Companion for couples-to-be
Years ago I read a children's story. It concerned a certain family of mice – father mouse, mother mouse and a number of youngsters. The youngest member of the family was very small indeed, so small that her brothers and sisters looked down upon her.
But one night, the story went on to say, the father mouse discovered a fine hoard of cheese in a neighbouring warehouse – only he was too big to get through the gap in the wall. The mother mouse was too large and so were the children. All, except the youngest and tiniest in the family. She wriggled through the gap and brought back a glorious meal to the awaiting family
When it was all over her mother said to her: "You see, my dear, there are some things in life that can only be done by people who are small enough to do them."
Many of us are victims of the cult of size. Within the minds of many people there dwells a complex of bigness. And the results militate against our happiness and our well-being.
Let me set down what seems to me to be some of the delusions of bigness that afflict quite normal and otherwise healthy people.
Delusion No. 1: That happiness resides in some distant goal."I shall be happy," we say, "when…" What the "when" may signify varies from person to person.
I shall be happy when I have passed this examination; when I have married and settled down; when I can afford to buy that car; when I am a corporate CEO; when I have made a name for myself; when…
Each one of us can fill in that final blank for him/herself. The point is that happiness is equated with a distant goal and a bigness that does not attend us here and now.
Not a Goal…
All this is pathetically mistaken. Happiness is not a goal, but a process. It is not arriving at a particular goal, but journeying, that constitutes happiness in life here and now, we are not likely to find it although we double our income, or make a name for ourselves, or drive the most expensive luxury car.
Happiness rests back upon a technique. It depends upon a person's ability to handle life in such away that zest, satisfaction and inner radiance result. To find happiness one must develop the technique. It is useless stalking all upon some mere enlargement of circumstance.
Happiness lies within our selves. It is not essentially in things. Nor is it some distant far-off goal. It follows upon our technique, our inner attitude, our way of handling life day by day, moment by moment. It is only our delusion of bigness that makes us postpone its finding until some enlargement of our circumstances is achieved.
Delusion No.2. That we can give nothing
to anyone unless we have money to buy it.
This is another form of delusion of greatness. Some of the most precious things in life are not to be measured in terms of money at all; they cannot, in fact, be bought for a price.
How much would one pay for a mother's love towards her children? What is the price of loyal friendship? How much must you give for courage, or kindness, or tolerance or even ones' honour? Yet are not these among the most precious things the earth contains?
Courage, loyalty, honest praise, sympathy, goodwill, and friendship- these things are not to be measured by price nor can they be bought for gold. They are free gifts or they are nothing at all.
All of these lie within the power of the poorest of us to bestow. By kindness, by appreciation, by simple praise, we can send someone singing along his way can lift up a depressed mind, give new hope and confidence to a struggling fellow mortal.
Even the so – called great and successful crave in their hearts for just such things as these. They have what money can buy. What they yearn for are the things that money cannot buy.
Many of us are hungry for the things money cannot buy. And, conversely, even the poorest of us, given goodwill in our hearts, can give these unpriced treasures to others. You do not have to be rich in order to give away precious things.
Delusion No.3. In the face of the vastness of world issues, the ordinary undistinguished citizen is of no account. What can the ordinary citizen do, someone asks, in face of world problems? How can he count at all?
The answer to all this is twofold. It simply is not true that, on the political level in a democracy, the ordinary man does not count. All too often he does not care; but if he cares, he will count surely enough.
In the second place, there are areas of experience where no one is ever a nonentity. These are the areas of direct, immediate, personnel relationships, such as the home, the workshop or factory or office, the church, and the social club.
One ungracious spirit can utterly mar a home, an office or a certain society. And a lively spirit having goodwill and a sense of humour, can breed an atmosphere that will infect a whole group that will be motivated in going forward.
Inevitably, inescapably, necessarily, each one of us is making for one or the other. There is no magic by which you can isolate your life, and determine that your influence shall be neutral and indecisive. You are there, in the motley of life and day by day, are the happier, or the more miserable, because you are there at all.