I have been searching for a way to live my life, reaching far and wide for something, anything, that can teach me how to be happy. The search for happiness is so overbearing in our modern world that it’s hard to escape. Self-help books, philosophers and your peers all have their own ideas as to why you’re so unhappy. But, the truth is, the search for happiness is a fools game. By believing in some magic solution we are getting further and further away from the most powerful, and simple goal. Something I have learned in the past few weeks is that you don’t have to search far and wide for that mysterious answer to all your troubles. Sometimes, the solution is sitting right there, in a puddle of his own fat. Sidney, my dog, and my guru, has many lessons to teach. If only he would deem us worthy enough to learn them.
You are meant to be.
This is something I struggle with, because being content isn’t easy. I feel like I am separate from the world, as though I don’t belong here and I have to fight to exist in any meaningful way. The whole human race seems like a blight on the earth, sometimes. It’s like we are invaders of this beautiful land, destroying it for our own pathetic needs.
But then, look to my dog, my guru, Sidney. He is a monstrosity bred through carefully planned genetic modifications. He requires four steroids a day and another pill on top of that just to keep standing. He is as unnatural as any animal could be, the unfortunate result of our meddling with the world. Yet look at him, as he stares at a locked door, unblinking and confused. Watch as he scrunches up his forehead, sweating from the focus (and the excess fat). Observe as he waits, expectant, patient. He believes the door will open, because why wouldn’t it? He is here, and he wishes to pass. The world will surely bow to his wishes, for that is what the world is expected to do. He does not belong on this earth, and yet he acts as though he does, as though he is the most important being in the whole of the universe. In believing it, he has made it a reality.
Somebody will open that door for him. They’ll see him there, glaring, angry his will has not yet come to pass. And then they’ll get to their feet. The door will swing wide. He will march on, continuing to exist, continuing to belong.
Speak, so ye shall know you have been heard.
I feel that throughout my life, I have been misunderstood emotionally and verbally. I have struggled to get through days without bursting into tears, without shouting at those around me to just ask if I’m okay, so I can talk, so I can get the help I need. But I don’t. I remain quiet about my feelings, or I shout them to all who can hear, but in such a way so as it’s never really clear things are effecting me in the way that they have been.
My dog, my guru, does not have this problem. He doesn’t have this problem because he doesn’t wait to be asked. The room will be quiet, silent, even, and the mood sombre. A family fight or a recent death have shaken the household to its core, and to speak feels almost like a sin. We are feeling this, we are all feeling this, and yet we say nothing, for we can’t. It’s an unspoken truth, but a truth nevertheless. We must suffer, and keep on suffering, for what else is there to do?
A gentle rumble fills the room. A shake, barely detectable under normal circumstances. But these are not normal circumstances. Beneath this heavy silence the shake seems almost like an earthquake. There is a certain canine causality that pervades life beneath this roof. If an unexplained event occurs, it is most likely the fault of Sidney, my dog, my guru.
The rumble morphs into a groan, a deep and distant groan from the very bowels of his cancerous insides. The groan grows, filling the room, finding its way into every nook and cranny. A woman, a mother, closes her eyes. The sound has reached her, in that tangible way certain noises can. It has crawled inside her ears and into her brain, it has wrapped it’s tendrils around her spine and started drinking from her bladder. The moan, the grumpy, frustrated moan, is directed towards nothing in particular, but all feel it as deeply as the woman. This animal needs support, and he needs it now.
The woman gets to her feet and stumbles. She knows this house inside out and yet, in her desperation to reach the canine in time, she forgets about the bone on the floor. It slides across the room, and my dog, my guru, looks towards her angrily. His tasty treat is ruined, and his groaning somehow deepens. It is the sound of an inceptionesque base drop, the feeling of dread upon hearing terrible news made sonic, the gasp of terror as a parent drops their new-born from the 12th story window. It is all these things and more, so much more.
The woman’s hands reach the creature. She massages his head, mushing loose skin around until he has a Mohawk. She rubs his belly, as he rolls over reluctantly. She talks to him, even though he didn’t ask her to, even though he wouldn’t be listening, even if he could. The moans grow shrill, then deep, then somewhere in the middle. The room settles. My dog, my guru, has been satisfied.
Lesson Three, Final Lesson.
Watch the stars.
Something beautiful watches us. Something unfathomably large, impossibly detailed, chaos and perfection dancing together in that most magnificent of performances. The sky, at night, is the most incredible thing.
To look up there, at that canvas of shadow and light, is to be aware of somethings profound importance, and yet remain unable to comprehend. With a mortal eye true appreciation for what’s up there, for all those infinite miles of space, is impossible. And yet, he will sit there, my dog, my guru, for hours, just feeling the universe move by.
There’s an emptiness to the usual moments of quiet in life, a sense that nothing is being achieved. That idea is so completely wrong it’s almost laughable. In those moments of calm, when we watch the pink waves of a sunset wash over the clouds, or listen to the irregular pitter-patter of rain call out to us, or notice, really, truly notice each and every blade of grass as it sways loosely in the wind… In those moments, unimaginable miracles are happening each and every second.
A bird, new to this world, new to these senses and these perils, leaps from her nest, falls and falls and fly’s for the very first time.
A wave, lapping weakly against a towering cliff, rolls back into the ocean, regarding the deep chasms millions of years of marching on have achieved.
An asteroid, flailing aimlessly through space, feels the distant pull of something, anything. It has been given a promise, a promise of an end to this vast, desperate flight, a promise gravity intends to keep.
Planets die, and time itself is pushed and pulled, twisted and contorted and consulted and aborted.
Dwarf stars rise and basic physics tell lies and cat’s live/die and babies cry and wonder why…
Jesus, guys, that endless sky…
Just look at it. Just feel the universe go by.
That’s how Sidney does it. Just sit. Wait a bit.
You’ll see the magic soon.
And then you’ll know what to do.
You’ll do what Sidney wants you to.
This has been today’s compulsory reading, Lord Sidney thanks you for your time. The Sidney Theorem shall return tomorrow, as on all days.