I don’t know why I have come into the garden today.
Everyday when I return from training, I go straight upstairs. Today, I didn’t.
Instead of turning right from the gate towards the stairs, I turn left into the garden. I take off my sandals and walk barefoot in the cool, moist grass. The garden lies in the shadow after mid-day. It is dim and has an underlying coolness to it. It seems as if the chill morning mist is still swirling around amongst the flower shrubs. It’s been weeks since I came here and now I don’t want to go into the house. I call for a bean bag.
Within minutes, the world seeps away from me. The bean bag has adjusted itself to create a cradle for me. The thick carpet of grass is lush and cool under my bare feet. It has the exact spiky springiness to it that gives a feeling of indolent luxury. The mad, azure blue of the winter sky stretches endlessly above me; the kind that makes you squint your eyes because you are afraid to look at such purity. The white woolly balls are swimming around in it. It glows with a pure brilliance. The sun is behind my head, on the other side of the house. I sit in a shadow made warm by the sun even though it is not visible. The warmth is not imagined, it is real, it is tangible. I can feel the sun in my nostrils.
How SILENT everything is..! It is so strange, I never realized how silent my home is. It is not a sad silence, it is a silence of peace, beyond the need for words. It is a smiling, contented silence, warmed by the out-of-sight sun. Even though it is not visible, the sun has made the air charged and cozy. The balmy air holds a subtle nip in its folds. It adds another degree to the serenity to the garden. It feels good; very, very good.
I slump in my bean bag, toes entwining in the cool grass. The garden is awash with the fragrance and colors of winter roses. The chrysanthemums are in bud. Laxmi brings a piping hot tankard of tulsi tea made exactly as I like it. The sugar just a hint, the milk barely there. Without being asked, she has also brought the book I had begun to read yesterday. Somehow she always knows which book I am reading even if there are two or three books lying on my bedside shelf. She took away my formal sandals and brought my slippers, placing them near my feet. And I was thinking of sacking her..! I must be out of my mind..!
I close my eyes every minutes or so as I type this. I lift my cup of tea and let its aroma write sagas of bliss on the walls of my soul.
The wars within me are over. With deliberate intent, I have made peace with the warring clans. I have bowed my head in acceptance knowing there are things I cannot change. The acceptance is hard bought, but the pain will be worth the peace. I know that.
I am full to the brim, at last. And I realize something with a shock, as I sit in this silent, fragrant garden, flooded with warm gratitude.
What needs to happen to make me happy?
Nothing needs to happen to make me happy. I am already happy. I am contented. Truly, utterly at peace.
Happiness needs no reason or prop to bring it into existence. Neither another person, nor a pleasant event needs to happen in order to create a state of happiness. Happiness happens spontaneously- without reason, props or specific events. I am perfectly capable of creating that state for myself. Today I know what Johnny meant when he said, “I am happy. I am always happy because I know how to make myself happy.”
The world can neither give, nor take away my happiness. It begins and ends with me. And today, as I savor the beauty of my garden and let it fill my soul, I know it. A feeling of intense love and gratitude fills my being. I close my eyes and thank all those who have given of themselves generously to bring me to this state of inner enrichment.
I love you, life.
Originally written: 4th November 2012.