Do You Have Time To Be Happy?
Part 1 of 3
It was about 4 AM when I woke this morning. I laid in bed inviting sleep back and felt the nameless dreads lurking in the corner of my mind. What’ll I do about selling the house? What’ll I do about the car that caught fire today? Why am I clenching my teeth? I finally resorted to my trusted remedy – a few drops of lavender on my pillow and twirled my nano to a meditation and away I drifted.
However I ‘drifted’ right into a very nasty dream. I was in a large car dealership reporting to the sales manager. I was their outside agent and doing very well at bringing in corporate clients. The owner – a sleazy menacing man came over and said never mind the manager – I was to deal directly with him – at which point he began to molest me. I raised myself to full height and told him to drop dead – didn’t he know who I was? But that didn’t stop him and he began to overpower me. I (in the fashion I was taught dissuades unwanted aggression) started screaming for everybody to see this creep and what he was doing.
No one paid any attention. Even a group of young women employees looked at me and then looked away. I realized I was completely vulnerable in this cavernous space that he owned and where he had paralysed everyone in the place into fear of retribution. I got free and made a dash outside to my car. It was now after dark. The parking lot was huge and offered no safety or hope of intervention either. My car was the only hope. But! I discovered I had left my keys on the sales managers desk. I faced my fear and ran back in. The creep let me in and out again and I knew he was sure of his victory and was playing with my fear.
I made it to my car but couldn’t lock the doors before he jumped into the passenger seat. I careened out of the parking lot keeping the car off balance. In the street which was busy with shops I jammed the car into park, leapt out the door and into a large and busy store. As in true dream fashion it was a Hallowe’en costume store full of women lined up to buy fluorescent wigs and such. The creep followed me in and now in a rage began attacking and punching in earnest. I screamed to draw attention and help but all the women looked and then looked away. I shouted at one woman that I couldn’t let this man frighten me and make me fearful in the future. She said that judging from the rage in his face I now had someone who would never let me alone. I was frantic with fear! He knew where I lived!
I ran back to my car and got away – only to have him shoot out the tire. In a flash I pictured a life plagued by this stalker who meant me harm – but worse, meant to torment me with fear of harm. In that second I realized I would rather die than live in fear. I jumped out of the car and opened my coat so he could shoot me in the heart. And then I woke up.
Usually other people’s dreams aren’t very interesting if you’re not a Jungian, but I recount this as I think in a way it is everyone’s dream. And I know it was spawned by the conversation my Sweetheart and I had that afternoon. I was waiting for a friend who I had driven to an appointment at Sunnybrook Hospital. S had come to wile away the time with me and we found a quiet place at the back of the hospital property. We sat on a stone wall with our legs dangling over the edge and a formidable drop down into the treed valley. High up in one of the trees a racoon lay curled and sleeping. A hawk swung in lazy swoops between trees. And a creek was beginning to emerge from its snowy banks. It was peaceful and warm in the springlike sun.
We were talking about this and that – how my car caught fire and all. A dear friend of mine had died this week at 90 and I felt sad for a long life lived in duty and not joy. This gave rise to the question of why humans are conscious. It seems rather cruel to have a physical body and a physical life only to know that we are destined to die. What is the point in that? Neanderthals weren’t troubled by that presumably. So why this development of knowing? Does it give us meaning or does it give us fear? Or both?
Being a student of the spiritual path – in many forms – I opined on co creating and evolution and a greater meaning. But S in his usual fashion asked me what difference a hereafter really made to this life now. Before I got too huffy, he went on to say that so many near death experiences included the white light tunnel and the feeling of immense love. Tap into a 100 year old coffin and once you blow the dust away and pick up the skull you can ask it, “How’s the white light working for you now?”
I started to laugh because that is absolutely true. We have constructed our whole world out of the need to have meaning beyond this life. But this is the only life we have going at this precise moment. We have created a society and a culture around things – structures, objects, laws, and businesses that keep us safe and alive and busy thinking about keeping ourselves safe and alive. And then there are all the businesses new age and ancient around assuaging our worried souls that there is a reason for suffering and things will be clear “on the other side”. But what about here – now?
S and I sat in the sun on the edge of the wall overlooking a lovely creek and valley. Except for a few cans and bottles and a couple of blue buckets, it could have been hundreds of years ago. Our back was turned to the century stone house behind us. Beyond that were rings of construction fencing leading up to the huge complex of Sunnybrook growing in our very presence. Beyond that is the fifth largest city in North America – Toronto. The biggest buildings are churches, hospitals, banks, insurance companies. Save your soul! Save your life! Save your money! Save your house! Identical malls sprawl within blocks of each other clamouring for consumer attention. To feel this – buy that! To be this – wear that! Belong or be outcast.
We are unequivocally living in a construct of fear. And where is the happiness in that? Where is the creativity as we ding like pinballs around the obstacle course of our lives? We distract ourselves with things to divert us. If we have heartfelt pleasures we often hurry through them to get back to ‘all we have to do’. Or worse, we save our pleasures for when we have time – which we rarely do. We fall in love and then wrench the tender shoots from the earth to see if it is growing like everybody says it should. We have or acquire a child and then wear it as an accessory. Will it walk before one, talk before two and read from a book at three? If the child rebels can we give it Ritalin? We create a song, a poem or a dance and then offer it up to be crushed and ridiculed by millions nationwide.
We have completely given over our heart’s desires to a collective unconscious. We have chosen to stay
distracted by often nameless fears from the very thing our consciousness provides us and that is the awareness of our own eventual death. Why should we be preoccupied by death? We shouldn’t be preoccupied or fearful of death – only aware of its inevitability. It is this awareness that defines what is actually precious and of value to us. We die without ever really living. No wonder we fear death. It is the final confrontation that we have spent our lives guided by anything but the truth. And what is the truth? Whatever makes you happy. Truly – heart light happy.
Happiness comes from the well of the heart and the heart is fed from the font of creation. True happiness comes from acts of love. The love of science, nature, commerce or humanity. As long as we are true to ourselves we can never be wrong. And then we can die fearless and at peace, in the white light of our own creative accomplishments. Our legacy to a world that no longer holds us.