I may not believe in heaven or hell or some all powerful God but I’ve always believed in a place of innate beauty and peace. We first learn about the tales of religion when we are young. For me, the first brush stroke of my painting of faith was delivered by my first grade teacher. Christianity was the drink of choice in my school and so all I knew of religion, until I was 12, was The Bible. My teacher, who’s name and face have faded but who’s voice still stays clear in my mind, taught us the usual heaven and hell spiel and the origin story of Jesus – as if he were a character in x-men – before she got on to the good part. Adam, Eve, and Eden.
She spoke of Eden as if it were the end all to be all, the universal cure, the key to happiness. This beautiful garden full of plush, deep green trees. The most succulent fruit to ever be discovered. The placeholder for peace and serenity and true happiness. So naturally, being an easily influenced child, I took her words as truth. I kept with me this place that held the key to all happiness.
The problem with this, I discovered later in life, is that the door to happiness is never locked. I had just placed a ten foot stainless steel block in front of my door.
Even though, as I got older, I became doubtful in the existence of God. I still to this day have no idea how to answer the question; Does God exist? But that’s a whole other article. You see, even as I became more aware of reality and stepped away from religion. I never truly disillusioned myself from this place of answers.
This Garden began to not only hold happiness but take away the happiness I barely held onto anyway as a confused kid. Every time I found a relationship I thought would be ‘forever’, in all my naivety, I would destroy it because it didn’t feel like enough. I was never happy enough. My relationships, and jobs, and I were never a match for this image of how peace and happiness and LIFE should be in my mind. I walked into the ring already beaten my Eden. It became an almost tangible all consuming force that drove me to resent those around me for not being enough.
You see, Eden was never Eden, but a metaphor for my total and complete self-inflicting inadequacy. We are brought up to look for ways to better ourselves in all aspects of our lives. To a certain extent, that is a positive. It’s good to want to be a better person, healthier, kinder and help others. But as humans, we never really got the hang of moderation. So we desperately seek to become better than we could possibly become in impossibly short time frames. We seek perfection. And just like Eve did by grabbing the apple, we end up destroying ourselves unintentionally by trying to have more than we can or need.
We have to find the strength inside ourselves to be satisfied as in rather than constantly wasting away until we reach a perfection that doesn’t exist. Here or in the Garden.
To sum up what I’m trying to say I think we should all come in my mind that happiness is only achievable when we let peace be peace and not a goal.