Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Pursuit Parable of Happiness

William was a hard-working and caring man. He tried to help others when he could and had led a full life until this very day. Through the window of his small house, one can see the life of a man in need of something. He woke up this morning with a weight bearing down on his heart. Confused, he headed out of his house, barely dressed and headed the wrong way to work.

He stumbled into town mumbling to himself, "It's lost. It's lost. I can't find it. Did I have it?" He approached a woman dressed immaculately on her way to work and asked, "Excuse me, but I can't find what I'm looking for."

"I can't help you," she said, mistaking him for an indigent, and moving along her way.

He continued on the streets and down an alleyway where he met a like-hearted stranger wearing a garbage bag. "Pardon me, but I need to find something yet I can't even remember what it is. Can you tell me what I'm looking for?"

"It's probably money. That's what I need," the hobo answered.

"Oh, maybe that's it. Money," he repeated to himself as if the word was new to his ears and tongue. "Thanks."

"Don't mention."

William headed back out of the alley and into a crowded entryway to a local business. A vendor selling breakfast burritos was earning his living when William advanced and spoke, "Sir, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. I think it's money that I need; that my soul desires."

"Can't help ya' pal. If you want money you should get a job. You get a job then you can help support me and mine and buy a burrito here. That's what you need," the vendor came back.

"A burrito? That's what I need? Is that what I've been searching for? Is that what my heart desires?"

"Well, maybe it ain't true love, but it fills the belly. If it's the heart that desires, you must be lookin' for love."

"Love? Maybe that's what I need," William said resolutely. Now he was sure he had it. Love was what he needed. He turned into the crowd and headed into the building of business. A young attractive receptionist sat behind the desk in the main lobby. "Ma'am, I need your help."

"What can I do for you?" she asked skeptically after appraising his appearance.

"I need to find love," he began. She pressed a button on her phone to alert security. "I've been told that's what I need."

"I think you'll need to look elsewhere for that sir," a large man in blue answered from behind William, as he was escorted off the premises. "I just need love!" William protested, now back in the streets.

"You'll not find love in a corporate rat maze like that friend," came a friendly voice from a bearded gentleman handing out fliers. "What you need is peace. Peace, love, and understanding."

"Peace, love and understanding?" William asked, now utterly perplexed.

"Yeah, man. You can find them everywhere. You can find love and understanding in your friends but peace has to come from within."

"Within? That's where I kept it! I'm missing something of mine that I kept within me, but I can't find it."

"Rough, man. Losing your peace is harsh. I hope you find it again."

William wandered off down the road in search of peace. He made his way to the center of town where he met a nice elderly lady offering to help him on his way. "If you want peace, then you have to find happiness in this life. I've been up and I've been down, but happiness is what really matters. If you have that, then peace rides along as a companion."

"Happiness? Is that what I lost? My happiness? Where could it have gone?"

"I don't know, young man, but if it is gone then you'd better find it and not waste any time. Life is short; find your happiness."

So William strode on into the city park looking for his happiness, soulmate to peace, cousin to contentment. In the center of the park was a large statue of some famous figure of historical note at the top of a pedestal at the top of a set of wide shallow stairs.

William climbed the stairs looking for his happiness. At the top and the stairs, sitting by the feet of the statue was an old young man quietly contemplating his lap as if there were some arcane book lying upon it.

"Excuse me? Can you help me find happiness? I can't seem to find it."

"Young old man," he began, "Happiness isn't something that you wander about looking for. Why search without for something that resides within? Verily, if you cannot find happiness of your own substance, then you will not find it in the world. The mother, she is cruel, casting her children into the fires of trial. Many are forged stronger, while other are broken, but regardless we may all find happiness if we wish it. Even in sadness, can happiness be found. And when you find that you cannot find happiness within, you must realize this truth: Happiness isn't something you find; it's something you make."

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