puzzle.There would be those who would organize a committee, to shave the edges of the pieces. To make them fit their believed reality even if they were incorrect.
In past writings , we have referred to the many rooms which we can walk in and out of, once we have the keys to the doors and step inside.We have also mentioned that special room that allows one entrance into the Infinity Room with its' awareness window that opens out onto the Realities of the World, the Universe, the Cosmos and even beyond the beyond.
As we find ourselves in the midst of all there is, we have a chance, the opportunity to see within the thus-ness and the synchronization of "all and everything".A connective-ness, a unitive paradigm wherein, all parts becoming the whole. Reminding us of our own affinity and beginnings; when we were One with "all and everything" and One with The Ineffable, The Indescribable, The Unutterable.
It is in this knowing, this Image we hold within, which demands us to be more aware, more alive. More knowledgeable and understanding. To re-define, to re-posture and maximize who we really are. This Image, this I am-ness calls us into becoming and being that which we were created to be and which we are. The expressed Image of the All in All, the IMAGE of all images.
As we re-define, re-posture and maximize ourselves, we need to walk the revealed realities. To daily make them a part of us, our own flesh and blood. So that one might restore their former "Self" and live a balanced, harmonious life. That abundant life which is our heritage, our birthright.
Several paragraphs back, we said that we "structure our own realities, about all and everything." And in doing so; we tailor, mold and shape it, making reality in our own image to suit us. Out of our own imperfections, weaknesses and our lack of awareness. And because of this faulty structuring, the World, the people and the things of the world, are misrepresented. We see and hear what we want to see and hear. Our sight is out of focus and our hearing is suspect. Seldom will we admit that we need a general overhaul, some new designing and re-tooling. A need for a new programmer to delete some of the old programming. Updating our attitudes, our posturing and all our negativity. And do something about our "windows of perception." Our old windows are inadequate for seeing Reality as it is.
It is not only sad but a bit puzzling that so many believe, see or feel that the World is not to great a place to live in. They are like those who when given a glass of water that is only half full, say it is half empty instead of saying it is half full.They are the very same people when given an apple; look to see if there is a worm inside. They are the very same people who open a gift horse's mouth and count it's teeth?
A few years back there was a very famous cartoonist, who has since died, by the name of Al Capp. Who at that time had a Syndicated Cartoon-Strip called L'il Abner. One of the regulars that appeared in the strip was called "Joe Gloom". As Joe walked through the story line, there was always a little white cloud perched over his head. A little white cloud that cried. And whereever "Joe Gloom" went, the cloud was sure to follow. And you could bet the farm that rain always followed the little white cloud.
I have lost count in my lifetime of all the many "Joe and Joan Glooms" I have met along the way both the young and the old alike. The "Glooms" of this world have a favorite pastime. They just love to cloud up and rain all over your parade. Or anyone else's, if given half a chance. They just can't wait to share their "doom and gloom" philosophy about the world, the people and the things of this world. Like "Henny Penny", the sky is always falling. Nothing is ever right, well, seldom right. And please do not ask them how they feel. You will wish you hadn't. They have a litany of "woes and ills" that would make a wooden Indian say "Ugh."
It is downright shame, some do say; that so many people prefer to walk down the streets of life among the shadows. Instead of walking on the sunny side of the street, like the song goes;
"Grab your coat and get your hat.
It is just as easy if not easier, to look for the silver lining. The more positive instead of the negative. The best things in life, instead of the dark side of life. You know what they say; "the best things in life are free.
Besides the words of the song just mentioned, there were two other songs that were favorite requests from the audience in the late forties, when I would ask for requests. And I have always believed that the reason for their popularity was that intuitively, we believe if we don't ignore it. That the positive approach to life is far better than the "doom and gloom" scenario. One of the songs was entitled; You've Got To Accentuate the Positive
You've got to accentuate the positive.
And the second, highly requested song was; The Best Things in Life Are Free
The moon, belongs to everyone.
The flowers in spring,
And love can come to everyone,
It is important, no, it is imperative for us to learn how to become aware, be aware. Become alive, be alive. Become thankful, be thankful. With each breath we breathe from now to the grave.
To be aware, alive and thankful for the world; with all its' many contrasts, all its' gifts and graces, all the impressions and expressions. Its' "all and everything "for us to daily embrace and enter into communion with. What a joy! What a living joy!
Every expression, every impression we receive through our sensory centers are just waiting to teach us about life and all its' wonderment's. If we have the eyes and ears to see and hear. And the mind to think and the discrimination for the choosing between the lesser and the greater. And the e-motion, the energy to feel, to sense, to be aware of "all and everything" which carries the imprint, the reflection, the Will of the Image the All in All... If we will but open ourselves up and embrace this Presence that is in "all and everything", take it into ourselves and let it feed us, sustain us, become us and be us. We will be as one, with the One. The WILL of Wills.
We have been given everything we need to unlock the unknown and the invisisble mysteries of all there is or will be. So that we might find out who and what we are. And because this is so; our first order of business is one of thanksgiving, an attitude of gratitude for the many things we share in. A daily appreciation for those things that are unseen, beyond our normal perception. Those subtle fields of quarks, black holes, sun spots and bursts. All the gravitational pulls of the orbital paths and there sling shot passing. And those invisible warps of wave lengths and high frequency vibrations. All which are part and parcel for the overall design and system of the Universe and beyond. There is no doubt that there are far more things unseen than seen. The invisible far out weighs the visible.
This Breath of Love
This Unconditional Love, out of which all the existing abundance has come is never taken away. "Never," you say. How about that last breath? No, not even then, this Breath of Life, holds and sustains, above and below, never letting go. And this Love, is non-negotiable, it knows only to give, forever giving. It gives because it must give, this is the nature of Love with a capital "L", whether Divine or human. Love wants only the most excellent for the lover. This love asks, only asks; what is the most loving thing I can do for the loved one.
And across time comes the answer:
'Always give that which is the more excellent of yourself to another'. The key words; yourself and the more excellent. Which requires, if one wants to be the channel of the giving of love. To become and be love. So as to mirror the more excellent eternal values, or as some say, the meta-values; Truth, Goodness, Beauty and Love, to mention only a few. So that the lover can give to his or her loved one that which they have become The reflection of the more excellent. In this way the lover can help in the empowering of another. So that they might have the possibility to become and be; Who and what, they were intended, created to be. That which they have always been but have forgotten.
You probably thought, we wandered off and forgot all about this thing called "Happiness". No!, No! All that has been said, in my repetitive way up to this point has been related and is essential if we are to become and be 'happy'. Happiness is a by-product of how we view ourselves and others. How we perceive life and the World in general, to be. How we structure our realities. How we are in the World but not of it. How we become and be the best we can become and be. How we incarnate the Higher Values, those Qualities that are the best of us. How we become and be all these things; in thought, word and deed.
All the rhetoric, all the words, all the reactions and actions become a back-drop for the weaving of this tapestry of Happiness. Happiness rises up out of many, many things we say, we experience. In a way it is out of the serendipity of just living, really living in that ever present energy flow. It comes out of all the impressions and expressions that life offers up to us on a daily basis. Out of everything we embrace and that which embraces us. It is an outgrowth of all the teachings, wisdom, disciplines, etc., known and unknown.
Happiness comes out of a holistic approach: the fusing of our mind, body and our spiritual dimensions. It could be said that happiness reaches its' peak as each individual becomes aware of their I-ness and the Thus-ness of "all and everything" As one partakes of the essence of each reality he or she embraces. As one stands in awe and wonderment of all of Creation. While realizing at the same time; that everything that is needed for our own welfare and the welfare of the world has been given, above and below. And on seeing this, we allow our spirit to unite and flow with the Creative Spirit. Out of this awareness will come a perpetual flow of thanksgiving.
It is during this flow of awareness and thanksgiving that we realize happiness. A happiness that walks hand in hand with awareness and alive-ness and is joined by thanksgiving. And it is all for one and one for all. Each empowering, nurturing and energizing one another. And in this process of becoming and being, we become aware of the unitive supportive system of all of Creation. And as we have always suspected, we are family.
In due time we come to that knowing, that all things work in unison, that everything is connected. That balance and harmony is the daily order, forever and ever. All things work for, not against each other. And that every dot and tittle are part of this connective-ness, no one or no thing is left out of the schema, this unitive paradigm. Whether we are talking about the hierarchical order of the developmental process, or the evolution of the higher cosmic levels of consciousness. Or the cycles of Creation; birth, death and rebirth. Or the birthing, crawling, walking and the running of the good race. As is found in the many methodologies, disciplines, philosophies, religions and the esoteric psychology's which attempt to spell out Reality. All are part of the Whole, the Holy (The Holy of Holies).
For anyone who is a serious seeker after; words are at best a crutch. They fall short of the mark, they ring with doubt and uncertainty, echoing the disparities of interpretation, evaluation and of value given to them. They blind, bind and imprison the spirit of humankind. They pretend to be the messengers, the saviors of the day. It is critical that we are aware of the weakness of our various consensual languages. And that interpretation needs to be replaced by the incarnation of the intent of such words as; Truth, Goodness, Beauty and Love. These words and others of their kind need to become and be our flesh and blood. If this elusive butterfly called "Happiness" is to be ours on a permanent basis, we need to lay the foundation blocks so "Happiness"can be with us daily. Not just a now and then acquaintance.
The gifts of Nature, from the blade of grass to the starry nights. From a sip of water to the shinning seas. From the Breath we breathe to the breath of "all and everything" by the Breath of "All and Everything." As the song goes: "There yours there mine." All the Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love is out there for the experience of becoming and being them. The choice is yours, it is mine. Are we going to fish or cut bait?
The process we have been speaking about needs to have a conscious decision and effort on our part. A decision to travel a path that is for the most part infrequently traveled. A decision to seek after that "pearl of great price." What "pearl of great price"? It has been called by many names but defined by none. Only in becoming the definition, can it be defined. And this process of becoming passes through self-knowledge, self-understanding and into Being, all there is to be. Followed by a doing of the more excellent.
As we develop and experience the many paradigms and become them, there comes a different mode of seeing, hearing, feeling and sensing. An understanding blossoms, bringing awareness, alive-ness and thanksgiving. And the above triad energizes and engenders each other bringing new nuances of en-light-ment. Out from the wings of the stages of life comes; well-being, harmony and balance which spells ...... You guessed it, 'Happiness'.
A high energy of happiness bursts upon the scene and stands center-stage. Surrounded by a great supportive cast. Without which happiness can never reach its' full stature and a place among the pantheon of the stellar virtues of life. Of all virtues, happiness is a product of its' connective-ness with the thus-ness of all the supportive values of the becoming and being meta-morphous.
Let's bring together the essence of this thing called happiness with a few closing affirmations. Much of what we take to be happiness is but a shadow that vanishes, as the dawn of reality streams through the windows of our self-knowledge, self-understanding and Being. The pursuit of happiness is reminiscent of watching a small child's' attempt to catch a butterfly in flight. Happiness is not a dangling appendage, a part or a piece of, nor something one possesses or collects, as one collects things and bobbles to display now and then. Rather, happiness is an outgrowth of ones' Being, of being aware and alive which are the by-products of self-knowledge and self-understanding. That turns into our expressed image, the reflected image of the Willed Image out of the Void.
Happiness is not a static predetermined state. It is a self-perpetuating flow with a built in fluidity that is fed by many streams. A fully expanded consciousness, an awareness and an attitude of being alive and whole. Along with a posture of giving thanks, daily. For all the opulence of this world and the gifts of mind, heart and body. We have all we need for this thing called happiness. If we would but use what we have been given.
Well, we have said it over and over again, we have repeated the affirmations, forward and backward. Re-presented; options, alternatives, disciplines, methodologies, ways, means and instruments, speculations, premises, presuppositions, conjectures, beliefs, experiences. And oh, yes!, wisdom and truth.
But as one knows, words are just so many words afloat in an ever increasing sea of words. Unless the word becomes flesh and blood. We will have a difficult time walking the talk. Being that which we speak, talking the walk.
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