Object Free Happiness
I’m spending Christmas holiday week with family in another province in Canada. I remember before I came here, a friend of mine asked if I was excited about this trip.
I checked within myself, while the radio was singing in a loving and nostalgic way, “I’ll be home for Christmas. You can plan on me…” I didn’t find too much excitement on the “gleaming love light” part of it. There was a sense of challenge of spending a week with the family, which could be translated into “excitement” in the body.
A full week. We eat. We play cards. We watch old movies. We eat more. Whenever family sit around and chat about neighbours or celebrities or politicians or weather or whatever on the news, I’d have a moment to be excused and go to do my own stuff.
I found the most challenge comes from the noises. Certain family members can’t deal with silence. They may feel responsible for my visit to be a “good one”, and silent moments may be perceived as their failure on that responsibility. I am not sure whether they stretch themselves too much to make noises for me, the guest; or they just do it anyways without me. What I feel is discomfort. Each noise demands attention. When my attention is paid to the content of whatever the noise is making, I find it quite meaningless, some are regurgitation of yesterday’s meaningless talk, or yester-year’s talk, while I’d rather sit by the window appreciating the winter without having to say a thing.
I guess they wouldn’t know if I’m happy or not if I don’t constantly show that I’m happy by making noises myself. It must be tiring for them wanting to be responsible for my happiness. This unconsciously imposes a responsibility onto me – to make sure that they know I am happy with their effort.
Their effort is a burden, for them and for me. I realize a whole range of social conditioning is built upon this being responsible for others’ feelings.
Are feelings really dependent on objects of attention? On anything outside of us?
For a while, I found myself psycho-analyzing the relatives’ fear of their own inner world, but it didn’t make me happier, actually more frustrated. And it’s not helping them or me. When I’m with them, I’m not a counsellor or a therapist. They are who they choose to be and that’s not my business. All I want for myself is to be happy. Half way through the week, I decided that my happiness does not depend on anybody’s behaviour or attitude, or anybody or anything at all.
I tested out this object-free happiness. I feel love, without the object of attention of this love. I just let it naturally flow out of me. I am happy not because of anything. When I feel it, it’s so tangible. The best part of this is that people around me don’t even have to be worthy to deserve my love and happiness. They can make whatever effort to make me happy, or not. What they do has nothing to do with me. And my happiness has nothing to do with what they do.
I am simply independently happy. The resonance of happiness I can tune in, like a child, without any object of attention, which normally serves as an excuse for this resonance.
I don’t need an excuse to be happy.
So when I get home after this holiday, my friend will ask, “How was your visit?” I’ll just look at him, smile.
Nothing to report. Yet I’m happy.