“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence, but in the mastery of his passions.”
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the Poet Laureate of England from 1850 to 1892, which is the year he died. Despite being a poet of the Victorian Era, Tennyson’s work leans greatly towards Romanticism.
Yet again, today’s post does not seek to analyse Tennyson’s poetry, instead it recognises the significance of the above quote.
Imagine life as a hollow circe with a large void within its boundaries. What fills this void, which is not a transient fill? Happiness comes and goes, like the waves of the ocean. It rolls in when it is supposed to, and when the time is right, it leaves. It is not possible to stagnate the waves of the ocean. A stagnated ocean is synonymous with a murky pond lacking any form of dynamism. This segment of collected waters from the ocean has lost their wonderful talent to form waves.
I parallel this with happiness. Life is full of events, both good and bad. Some cause happiness, and some do not. But when a moment passes, all it leaves behind is its memory. If this moment were to be captured, and lived several times over, it would lose its characteristic of causing happiness.
This way, several instances enter the void of life’s circle, and in the due course of time, every one leaves. But happiness is often proclaimed to be a state of mind, is it not? It is the state of mind caused by internalising certain events both mental and physical. These events leave behind a memory of happiness, rather than the happiness itself.
However, this question does not answer how we can maintain a happy sensation permanently in the void. This is the juncture when passion reveals itself as the answer.
Passion for an activity, or passion for living life itself, is causal of happiness. This is the happiness which translates to joy. Events continue to come and go, and continue to cause and withdraw happiness. However raw joy is only attainable with the attainment of passion.
Taking this conclusion further, I would like to state that happiness and passion are in fact, one and the same. Without having a passion to be happy, one cannot be happy. This passion for joy turns to the latter itself. One may have a passion for music, writing, sport, or all else, yet if he does not have a passion to be happy – the will to be happy, he will not be happy. So happiness is a state of mind, but this state of mind is truly, and earnestly brought about, only if passion precedes it.