I guess I did change this year. And that makes me happy. But I will be happier if I change more, I am sure.
I did, in fact, have a happy birthday. But then again virtually all my days have been happy for years and years now. For a while this worried me, as I was thinking I would have to suffer in the afterlife for being happier than I deserved in this life.
Reading the books of Ryuho Okawa convinced me logically that some happiness is a natural result of making the right choices (even if, in my case, there was a lot of help to make me do so). I don’t simply take this on faith, there was a solid body of reasoning that I could check for myself. My heart agrees with it as well.
On the other hand, reading about the lives of saints has shown me that some of my more superficial joy is indeed misguided and needs to wither and die. This refers to enjoyment I get from worldly entertainment, such as computer games, and from allowed sense pleasures such as delicate food. For the inner, deeper happiness to increase, my “center of gravity” needs to move further inward. So hopefully my 54th year will be marked by this. I am not made of saint material, really, so who knows how much progress there will be, if any. But that is the direction in which I am looking.
My experience from the past (and I have a lot of past, now!) is that as my center of gravity moves inward, certain parts of my life start to wither and die naturally, without Â a lot of whining like when one slaughters a pig. It is more like when you look at old trees, you see they no longer have the lowest branches, which younger trees have, and the lower branches that remain are sometimes already dead, otherwise rather bare and seemingly bound for death. But new branches are growing higher up. It is a natural process. It is something similar here, I think. Â I just passed by the stacks of comics that I still have left (having gotten rid of large heaps of these each time I moved) and I was like, what are these doing here? So that is good. Â I don’t go around think “Oh noes, I have to give up my comics or God will punish me in Hell!” – in fact, I have bought a few digital ones this fall and winter – but the emotional attachment has been fading for years and still does. I have other interests now.
So that makes me happy. It would be sad if nothing happened and I just stayed the same, even if it was a cheerful same. It is better that I grow a little each year, even if it means some branches close to the earth are withering and dying.