Bliss

What is this notion of bliss, this most venerable of a concept? What is it about it that is so unattainable, so desirable, and so fulfilling all at once?

I would argue that the definition of the word is not necessarily the experience of the word; for to you and me, a standardised definition we may come to some agreement upon, but exactly what evokes this state of bliss in us, will undoubtably vary greatly.

So what exactly IS bliss?
Well it seems that bliss is a totality. It is a plenum of total joy, of ecstasy and happiness. It doesn’t have to be loud or abashed (although it can be), but it is not the same as being content – because content almost implies that you have everything you need, to be happy. In that moment, you are sure if you were to think about it, that you have everything you need. But perhaps bliss excels that. Perhaps bliss is an orgasm of what everything that makes you content brings you.

Contentment (as amazing a feeling and notion as it is) seems to come from an experience where you slowly come to realise you have everything you need. You may be aware of the experience or not; but you certainly are in it, for in the duration nothing bothers you.

Bliss; is more of an explosion. It has suddenly come upon me, that I am happy, as happy as I can conceivably imagine being in the moment, and I am overwhelmed by it. It is a cheering moment, a Eureka. It’s having all your desires met or surpassed in the moment, and having nothing else to replace them.

It’s one thing to be sat at home, reading a book, perfectly relaxed on some idle Sunday afternoon with someone you love; but it is quite another to have been trapped in a car in some snowstorm overnight on Saturday, and then walking in the door to the warmth and release of stuffy clothing you were absorbed by, on Sunday morning, realising you have a favourite hot meal waiting for you or ready to be easily prepared, and then suddenly checking your phone to find that you and the same person from before are off all of Monday also. Or perhaps you come to find, through some random monotonous chore, that some memorable item you thought to have lost a long time ago, in fact has been found again. Or perhaps the person of your greatest desires, seems to equally be befallen with you.

The two experiences of content and bliss are wonderful, and arguably the barometer for happiness you should aspire to; but it seems that one is a slow peaceful understanding, while the other is quite a violent event suddenly coming upon you.

And here, I believe is where the interesting part lies. We can agree on the definition of content. We can agree on some standardised understanding of bliss. But, we could rarely agree on the definition of bliss, because bliss is unique… to you, now. What you believe to be bliss, is defined utterly in the moment. It doesn’t have to be the happiest you’ve ever been, because you could find this experience of bliss when you have been made very unhappy by a colleague at work, and then find out simultaneously that this employee has been fired for bullying, and you have received a promotion. So while this moment may not quite compare to a wedding day, the birth of a child, or the realisation of some life long dream; relatively, it was the happiest you could conceivably imagine being at that moment. And you got it.

These unique, rare little moments, that seems to come too few and too far apart – you got one.

And so, by its nature, as fast as it arrives, it may dissipate. Just as some kind of detonation seems to cause its damage at its inception, and then seems to leave rather quickly. Fleeting as all things are, unfortunately this state of bliss will leave, because eventually you will conceive of new things, in a new moment, that could bring you new happiness. But if the moment is kind however, it will dissipate slowly and not all at once. And you will be left with this slow, after-climax, that you can enjoy. And if you find yourself very appreciative, and understanding, you may transition that moment of bliss, into content, and by its very definition, be perfectly happy with all that you have.

And that, is a most wonderful thought to think.

With all of the above in mind; I ask you specifically… What is bliss?

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it alone.

No matter what it is; or how you feel; if you are right or wrong; or if you feel you are too far along. Whether the outcome will be a success or a failure; whether you will be forgiven or not; whether things can go back to the way they were or not; whatever you are going through – you do not have to do it alone.

Loneliness is such a hauntingly beautiful concept; because it’s so ironically universal. It’s something that unites us all together. We have all felt alone.

Sometimes in a dark room, with a beer or a glass of wine on something resembling a table in front of you, you will feel alone. As you monitor friends and family, who seem to be having fun. Perhaps you’re sitting and wondering who that person you think about, is thinking about. And maybe you’re wondering why they aren’t here beside you.

Sometimes, shoulder to shoulder, or on a busy street, you will feel so alone. As no one looks your way, or perhaps that they do and choose to stay at a distance. Perhaps it’s even one of those times, when people are talking to you; but the words they say and the ways they relate to their life and yours around them, you would be better off talking to a lion who has been taught your native tongue – for your two frames of reference are so far apart you no longer understand each other.

Sometimes it’s our own pride that brings about our true sadness. The thought that we should be able to shoulder the weight of the world, for this is what makes us strong and tough. This is a fallacy. A whisper that loneliness will repeat in your ear for hours on end. If you have convinced yourself this is true, then know this instead. It is not brave, to accept burden alone. It is not more dignified, or more humble, to pretend the world does not beat you down, and get the better of you on some days. Or perhaps for weeks or months on end.

This is the cruelty of life. It does this to everyone. If you believe you are the only person who asks for help, and are convinced that others you know to be calm and collected never ask for help; you are mistaken. What they really do, is share the load. They distribute the bombardment amongst those they trust, whom they hold dear. And in return, when they can, they offer kindness, love, and reciprocation. They offer an ear, and a shoulder, when it is their burden to do so.

This, I would wager, is not opinion, but fact. Four people carrying 100 kilograms of weight on their shoulders seems reasonable. But one person carrying the same weight, will injure or tire themselves after not too long at all. Remember this; it’s science.

Sometimes the hardest part, is that it seems as though there is no one to even accept your requests for help. It’s a friend, who knows you’re alone, and is unwilling to alter their behaviour to accommodate you. Which arguably is the only thing worse than being alone or being sad. Being alone, and someone else knowing you’re alone. Someone else being perfectly aware of it, and yet choosing not to act upon it. It feels as though no one would care.

But someone does care. People who contact you without a reason to do so. They care about your day, for the sake of hoping it was a happy one, and nothing else. Do not forget them, or their kindness, even if they are not the person you wish was bringing it to you. They can bring some light into your life, as long as you let them. Loneliness is only a darkness. People are not further away; you just cannot see very far in front of you. Or how far your sphere of connection stretches.

Put it does not matter if it is a trick – because it feels so real, to you. It feels empty. When you are scared of what you may find beyond your vision. And your fingers shake, and your arms wave all around you hoping to find someone there, to hold their hand and pull it closer. To feel their warmth against yours, even if they too are afraid.

Whatever makes you afraid; whatever in the future scares you – don’t do it alone. Don’t push those away whom you do find in reach. If they call to you, call back.

And if no one answers – call for me. I will follow you into the dark.

Stochastic

adjective: stochastic
  1. having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.

What this effectively means, is that while we can retroactively analyse that 70% of people who suffered from X succumbed to Y; we cannot say guarantee that 70% of people who suffer from X will succumb to Y.

This is why, mathematically, you should not let something with a small chance of success stop you just because of its likelihood to succeed.

“If something is important enough you should always do it. Even if the expected outcome; is failure.”

It scientifically, succinctly, with supporting evidence, suggests how important it is not to give up on something. How odds are important, only to the mass – not to the individual.

Equally, it humbles the self.

By the same logic, that which is overwhelming likely to work in your favour; may not. Not because you’re bad, or because you made a foolish decision – but because even if something has a 99.9% probability of happening, it still by definition requires 0.1% of people for it not to happen to, or for. And when it is you who finds themselves in the latter percentile, you will be acutely aware that percentage of probability offered you no benefits. You were tarred, by the fact that statistics mean nothing to the individual.

No matter how good a decision you make, or how bad a decision you make, it can go the other way. No because it was the right or wrong thing to do, but because an immeasurable number of other factors had an effect on that decision, which you could not possibly measure or account for. Differences that on their own are negligible, but together if they hit that sweet spot, it can just work out for you, or not.

It’s all chance.

The chance that you’ll fall madly in love. The chance you’ll get your dream job. The chance you’ll be hit by a car tomorrow morning, or that the world will be obliterated by some passing celestial body. The trivial decisions, and the grand. Use chance to share a little kindness, and compassion in a world that appears to grow more grey by the day. Be that one light, turning for all to see, in weathering storm.

So when you see someone on the street, shivering in the cold of the winter, or with chattering teeth from the damp of their sleeping bag that covers them on the ground – be kind. They could have made every possible good decision on the planet, and still been that 0.1% whom it did not work out for. In return, be the 0.1% who stops. Who shows a little compassion, care, and much needed unconditional love.

If you think you are affected by the anxiety of this world, if you fear the next day or if you cry when no one is around, imagine how they must feel. Heartbroken to not have the one they love have their arms around them, and the warmth that comes with it. To be affected by mental illness that comes with the trauma of living on unforgiving streets. To feel unwanted.

You, no matter how clever, how forward thinking, how prepared, or how entitled you believe yourself to be – are not so far separated from the man on the streets. Do not think yourself more important.

You are never too important, to not be kind.

These words may not hit you – they may not break your heart as intended. But if you fall into the 0.1% whom it does hit, I hope you fight with yourself in the night tonight, and decide to do something better. Stochastically, some of you should. But I hope more of you do.

I’ll have to leave it up to chance.