Happiness + Sadness = Balance

June 21, 2015

The life of a farmer can often be joyous and exasperating. That is to be expected as so much of what makes up the vocation of farming is in the capricious hands of Mother Nature.

But as I reflect deeply on my chosen path. I draw the assurance – without sadness there can be no such thing as a meaningful understanding of happiness. Just as without the color back, we probably will not be able to appreciate the color white along with all the different gradations of greys in between.

Happiness is like a tree reaching into the heavens, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of hell.

The interplay between these two contradictions is what gives meaning to life – it is like the Tao of a tree, the higher a tree goes, the deeper it roots submerge into the ground. The bigger the tree, the deeper it’s roots. They are always in proportion. That’s balance.

That is the natural order of things.

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‘Whenever possible. I try my level best to strive for balance in all aspects of work, life and play.

I don’t search out for happiness specifically. I used too. But I have long since reconciled myself to the idea chasing happiness relentlessly and unthinkingly is at best – a dead end. A puff at the opium pipe. A delectable form of escapism.

Neither am I consumed by sadness. I used to. That’s to say whenever I felt sad in the past. I invariably saw myself as a victim. But these days I am neutral to sadness – I am not saying, I am comfortable in and with sadness, not at all, but since I’ve made a commitment to understand it. I no longer fear it as I used to. It has no hold on me any longer.

Understanding the interplay between happiness and sadness is jugular to enable me to be effective. As I am not so different Will Smith in that movie, I am legend. That at least is how I see myself. As an estranged person living in the thick of desolation.

That’s why I saw a need to wordsmith a philosophy to live by.

That’s why I believe when a man is driven only by the quest for happiness. That sort of attitude can only set him up for the epic fall and eventually grind him into a pulp in the vocation of farming, simply because that’s not realistic nor doable. That’s not anything near what life is all about. Not in my book, at least!

The man who is addicted to the narcotic of happiness will never be able to cultivate the requisite reservoir of sagacity, patience and wisdom to see himself thru the many periods of uncertainties and hardships. He would not be able to motivate himself. Nor can he hold true to his discipline.

To successful turn the wheel of life as farmer requires one needs to develop super human stamina to endure, to accept and to even pick up the broken pieces to try again when it all goes wrong.

This means one has to learn as best one can to make peace with the idea of defeat and victory, sadness and happiness, joy and misery and if possible treat all these contradictions and if possible other contradictions in this world as really one of the same reality.

This is why these days – I strive only for balance. Balance in the sense, when things go well, though I may feel happy, but I never cling or crave it. If it all comes together, it’s like the pleasant surprise of finding the last bottle of wine secreted in some corner of the cupboard. It’s a pleasant bonus. But I could just as well do without it. It’s optional. As I don’t really need it that badly to get by.

As I know happiness for what I understand it to be – a fleeting sensation that is never supposed to last. So I don’t feel the need to posses it.

The same holds true for sadness. When it descends up me, I allow it to past right thru without the slightest will to resist, as if I am a pane of glass. I never cling to it by wallowing. It doesn’t leave any residue on my character. As sadness like happiness is also a fleeting sensation. It may very well sting and even leave me bloodied, but I always know while pain is inevitable, suffering will always be optional.

What is important for me at this moment is that I continue to hold steadfastly to the idea of cultivating balance.

A state of mind that neither intoxicates me with happiness nor consumes me in sadness – this I’ve discovered is the only reliable way for me to seek inner peace and contentment in this harsh environment.

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