Archive for December 2nd, 2022

The Knowing Light

GC Myers- The Knowing Light sm

The Knowing Light– At Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA

The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.

–William Saroyan

Looking at the new painting shown here on the right, The Knowing Light that is now at the Principle Gallery, I was reminded of the quote above from the late dramatist William Saroyan. I thought a post from 2015 on that quote might fit with this painting as well.

From 2015:

This quote from William Saroyan caught me off guard when I came across it, mainly because it captured in a few words the lesson I had finally gleaned from years of seeking this elusive beast called happiness. And a beast it was, a creature out of mythology. I had made it into a thing that had special powers and was like the Abominable Snowman— rumored to exist but seldom seen.

I discovered over time that this was a mistake.

I was picturing happiness as a once in a life thing, some sort of peak moment, when it was, in fact, just a small part of our being human. The key in Saroyan’s short quote is the word knowing. Once we begin to know who and what we are and are not, the need for peak moments subsides as we understand that there is a sort of happiness in the smaller moments of simply being. It is not a gleeful, heart-pounding joy but a comfortable warm glow and an inner sense of satisfaction that often comes to you at what seems to be the most mundane of moments.

Stopping just now and looking out my studio window, for example. A light snow is falling almost in time to Paul Desmond’s sax that is mingling with Dave Brubeck’s piano, and I sip my coffee. It is gray and almost gloomy, but I feel this glow, this satisfaction in the moment. It is not happiness as most might define the word. It is just a moment of knowing that I exist in the world, that I am here to bear witness to the small wonders that take place around me in my small corner of the universe.

And that’s good enough.

I didn’t include the music in the original blog post and can’t remember exactly what song was playing. But here’s a bit of that Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond magic, Brubeck’s Japan-inspired composition, Koto Song. It has a grace and elegance in its simplicity. Listening with my coffee in hand, I realize that it’s still good enough just being here now, happy in the knowledge that I don’t require happiness.

That’s saying something…

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