Beware of Darkness

I think I always try to be as optimistic and laid back as possible. I’ve decided in my naive youth to always assume the best in everyone. As philosopher St Thomas Aquinas insists; humans always seek the apparent good. And most of the time I’m happy enough in my little bubble, rocking through life to love songs from the greatest band of all time, and claiming its never the end of the world. After all, I’m a perfectly fortunate person in the sense of the opportunities in life that I’ve been given.

Every so often though, this small world of mine falls slightly apart. A crack in my beliefs form, and I realise (or perhaps remember) that where there is generosity there can be motive, where there is friendship there is sometimes betrayal, and where there is honesty there can lie deceit. Life is not about living in perpetual paranoia, nor is it about being oblivious of what lurks in the shadows. It is about being cautious, but trusting. It’s about absorbing and deflecting hits. It is about shining light into the face of darkness, so as it can rarely touch you.

Unfortunately today I witnessed a large crack in my reality. I realised that someone I’d known for a long time was not who I thought they were, and so sadly it’s time to move on and upwards. If someone isn’t who they say they are, I say forget them. Life flows on. Certainly for the most part it seems to be a smooth and beautiful journey…

“Beware of darkness… it can hit you.” – George Harrison

My Persuit of Happiness – A Day in the Life

Today has struck me as one of the happiest days I’ve had in a long time. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my days. I love them. But today was exceptional. My interest in happiness and self development leads me naturally to look back on the hours that have just past and try to work out why it is I have become so happy. What is it that makes me feel this way? It’s such an important life question to ask, yet I’m sure hardly anybody actually ever wonders it. What made today particularly interesting is that nothing particularly special happened to me, so, instead I’m going to try to discover what it is that has happened on this ordinary day that’s made it so enjoyable. To do this I’m going to walk through it…

At 7:00am I woke up to the sound of Pink Floyd’s Any Colour You Like getting gradually louder as it eased me out of sleep. 7:00am and I went to sleep at around 2:00am, so I’ve only had five hours of sleep. I don’t feel good. But a quick shower and breakfast meant I was well fed for the morning and good to go. I find coffee an essential, and it  certainly helps to lift my spirits, and so, perhaps, this is the first factor that contributed to my great happy day that was unknowingly to myself at time time about to embark on. I knew that I was going to be meeting some new people today and so I dressed well; jeans, shirt (tucked in), tie, jacket (a few were tried out) and shoes. I grabbed some things, including my bag and laptop, and headed out for the bus station. After arriving at the bus station I waited in the drizzling rain for 10 minutes – not fun – for the first bus to arrive to be full and drove past. I wasn’t pleased and I was beginning to run late for my first lecture of the day. The second bus arrived and I was on my way.

I arrived in the lecture theater 10 minutes late and a little rushed. After finding a seat I set up my laptop and began recording. The lecture seemed interesting and made a good introduction to the course, but nothing special. After the lecture I made my way to a lab to continue working on a program to encipher and decipher text using a code, and managed to make good progress. Starting to feel quite good about how the work was progressing, I decided to spend half an hour sorting with my bank so I’m able to pay my tuition fees before October over the phone, which went smoothly. So things were going fairly well. One of my house mates sent me a text to inform me that we would be getting new carpets in all the rooms at our house. Very pleased.

From here things got interesting. I headed over to a meeting at Kro Bar for PASS leaders, where I would meet my partner for the sessions. The room was packed with friends from the course, and I enjoyed chatting to some guys about the training we’d been going through. The University bought everyone a drink which went down very well! Importantly, I met my partner, whom I would be working with over the year. I found him friendly and genuinely interesting, and we quickly got into a good conversation. And so here’s where my mood soared from good to exceptional. Kro Bar was a blast. The place was chilled, it was full of friends, and getting along with someone I’d only just met was incredible. I became immensely happy. To add even further to that feeling a quick reflection as I left the bar made me realise something incredible. I believe that I can get on with anyone no matter who they are. I’m so proud. I’ve managed to reflect on myself and build on my weaknesses (for example listening skills), as well as pursue active research into human relations to improve the way I can interact with people – because I always believe there’s room for improvement – and I can see the improvement. Today I became happy with my progress. I left the bar feeling on top of the world. The sun came out. I walked down Oxford Road to my next lecture, with my head high, strength in my step, and a comfortable smile on my lips as other students passed by. This sense of things going well. This realisation of achievement. This feeling was happiness. What made me this happy? Getting on with other people. Befriending people. Enjoying another person’s company and letting them enjoy mine. It’s all about people. This true happiness, I thought, doesn’t come often – but when it does it’s truly beautiful.

So my next two lectures were pretty interesting, as well as being a little more entertaining, being sat next to a good friend and a good laugh. The feeling stayed high.

Following that I had my first tutorial session with some other great friends from last year. We met our new tutor as well as a new group member that we got to know. Everybody in that session seemed happy. Everyone enjoyed each others company, and, perhaps most importantly for today, so did our new group member. My friendship with a particular member seemed refreshed and alive, and, because they mean so much to me, the things that meant were amazing. I left the session happy, and after leaving my friends, and headed for a bus home.

A short walk to the bus stop, and a major road to cross. The rain was coming down as a kind of drizzle, and the wind blew hard yet soft. I didn’t wear my jacket on the way home. I didn’t need to because warmth came from my heart. I crossed the road and waited in the middle for the cars coming towards me to pause for some lights further ahead. Three lanes of traffic speeding past me on one side and three further lanes of traffic on the other side. I stood looking down the road, the wind blowing through my hair and the light rain cooling my cheeks. Pure happiness.

On the bus back I reflected on my day. A tear came to my eye. Today was beautiful. But why? What makes me happy?

Friendship.