We want to be happy. Everyone, everywhere, is trying to find—and hold onto—happiness. We do everything we are supposed to do: diligently follow the instructions, practice the techniques, and still, more often than we should be (given the amount of effort we are putting in) we are unhappy.
We human beings are remarkable creatures, We can do anything we set out
to do. So why not happiness? Why is there such a split between
our desire for happiness and our ability to find it? After many years
of listening to people talk about their failed attempts to hang onto a
state of happiness, I began asking myself the following questions:
is this thing we call happiness? Is it achievable? Is it reliable? Is
it sustainable? If it is, why are we not happy so much of the time?
I looked at the state of happiness, I became intensely aware of
its fragility. When our life circumstances change and we lose the
object that’s been making us happy…poof, our happiness is gone. When
uncomfortable feelings appear within our state of happiness or our
desires change and whatever was bringing us happiness before no longer
works, happiness again disappears. We are constantly acquiring
and losing happiness.
I began to see that it is not our efforts
to create happiness that are flawed, but rather, our choice of happiness
as a goal. Happiness is the wrong goal for this life. For most of us,
happiness relies on our ability to control circumstances that, no
matter how hard we try, we cannot control. For most of us, happiness
relies on circumstances staying the same. Life always changes,
uncomfortable feelings always arise, and what we want is always in flux.
This is the nature of life. The choice of continual happiness as a
pursuit is irreconcilably flawed.
Is there something larger, deeper, more lasting than happiness? Is there a
state of well being that can sustain itself in the midst of the changing
circumstances and emotional shifts that life includes? Is there a way
to feel grounded and well even when the contents of our lives are not?
If so, what shift must we make to create this state that is deeper and
larger than happiness?
When Adam died, I never thought I would ever again feel real happiness. I saw only the bad in the world. I always prepared myself for the worst. I still do. I wait for the other shoe to drop. I would try to smile and pretend that everything was great! I used FOOD to stuff those emotions, and believe me I did that well!
Somewhere along the path I got tired—luckily, tired
of trying to get to peace and happiness, or rather, of getting there
and watching it disintegrate. And with my weariness came an interesting
I got curious about what was actually true. I
stopped trying to do something with what I was experiencing, to change
it in any way, and just let myself see what was there, to experience
what I was experiencing. No longer trying to get to somewhere else, my meditation practice, and consequently my life, could then be what it was,
whatever that meant at any particular moment. It was through this shift
that I began to glimpse a state of being that is radically different
and amazingly okay, a state that is deeper and more eternal than
happiness. Indeed, it was not until I stopped trying to create
happiness—as a way out of now—and started investigating what is here—a
way in—that I discovered a doorway to something far more blissful than
happiness had ever offered.
Normal life is not easy for anyone.
Why then do we expect ourselves to be happy all the time? This foolish
expectation creates tremendous suffering. Rather than trying to hang
onto something whose nature is transitory, we must discover a state of
well being that can withstand and flourish within the inherent volatility
of a human life. We should be grateful for happiness when it is here,
but as a goal for life, it is unwise.
We spend our lives trying
to get to some imaginary there, where happiness awaits. What we don’t
know how to do is to get to here, where we are. We discover wellness
– what I believe we should seek instead of happiness -- when we shift
our focus toward this moment and what is actually here. The secret to
wellness is counter-intuitive: allow whatever is happening inside you to happen.
do anything with it. Feel what you are feeling, hear what you are
thinking, experience what you are experiencing. Let what is moving
though you move through without changing it, judging it, or identifying
with its contents. When you let go of achieving a particular outcome
with your experience and meet your experience, as it is, good or bad,
you will be well. You will uncover the place that relies on nothing and
no one, but is inherently and eternally yours.
Through this journey of weight loss and weight gain I have learned an enormous amount of positive things about myself, as well as negatives. I have embraced them both. Because, I had to learn from the negatives and change them, so that I could continue to grow and find this place of wellness. I had to stop hating myself. I had to stop hating how I look in the mirror, instead I had to realize that by doing the right things, working out, eating right and getting enough sleep, that my body would do the changing for me. It will find it's own Wellness if I let it, and my mind will follow.
Am I successful everyday? Hell no, I am not. Is it what I strive for? Yes, I do. I am much better now than I was even 8 months ago.
Yes, it is a Manic Monday but I have a sense of calm that washes over me, knowing that this too shall pass!