June 14, 2014
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
– Saint Augustine
I am typical 22 year old woman. Still living a student’s life, studying, working, and enjoying my life the best I can, all 365 days of the year. I never really cared what came beyond or before that. Ever since I can remember I have been a strong believer in science, rationality and anything that was bound by perfect logic.
On a mundane Monday evening, I was travelling back home in the train with my friends. Out of sheer boredom we started to talk of philosophies to live life by. It started with a comparison of different religious beliefs and narrowed down into whether one should or should not be a believer.
One of my friends had a rather strong opinion; he felt that to live a meaningful life, one has to be a believer. A believer in something; if not ‘GOD’, then perhaps in this magical universe. He then went on to passionately explain how ignorance was bliss and that it was better to believe something blindly, rather than find the reason behind it. Being the stubborn and logically driven person that I am, I argued passionately against every word he said, because in my opinion everything that exists must be bound by logic and if it does not exist one has no reason to believe in it. The debate lasted until we could reach home and towards the end I felt good for having provided perfect arguments against this ignorant plebeian completely bereft of logic. As is the fate of all debates, it died out and was taken over by more important concerns like dinner.
I could never comprehend people who sat down lamenting their fate and waiting for some magical force to solve their problems, Instead of doing something about it or for that matter I was equally dumbstruck when someone who worked hard and thus got rewarded for it, would thank an imaginary entity in the sky rather than credit themselves for it.
A few days later - not very long from the night of the debate, I was having a bad day. Nothing I did turned out to be right, this spell of bad luck continued for a week. My frustrations were getting the better of me. The harder I worked the worse were the results. So I decided to take an evening off to figure out what was going wrong. I dressed up, plugged in music and left my apartment to wander the campus.
I didn’t plan where I wanted to go, which was very unusual on my part. 30 minutes later I found myself at an isolated lake at the far end of my college campus and I sat down on an old wooden, half broken bench. I don’t exactly know the time but the sun was just about to set. I was gazing towards the horizon lost in my thoughts when a man came jogging up to the bench and sat next to me. He asked me casually, “You alright??” I gave a slight node meaning to say something between yes and a no and continued gazing, I was actually annoyed that he had to come and sit on the same bench that I had occupied. In another 5 minutes he spoke again, “It’ll be fine, just enjoy the sunset”, and saying that he got up and left.
I don’t know who he was or what he was doing there but I pondered over his last statement and was a little more annoyed, I was the enjoying the sunset and who told him I wasn’t fine? Was it so obvious on my face? However I decided to bottle up my anger and take his advice, I stopped the music, stopped gazing and for the first time I listened, I observed every tiny detail there. It was so quiet, for a moment I was really scared, I had never experienced so much silence in my life. The gushing water and wind swaying the grass added to the eeriness of the scene. For the first time in my life I saw the beauty of this world, I looked at the sky, there was a burst of colours, the bright yellow of the sun slowly disappearing to form a blood orange disc, moving so slowly. It was perfectly blending with the blue sky, fading away to dark. The mellow sunlight of the setting sun illuminated everything and I had a landscape in front of me that occurred day after day and yet I had noticed it today for the first time. It was nothing less than a masterpiece painted in front of my eyes. It made me smile and all logic failed me. Right there I knew how silly I had been worrying about small things, and somehow I felt everything would be fine. I was filled with an inner peace and I was content, after a span of days I was smiling.
I had no reason or explanation to why I was so happy when everything was falling apart. I thought harder to find a reason and just then I heard a voice, - you don’t need a reason. And it was true I didn’t need a reason, I just had to accept the feeling, the feeling of being content and most importantly being at peace. It was in that moment that I closed my eyes and stopped searching for a reason, I just believed in that one moment.
In that one moment I understood that the true meaning of life was to be happy and that happiness is a state of mind and not a state of being. I became a believer in that one moment that completely stood still for me.