Probably, like a lot of other people, I have been meeting a much wider variety of human beings since I started reading blogs on the internet. And I have always been quite open to the possibilities of meeting people who were different than myself. I used to talk to people I met on the street. And I would pick up hitch hikers. And would meet people in my travels, and people in taverns. My home away from home, when I was young, was in libraries. But you don’t meet that many people in libraries, because silence is strictly enforced. Not to speak of the fact that people are usually very involved with the books they are reading or studying. But as I say, I used to get around, and I would meet a lot of people.
Most of them were not anything like me. And I found that quite interesting. I learned from so many people I met. Sometimes it seemed to me, that every person I’d meet, would open up a new aspect of this world for me. Very often, I would meet people who believed in different things that I didn’t believe in. I would meet people who were cruel to animals, or who had little respect for cleanliness or who were racists or misogynists. Now, I could have kept my distance from people who had different values than mine, or who did things I did not approve of. But I started out young, trying to understand what this world was about, and I decided to be very open minded; to listen to what others had to say, and then to decide for myself. What worked for me, was to look for the good in people, and not to spend too much time on those things that didn’t attract me. I was too young and too inexperienced to be a teacher to others. I figured that what mattered, was the good that I could find.
It’s the same as when you go looking for new food that you don’t know. Why pick up a nut, and break your teeth on the shell, or struggle with it, trying to eat it like a peach? Best to watch how others eat it; discard the shell, and enjoy the meat inside. If someone offers you fish, why waste your time checking how sharp or stiff the bones are? Discard the bones, and eat the fish. So, I applied this attitude to getting to know people too.
This week, I read two blogs that interested me especially. They are not blogs I read for fun. When I’m just looking to enjoy myself, I like a good story… or amusement. I like to smile as I read. I’m always interested in seeing an interesting image. But it’s wearying for me to see one peak image after another. I know some bloggers who’ll knock you off your feet with what they’ve photographed. But after being knocked over twice or three times… I get kind of achy. My behind hurts… or my knees. And it’s hard getting up off the floor a lot… especially at my age. You can get tired that way, and just want to sit on the couch, and drink a cup of tea. So even when it comes to images, I like a good story.
But these two blogs that I read… they are the blogs of two women who have gone through some difficulties in life. One of them has described the hell she’s seen. And the other doesn’t talk about it. But you know, I get the feeling… One of them, Genie is her name, wrote about happiness. What I liked about her post, is that she didn’t tell others how to attain happiness. She wasn’t telling me what to do. She was just describing what makes her happy. And I can tell you, that when you read a lot of blogs, you run into a lot more people telling you what makes them unhappy, than you do a blogger telling you what makes him or her happy. So that is the sort of post I find interesting. She had a list of 15 paths to happiness. Number one was: “Do random acts of kindness”. Now this is not for me. I will confess to you, that just doing part of the acts of kindness that I feel called upon to do in my life is a challenge that I haven’t met with great success. Usually, by the end of my day, I feel that I haven’t managed to do even a fourth of what I planned to do… and occasionally, I don’t even get to one part in twenty. So I’m not going to go looking for random acts of anything. And the list goes on to mention other things that would not bring me much happiness. I’m sure. But it did have three suggestions that I could completely agree with, and I want to share them with you.
12. Respect everyone even those folks you do not understand.
I would agree with this, and I think this is the proper way to live. Giving respect to others is not a sacrifice on our part. We lose nothing by doing this. And the advantages are great. Foremost, the other person will be more willing to find a bridge between the two of you, and to cooperate with you.
13. Get plenty of sleep
Now everyone needs a different amount of sleep. There are those who need very little sleep per day, and others who feel completely rested only if they sleep ten hours a day. I slept five hours a day most of my life. But my father slept ten hours. And he had no fewer accomplishments than I have. What’s important, is that you get enough. I don’t use an alarm clock. And I’ve found that when you’re well rested, you won’t want to be lying around in bed. You’ll want to get up and start doing things… happily!
15. Know that happiness comes from within – no one or no material good can make you happy
This was the last thing on the list. And I thought it was the most important. We often fixate on some goal, or some material possession that we think will make us happy. This is partially due to all the propaganda we listen to by commercial interests. The truth is what Genie suggests, that happiness has to come from within ourselves, when we are whole with ourselves, and in harmony with the world.
I think I’ve written enough here. I’m including some stamps I’ve noticed lately, and a little parcel of sugar I found in a coffee house. I will post the second part on this subject soon. And then I’ll tell you of my reaction to the question, how can we find spirituality… or god? We’ll discuss that in a few days… and meantime, let’s see how happy we can be.