What Is Happiness More Of The World's Happiest Man
Bluebird of Happiness
The World's Happiest Man's First Book
Another Talk With The World's Happiest Man
What Is Happiness?
Another enlightening, but unusual (aren't they all?) talk with The World's Happiest Man.
Returned now to his usual environment, WHM seemed interested in talking when I ran into him , this morning. He was busy attracting and deflecting gulls and pigeons to his Starbuck's scone.
"Sharing is one thing," he said, "but these birds seem to appreciate only the scone, not the owner."
One individual's pursuit of happiness may conflict with others'.
World's Happiest Man: No argument there.
Does that mean everyone might not necessarily have a right to be happy all the time?
World's Happiest Man: Maybe it means that happiness is overrated. What is it anyway?
World's Happiest Man: Yes. Spelled that way. Everyone acts like everyone else knows what it is, but I'm not sure anyone understands what all the others mean. What is happiness? You wrote that book? What did you mean by it, Dave?
I meant what you told me.
World's Happiest Man: Which was?
Conscious awareness is happiness. Sorry, conscious awareness leads to happiness.
World's Happiest Man: I'm embarrassed. Is that what I told you?
I thought it...
World's Happiest Man: Conscious awareness sustains happiness. Without it, happiness is like a sugar high. It can't last. Conscious awareness, I think, can lead to happiness, if that's the flavor you're looking for. The truth is, like God and love, happiness has been pressed into service to describe so many things, it really isn't anything anymore. 'Happiness is a warm puppy,' or a life shared with Montana Wildhack. Either way.
Happiness is nothing...?
World's Happiest Man: Happiness is everything. It has a million points of view and as many surfaces. It's whichever one you're looking for when and if you're looking for happiness. Easy to find, not so sure it's as popular as generally imagined.
I guess I don't understand about whether it's popular or not.
World's Happiest Man: Everyone I know–and I know everyone–says they want to be happy. Almost always they say this at a point when they are not happy. When they are happy, they equivocate. Maybe it's not happy enough or not the right style of happiness. My thinking is that nobody wants to be any one thing, not all of the time, maybe not even most of the time. Do you remember that Rogers and Hart song, "Glad To Be Unhappy?"
The Mamas and Papas thing?
World's Happiest Man: Right. B side on the 45, never on an album. "It's a pleasure to be sad..." Makes me wish I could sing. Now, I don't know whatever made them go so far off type and record that song. It was the smartest song they ever did, sort of perverse, and they left it as invisible as they could. The only song, I think, mutually recorded by the Mamas and Papas and Old Blue Eyes.
Glad to be unhappy would seem to be an contradiction in terms.
World's Happiest Man: Well, there's the dilemma in a nutshell, Dave. What's happy mean when it's equivalent to unhappy? So Zen-like. I used to love that stuff. Just quoting the one hand clapping thing used to convince girls I was insightful. Not that I'm nonphysical, it's not so....
Back to happiness as nothing?
World's Happiest Man: And everything. Maybe it doesn't actually negate itself. Maybe accepting the ultimate contrasts works to power it up into infinity, into everything.
Of course, that would still be nothing, wouldn't it?
World's Happiest Man: You are learning, grasshopper... Oh, sorry. Never saw that show, but I heard people use that little joke. Unoriginal, I admit, but somewhat irresistible. Inappropriate, too. You are not my student, and I am no kind of wise man. But I do know what happiness is. I'm just lucky that way.
You know what happiness is?
World's Happiest Man: Of course.
World's Happiest Man: And it's a measurement of direct, genuine, rich engagement with nature. That's it. There is no other, plausible explanation.
A measurement of direct, genuine engagement with nature...?
World's Happiest Man: Sorry–of the degree of direct, genuine, blah, blah, blah, whatever I said. That's it. Nature is the multifaceted universe with which we engage from wherever we are and at whatever angle we look. It's always changing. Depths are infinite. You can be happy with peanut butter and with feeling the presence of God. The spectrum is complexly endless. You can't run out of happiness or varieties of happiness.
People seem to have found a way to...
World's Happiest Man: Dave, if you don't want me to call you grasshopper again, you have to learn to accept the obvious.
World's Happiest Man: Which is that everyone is happy all the time without exception. It's just a matter of degrees and clarity.
If it's like that, why does it look like something else?
World's Happiest Man: Grasshopper!
World's Happiest Man: Who in hell would want endless happiness? They'd be bored to tears. It's so obvious. France isn't the only place where variety is the spice of life. Vive la difference. Too bad I never learned French.
I think that refers to men and women, not contrasts in happiness.
World's Happiest Man: I know, but I was hoping you didn't. Well, it's settled then. Happiness is self-actualization.
World's Happiest Man: Sorry, a measurement of degrees of self-actualization.
I thought you said "of engagement with nature..."
World's Happiest Man: And the difference is what?
Self-actualization is engagement with nature?
World's Happiest Man: What else would it be? Disengagement with nature. "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put on earth to rise above." I don't think so.
World's Happiest Man: Katherine Hepburn, but she was wrong, as the movie showed. But, alas, we are getting off the subject, and I have an appointment. Do you get the idea, though?
World's Happiest Man: No, you don't.
Right. No, I don't.
World's Happiest Man: Look at it this way. It's all happiness, and you can jump all the way in or just dip your toes. You can't do nothing, but you have a shot, constantly a shot, at everything.
I'll try to keep that in mind.
World's Happiest Man: We can talk more later. For now, it's off to my class. I'm learning to do pedicures.
World's Happiest Man: Probably. Later!
Oh–toes in the water!
World's Happiest Man: Learning to love the shallow. Get it?
World's Happiest Man: You will. Probably. I really have to get to my class. Be here next week, same time.
You'll be here?
World's Happiest Man: Not likely.
So, why would I...? Have the conversation with myself, right?
World's Happiest Man: If you say so. Bye!
Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out....
But he didn't hear me. He departs quickly and completely. And, as usual, leaves me shaking my head, wondering when he'll pop up again to help me sort it out or give me even more to think about. I'll try to make him stand still longer next time. Promise.
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