The Vexing Nature of Sadness

a (1).jpgI occasionally wonder whether sadness is a physical force, not unlike gravity; a force that could be measured scientifically and thus quantified. There seems to be a weight to sadness that isn’t present in happiness, and as of yet I have not been able to isolate why this should be so.

Nevertheless, these mysteries notwithstanding, I suspect—with some foreboding, I might add—that there are physical properties to the sensation of sadness, as if something in the molecules of matter pulls on our hearts in ways that happiness does not and cannot. Maybe happiness is like air, or the atmosphere, while sadness is the gravitational force that holds its particles down.

I don’t know, and I feel rather absurd to even be thinking along these lines. But I do know from my own wretched experiences that sadness weighs more than happiness. Giving in to sadness is the easiest thing in the world. Giving in to happiness is hardly ever an option. We have to fight for our happiness. No one has to fight to be sad.

And yet one redeeming thought does sustain me. Gravity, one of the most powerful forces in the Universe, is thwarted thousands of times in the course of a single a day. Indeed, every time I raise my hand, go for a walk, pick up a book, or bring a glass of wine to my mouth, I am thwarting the pull of gravity. And I do it effortlessly. All it really takes is a movement of the muscles.

And so this question now haunts me: what muscles must I move in my mind to thwart the sadness? Maybe if I could answer that question, the entire riddle of life would suddenly be unlocked.

Taken from my book, The Offbeat Rhythms, Vol. 2

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