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Monday, September 19, 2011

Manic Monday!!! Where are you?

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: 

What 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?


As 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 development:

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.  

Don’t 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!

1 comment:

MandaPanda said...

Wonderful post! I've been struggling with this. I think I yearn less for happiness and more for peace. Inner be OK with what's going on and not dwell on those things that I have no control over. I'm definitely a work in progress.