Thoughts on happiness and fear

Amsterdam, Noord Holland, The Netherlands.

The stickiness of fear keeps blowing my mind. At the same time I don’t really understand happiness either. Generally speaking I would say that I feel blessed, fortunate and clear about what I want in life. At the same time I can’t say I am 100% happy 100% of the time.  Somehow writing it down makes it a) sound worse than it is and b) sounds like a perfect open door. Obviously we can’t be 100% happy 100% of the time. Duh.. Or can we? Just making a statement brings up doubt immediately.

I quite often notice rushes of happiness though. They come and go. When I am riding my bicycle to the morning meditation for example. I cross bridges and ride along side canals, the sun is rising, the city is still quiet and the water is like glass. I feel love or joy coming up. It is really as if a bubble comes up from deep down, and is rising upwards, at one point crossing the borders of my consciousness and entering my body, spreading a warm feeling from my lower belly upwards. I sigh and smile. It is a feeling similar to looking into beautiful loving eyes.

I feel love for the world. I feel touched when I see random people just doing their job or routinely taking care of children and animals. I feel amazed when I see a beautiful tree in the middle of the city. Or maybe it is strictly speaking not a very beautiful tree but it is still there, being alive and all. I feel awe for how incredibly organized creation is. Traffic is an amazing example: every day the fast majority of us take part in traffic and we tend to survive it every day. An astonishing amount of things go right every day.

We live in an amazing creation. We are intrinsic part of that creation. If all the trees and the rocks and the birds and the dogs and the flowers are not a mistake than we are not a mistake either. The universe wants our existence. We are here because we are supposed to be here.

At the same time we are constantly afraid. Or almost constantly. Everyday worries and concerns bother us. We are always trying to control our surroundings, processes and outcomes. It is exhausting, depressing and it feels like a waste of time. It is a waste of time, isn’t it?

People do not consciously want to hurt others, they are just protecting their own wounds. And that can get sometimes (often) quite confusing. When we think we are talking business for example and different parties are defending different interests. The fear of getting the short end of the stick, of being fooled or exploited at such tables is almost tangible.

I myself can get confused easily when it comes to defending business interests and convincing others to see what I see when it is purely about me. I feel that persuading people is not integer but not persuading people leaves a lot of room for undesired outcomes. I stumble onto a paradox: in my private life my friends call me pushy (I really, really want so-and-so to come to that movie with me and won’t take no for an answer), in business I don’t have the courage to press (it is inappropriate to sell myself).  In a debate or an argument, especially when the emotions get a bit heated, I seem to lose most of my eloquence. I know that the blend of confusion, resistance, pressure to respond adequately and discomfort I feel are all based in fear. Still, I am not the master of my fears. I wish I could handle those situations elegantly.

But then I walk outside and the sky is blue and the air is fresh and it is all good.

Weird, isn’t it?


  1. says

    Atalwin, dear friend, it’s been a while! I am sitting at my desk in South Korea, with an hour spare before class. I’ve read the previous four posts and now, hitting this one, I stop and I think… this man… speaks my mind like no one I have met before does. It is an absolute pleasure to hear your thoughts and I share these moments with you every morning when I stride down the river bank in my town in the lucious autumn haze. The beauty of those moments where the joy rises is magnified by their contrast with all the other moments that make up our wonderfully colorful lives.


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