For years, I’ve pondered what the ‘Mona Lisa’ means to other people. I’ve often wondered why people focus on her smile. For me it was never a puzzle. It was simply a thing of beauty. Now I look at her eyes, and I can see years of wisdom in there, wisdom that I am sure she assumed the painter lacked, and there it is in her smile, the one that does not match the expression in her eyes, the encapsulation of her assessment of the situation as she saw it – the futile attempt by the artist at capturing the transient state of being happy. I think I have the answer to the puzzle everyone else is working on. I know I do. I also know that Mona Lisa’s wisdom was absorbed the artist by the time he was done.

A person once asked me how I am able to smile in the face of tragedy. Real tragedy does make you cry. Repeated tragedies make you immune in a way. You sort of develop this relationship with tragedy where you become odd buddies sitting together in a bunker somewhere, cut off from the rest of the world, until someone comes by to check what you are smiling about.

How did the Russians survive years of communism? Were they weeping all the time? How are we collectively dealing with the rapid and continuous onslaught from terrorists? Are we not as terrorized as we should be, just because we smile in-between attacks?

Smiling through tragedy does happen. I know. It happens if you are determined enough. It happens if you are able to escape to a place of hope that cushions the blow. It happens to save your soul.

If you are on the brink, and you stop, you’ve beaten what tragedy is trying to do you, to your soul.

If you tip over, it is over.

Depression is sometimes the demon that taunts you when you do not, seemingly, take tragedy as seriously as society demands. That happy place, even just one, is the state that can prevent a lot of what eats society today. The melee that seeks uniformity everywhere, that seeks to prevent what it cannot understand, is the contributor to the happiness indicator. What is demanded of you, makes you see what is different about you, and from there on, it is a struggle.

What can be even more tragic than having to overcoming personal tragedy? Not being allowed to do it your unique way.

Sometimes the only way to exist, is in the constant state of happiness.