Melancholy of A Beautiful Place

The sun is disappearing below the horizon. The sky is soaked in a whirl of pink and purple. It looks almost like a surrealist painter took his brush to the clouds. Arrows of light splinter through the leaves of the tree you are sitting under as a gentle breeze caresses your skin. It feels sublime, peaceful and serene. You are perfectly content. There is not another thing in the world you would rather have or another place you would rather be.

Then, your skin begins to crawl, your lower lip quivers, you start feeling distressed, upset, even a little bit sick. Only moments ago, you were supremely satisfied, now you just feel sad. You tell yourself that something is wrong with you, but the only thing that is wrong here is failing to identify your feelings and instead labelling yourself as flawed, wrong-headed, or even deranged.

You are not deformed; you are suffering from melancholy. As your attention was focused on the beautiful landscape in front of you, your unconscious had another thought: just how rare it is for you to experience beautiful moments such as these. You are not sad at being a part of this beautiful moment, rather, you are sad that so much of your life is bereft of moments like these.

You are melancholic because it was not until now that you realized how happy you could be, and inversely, how much happiness has been denied to you by the dull monotony of your everyday life. Thanks to the spears of light casting curious shadows on the undersides of the leaves on this tree, you are able to see just how little joy and how much agony fills your day-to-day life.

What you are looking at is not just a beautiful sunset. You are looking at peace, inspiration, equanimity, clarity, and sublimity. These virtues inspire. You are melancholic because these virtues fill your heart now, only to remind you that before that space was empty.

To sit under the tree (or be in a garden, looking at the window at the ocean, or sitting in your fancy hotel room on holiday) and cry in a melancholic state is a testament to the poverty in your hearts and your life, of how much happiness is denied to you. But it is likewise an opportunity to be grateful for the small slice of serenity in a chaotic life; and also a moment to reflect on the absence of joy in our lives and change it.

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