Sunday, 12 February 2012

In pursuit of happiness

While walking today my mind was wondering and pondering on what seems to be an ever growing epidemic of existential crisis. Starting with a close friend, everyone I speak to seems to be going through some sort of stage of questioning themselves and what they should be doing and where.

I've never seen so many people in search for meaning in their lives and that is both exciting and a bit scary. Exciting because more than ever we seem ready to question the status quo and explore different possibilities, and scary because we don't seem to know what we want so there doesn't seem to be any satisfying alternatives out there.

It is only logical that when we set off on a search for something undefined chances are, we won't find it. I know this is far from a new idea but I feel very strongly that the lack of meaning and satisfaction in our lives is the lack of feeling that we belong somewhere and that our contribution is valuable. I remember watching somewhere (possibly a TED talk) that research found that the common denominator to happiness is spending time with people you like/love. That sounds obvious. With the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism we have sold out community for the pursuit of individual wants and comforts without realizing we were throwing away the most important factor to happiness - being part of a "tribe". Belonging to a community of friends/family that work together to achieve a common goal or to meet each others basic needs; physical, mental and spiritual.

There are many communities sparking up out there with all sorts of goals and motivations but today I  visualise my idea of community. I imagine waking up in my straw bail house beside my other half, with the sunshine coming through the window. The temperature is warm enough to walk around comfortably in minimal clothing.

Permaculture garden
I look through the window to admire the somewhat wild garden outside. Flowers mix with vegetables among climbers hanging from fruit trees and shrubs. I walk through it and pick a few cherries, strawberries and an apple for breakfast. I walk down the garden to the grassy path and shout good morning to you, painting on the balcony of your beautiful cob house.

Another friend's already busy in the garden below, harvesting potatoes for tonight's dinner party. In the distance we hear a friend plucking away at his/her guitar. On the other side of the stream of pristine clear water, we notice the smoke coming out of a friend couple's yurt and we hear the faint sound of a baby laughing. Today we are all helping to build the home of some new arrivals...

We all know each other pretty well and everyone communicates openly because there's a supportive atmosphere. We know that challenges aren't a problem because we work on them together. We live simply, we share time, effort and resources. We have few perks and commodities but we know we have the things that matter... the earth and all its incredible biodiversity, the rain, the sun and each other.

We are happy because we give each other lives' meaning... after all isn't this what life is meant to be about?

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