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Two Types of Happiness


Happiness seems seductive and deceptive, attractive and dangerous. For, often, what we desire brings us disgrace, and what we fear makes us happy. Sometimes, we prefer to cling to disgrace, because it seems safe and greater, or because we consider it as innocence or as merit, or because we see it as a pledge of future happiness. So, perhaps, we despise happiness as ordinary or as transitory and brief. Or we fear it as guilt and betrayal, as an affront or as a prelude of disgrace.


In the past, when the gods still dwelt close to human beings, two singers named Orpheus lived in a small town.

The first Orpheus was the renowned inventor of the kithara, the precursor of the guitar. When he touched the strings and sang, all nature was enchanted. Ferocious animals lay quietly at his feet, and the tall trees bowed to him. Nothing could resist his singing. As he was so great, he asked for the hand in marriage of the most beautiful woman. Then the decline began.

While he was still celebrating his wedding, his beautiful Eurydice died, and the cup broke the moment it was toasted. But for the great Orpheus, death was not yet the end. Using his exquisite art, he found the entrance to the Underworld, descended into the realm of shadows, crossed the river of forgetfulness, passed through the hellhound, presented himself alive to the throne of the god of death and touched him with his singing.

Death released Eurydice, but on one condition. Orpheus was so happy that he didn’t notice the trick behind the favor. He returned the way back, hearing the steps of the beloved woman behind him. They passed the hellhound unharmed, crossed the river of oblivion, started out in the direction of the light, and saw it in the distance.

Then Orpheus heard a shout - Eurydice had stumbled. He turned in horror, saw the shadow disappear into the night, and he was alone. Out of his grief, he sang his farewell song: “I lost it, all my happiness is gone! “

Still he himself escaped the realm of death and saw the light of day again, but he had lost all its flavor. When some drunken women wanted to take him to the new wine party, he refused, and crazy with revenge, they tore him to pieces. So great was his misfortune and so useless was his talent. But everyone knows him.


The other Orpheus was unknown. He was just a traveling

musician who performed at small parties, played for humble

people, rejoiced a little and had fun with it. As he could not

living by his art, he learned a common craft, married an ordinary woman, had common children, eventually sinned, was happy in a totally ordinary way, died old and satisfied with life.

But nobody knows him - except me!



Bert Hellinger, Insights Lectures and Stories (2002) pg 107


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