Have you ever felt like you are reaching a point, a subtle, sudden, short point hard to describe where you feel free? Where the time ceases to exist and there is just you, your presence in the world and the universe? Where, even for seconds, you conquer time and space- or at least you feel so? Where you forget about all your troubles, all the earthly concerns and for a minute, you feel that you are infinite?
These moments are why living is worth for. It might be a big statement, but I swear, to me happiness can be resumed in those seconds. For the last 22 years of my life, I ‘ve been through good and tough times, I’ve lived wonderful experiences, I ‘ve experienced pain and despair and I never stopped thinking about what happiness is. Is it an accomplished life? Seeing your dreams come true? Having good friends and a beautiful family? Being successful? It certainly can be found among those situations, somewhere.. But no, I take a minute to think. Happiness doesn’t have a definition and comes with no recipes, with no general conclusions and no fixed preconditions. Happiness…is the aggregation (although I don’t like this word) of moments of infinity. Happiness is the moment when we feel ecstatic, free and alive.
The good news is that everyone is potentially able to experience those moments-because those moments do not have demanding requirements, such as money or any kind of prerequisites. These moments could be the second when you hug someone you love, the morning you wake up and stare at the sun reflecting on the glass of your window, the sunset from the top of a hill, the gratefulness you feel when you approach a new land for the first time, the moment when you run, walk, or talk with your friends, just to name a few. What in every case defines happiness is how ecstatic you are towards each and every experience. How grateful you are. It is not easy to feel that magic in everyday moments. But it is possible. And we should seek those moments.
However, I have to say that seeking those moments doesn’t always work- sometimes we are looking for the great turn to happen but it simply doesn’t. That morning is not a moment of happiness, but just another one gloomy morning before work. Hugging our friends doesn’t make us feel free and infinite because the hug isn’t genuine, watching the sunset from the hill doesn’t make a difference from every other sunset. So how can we expect to live those small, precious moments of happiness?
I ‘d say that having faith, having a positive attitude towards life and being generous is the key to arriving at those moments. And trust me, those moments arrive at the right time. They can be unexpected, but they arrive and they suddenly bring light to our lives. Don’t worry if they don’t arrive very often- as we all know, happiness cannot be a permanent state in our lives, we all know it, let’s accept it. But it can offer us moments of eternity. And these moments make us realize that one second can be truly redemptive.
Tonight I watched the film ‘The perks of being a wallflower’, telling the story of a shy school boy who discovered the meaning of friendship, love and courage that helped him overcome personal struggles. To be honest, the film was my inspiration for writing this now. The scene that struck me was where three friends are in an open car with the radio playing David Bowie’s song ‘Heroes’. They are young, hopeful, energetic. As the song plays, one of them stands up and lifts their arms as if they were flying. It is dark, and the only thing you can see are the lights coming from the city as they drive. The girl who is up closes her eyes and feels the air. The others laugh, sing and shout. It is when one of them says: ‘And in that moment, I swear we were infinite’. This is what I am talking about. It was certainly a movie, it was a setting. But it had me in tears- and this was because I felt something strong at that moment. I recognised myself experiencing something similar, in similar conditions.
And the funny coincidence is that these days I happen to be in the United States and I have been having the opportunity to live moments like this one- moments when I am in front of spectacular natural sceneries, so spectacular that make me cry. Moments when it is dark, and I am in the car and in front of me I can see a big city in lights-small dots of lights that look so united from some distance, like candles, the one next to each other- and then I lie back on my seat, open the window, feel the air and try to connect the dots so that they look like one.
There are other moments, when I feel so small compared to the vastness and splendidness of the nature, of the world unfolded in front of my eyes, a world that surpasses me, surpasses logic, goes beyond the human limit, beyond what can be explained. It is the world, the universe with its incredible flow, that offers its presence to me and I cannot but welcome it, feel it inside my soul. While I feel small, I also feel important, I feel alive-it is a contradiction how small but invincible at the same time one can feel when faced with those moments of infinity. We are small because we realise that we are surrounded by this magnificent universe that we can’t control, but we are invincible at the same time because we feel a sense of belonging, of inner power- and I call this power gained from our connection with the universe happiness.
And there are other moments when I laugh so hard and make positive thoughts thinking to myself ‘live this moment now-don’t think about the future-just now and here’. Other moments when I sing, where the world and the time stops. There is nothing but me and the music- a whole new universe. But if I start talking about singing now I will probably need thousands of words and pages to describe the degree of happiness I feel when I am engaged with music – this will be another topic to write about.
I am totally convinced that each of us can experience those moments of infinity. Don’t look out for them in the wrong places, such as being better than the other, acquiring tangible objects, having authority. I understand that power, success, authority and the likes are important to building up our lives and I don’t underestimate them. But bear in mind that it takes a second, only one second to experience immortality-and believe me, everyone is equal before that special moment- the rich, the poor, the winners and the losers, black and white, strong and weak. You can’t take this feeling of infinity and this moment of happiness away from anyone. It is always there and does not distinguish: it can be felt by anyyone, under one condition: that this person embraces this moment. The moment of infinity.