A few months ago, my partner take me to his childhood home in the suburban area. The building is already 30 years old but it still stands strong.
Just two blocks from his home, there is a small tennis yard that is used as a football field and basketball field simultaneously. His elementary school memories were built there.
The story stopped until high school when he said that the home was confiscated by the bank. His parents got a money problem, and in a short amount of time, his family became homeless.
They moving places to a smaller home where it consists of one room only. And this continues until he’s moving out with me.
When we’re married last year (during the pandemic, yes!), we decided to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Since I tend to be introverted, I like the idea of having a small yet cozy place for home.
To my surprise, my partner so happy with our new apartment.
He said this is the best room he has ever lived in after the last 20 years.
His previous rented home is smaller and darker. I am grateful that we got a clean and minimalist apartment at a good cost. Now, even the floor has upholstered in wood. And the window is bright where we can face a sunset (yeah, I always love a sunset!).
When he said he’s so happy, I realized that’s one event in his cycles of life. He had experienced a low point in his life.
Now, he experiences a high point. Of course, I hope this condition stays for a long time (hopefully forever).
Life comes in pairs
Pondering on my partner’s gratefulness, I got my realization. You can feel happy when you have experience sadness. There are day and night. There are life and death.
As much as I hate sadness, we can’t possibly know what happiness is if we haven’t experience sadness. I know, it’s easier to say especially if you are happened to be happy right now.
When we are sad, stressed, or depressed, all we want in life is to remove that despair from our life. I found myself despises everything when I was depressed about my job and personal life.
Turn our suffering
But we can turn the suffering in our life into happiness. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, no mud, no lotus. A good gardener can turn a mud of compost into a beautiful flower.
We already have the seeds of happiness in ourselves. We only need to discover our happiness within with meditation. You already have happiness in you.
As Swami Ji said in his book, A Million Thoughts:
Meditation is going home… It is to discover yourself, to get to your primal source from where bliss, happiness, and joy flow constantly.
I am not saying that I am a devout meditator in my life. However, every time I do my meditation, my mind becomes calmer and happier. I wonder why I don’t do it often?
I think because I look too much on screen. I was lured by the instant gratification of social media consumption. Instant gratification looks more appealing than the long-term gratification from meditation.
But as the law of nature, an instant result will instantly disappear, too. That’s not only coming from social media, but also in real life.
There are so many lottery ticket winners that going bankrupt despite how big their wins. Turns out, getting a sudden surge of money doesn’t make you happy. There is no easy and instant way to build long-lasting happiness.
Building lasting happiness needs effort. And we can attain it by meditating every day.
I know that it’s also not possible to be happy every day. That’s just a wishful thinking. Our life has ups and downs and you might be facing sadness again and again.
However, when you are experiencing sadness, just remember that you can turn it into happiness again with meditation.