Is happiness a choice?
It is not. Happiness is not a decision as I watch such affirmations in “self-help” videos and spiritual/psychological writings. Although those things are produced with good intention, they lack depth.
It is amazing how little we know ourselves.
The mind, the will to make a decision (which is another mind driven activity) has nothing to do with FEELING happy.
Let us say that I make a “decision” to be happy. Then, as the day goes on many things will happen out of my control: Relationships, unforeseen circumstances, health issues, etc. Little by little, my “decision” will be forgotten and frustration will set in, for “my” control is gone.
Despite remembering “my decision” in the face of adversity; I will find out that I could look “cool and happy” in the outside but inside it will be a repression of a “bad” emotion. Many make themselves “believe” (mind) that they are happy when they “remember,” (mind) but that is a fake position.
Happiness is related with stable emotions. That is the outcome of having gone through the emotional healing process and the recognition of FEELINGS as the main engine of living Life.
Happiness then is a natural outcome, something which is experienced without reason, without a cause, without forcing a decision or a choice.
Happiness is the path of leaving the mind as the pilot of our lives, and embracing the “heart,” feelings.
As most individuals spend their times thinking rather than feeling, then unlearning that sort of “progress” dictated by our modern world, will be necessary to re-learn to feel.
Feeling the “now.”
When things appear to be against us, the perception of the mind is relentless: “It looks bad. There is no hope. Why me?” That “weather forecast” of the mind will have a snowball effect.
When I believe it, emotions will cement the perceived disaster. It could become a trauma through repetition, for the mind is engaged in repetition or avoidance. The mind works in those extremes.
Can there be perception without using the mind as reference? Indeed.
That is what is called to “live in the now.” It is a no-mind perception. How do I know that?
The “now” has no tense or time. The mind lives in the past, the future or the present as in “today.” That is a long present indeed. Never in the “now.”
When we understand this, our perception can be driven by feelings. This is not the feeling or emotion about something outside “me,” for that requires the interpretation of the mind.
That pristine feeling colors my attitude in Life.
When we forget the mind, we forget “our” problems. Forgetting in this context means, to allow for feelings to appear.
The mirror of Life
“The way life treats you is a merciless mirror image of your attitude toward life.” -Unknown
Attitude is colored by our feelings. Thus, what we feel is reflected back at us. Many believe that thoughts are the origin of what Life will give us back, thus the following quote:
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” – Ernest Holmes
What is harder to change, a thought or a feeling? I could think about something in a negative way and change it into a positive thought. That is the premise of “positive thinking.” However, when we feel for or against something with a certain degree of intensity, that will not be easy to change. Our attitude is emotional, feeling based first which is then cemented by thought and then expressed through words and behaviors.
“Reflection is the business of man; a sense of his state is his first duty: but who remembereth himself in joy? Is it not in mercy then that sorrow is allotted unto us?” – William Shakespeare
When we have an idea or an opinion formed as a result of meditation, we say that we are reflecting. However if our psychological stage or emotions are not harmonious, our reflection will be inaccurate. Harmony may be described as joy, but the point is to observe that as we are aligned with disharmony, then that will be the reflection back at us. We could experience the consequence of acting based on an inaccurate perception/reflection as sorrow; which is the way Life reminds us to change.
“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” – Thomas Merton
The “other” is a reflection to show us what we like and dislike about ourselves. Thus, when we allow others to be as they are, we are also that openness. Love starts there. To accommodate another to fit our perception of likes and dislikes only reflects our own narcissistic egotism. There is no love there, but another opportunity to look at ourselves and hopefully, change.
*** Will resume writing on December 16th. Until then!!
What does it mean to feel ?
Just like the word “energy,” when the word “feeling” is mentioned, that word can mean many things.
We feel pain. We feel love. We feel the breeze of the air. We feel anxiety. We feel cold. We feel fulfilled. All those “feelings” do not have anything in common. Some are related with physical senses, others with the mind and yet others are mostly subjective, according to personal experience such is the case with love or peace.
What do we mean when we say that we could relate with Life through feelings and not the mind?
That is a hard question to answer for it depends on our experience and observation of the mind. Most humans at this time, are completely plugged in with their minds, completely identified with it as “I,” thus Life will be only experienced through their mind.
Therefore, someone who only “knows” and experiences Life through ideals, definitions, explanations and concepts, is not able to feel in Life, for feeling is not of the mind.
Some have made a separation between the mind and the “heart,” identifying the heart as the center of feelings. However, this has brought further misunderstanding, as many think the heart is a romantic place left for artists, which is disconnected from ‘reality.’
There is the feeling of emotions which is the typical center of perception of artists, and there is the feeling of sentiments, which are not part of duality. In short, an emotion is duality a sentiment is not.
When we look at the innocent face of a baby or when we reconnect with someone who we haven’t seen for a long time, there is an unrehearsed “feeling” which will feed us, that is we will feel “good” and wholesome for a moment until the mind appears with thoughts and inner chatter. That sensation which is unexpected, legitimately unrehearsed could be a description of a feeling.
Why is it so important to feel? Because fulfillment in Life is through feeling. The mind is not capable of being fulfilled. Humans are looking for fulfillment in Life. That is the basic premise of living.
Our actions, our responses are utterly conditioned. “Hi! How u doing? Good? Great! Good to see ya!” For most that common interaction is completely coming from the mind. Typically, we do not mean what we say but it is a rehearsed, accepted, socially correct and desired behavior.
Feeling through sentiments brings calmness, well being in connecting with another and Life.
We may need to be aware of this to reduce the influence of the mind, for otherwise; we may live a completely unfulfilled life. Although we may have accomplished many things in society, our minds will not allow us to sense fulfillment. The mind is driven to go for more. To accomplish the ultimate experience, believing that once we arrive there, then we will be happy. But that time never arrives, and that is a blessing for an overworked mind, for otherwise a mental breakdown may appear. “I arrived but it is not as I thought. I wasted my Life. I ‘feel’ empty handed.”
Another name for “feeling” could be “No-mind.” When there is an experience of no-mind, the “problems” created by our minds are not. Thus, we can observe with freshness and without the filter, or veil of worries and unfulfilled wishes. Through no-mind, the fulfillment of the moment (now) has satisfaction, while our anxiety for “solutions” in the mind world remains. Observing that contrast will show us our path.
Reasoning kills our feelings. Have we observed that?
Controlling your thoughts
There is a significant amount of information dealing on how to control thoughts, negative thoughts, destructive thoughts, etc. It is conspicuous, that most individuals are dealing in one way or another with mental issues.
There was one talk I heard on “Youtube” promising to stop negative thoughts by using a simple “technique,” a “method of self-inquiry” easy to remember.
These talks or books on controlling the mind have “methods,” “techniques,” which are mind constructs. In simple words: Stop your mind by using your mind. It is the battle of dividing the mind into two sides, the “good” controlling mind over the “bad” misbehaving one. Is that fictitious division possible? Only in our minds.
Perhaps many individuals are interested in “easy methods” to stop even for a little while their abusive minds. Yes, we can force ourselves to “remember” something such as a mantra, a phrase, even “God,” and experience that our rush of thoughts, have diminished or stopped. However, such person still has mental issues, those are still unchanged. The mind represented by the “I” is being forced to comply to what it has established itself to be “good,” desirable.
I find the same “methodology,” when men are looking to “improve” their sex performance (last longer.) They may find information in the Taoist tradition or in Tantra; but many are not interested in exploring the extent of those traditions; they just want the “method,” the “technique” for sex right away. That is another characteristic of an ill mind: Forget the process and cut to the bone, for “I” want results now; whereas Life works through gradual natural changes.
Nevertheless, the “I” has found a problem and wants the “solution” now. This practice of forcing an outcome in ourselves without looking at the big picture, is detrimental to our well being.
What is the “big picture”? The mind and sexuality are not isolated manifestations in a human being, there is interrelation. Those changes happen according to the level of consciousness of an individual, what he IS. Those are mere consequences of BEING something thanks to psychological traumas, repressions and violence as such; any self-study, any self-observation and acknowledgement of the whole human experience will bring change.
Otherwise; individuals may find a temporary solution but that is a bandage in a deep wound. Can a disturbed mind find a solution by using that same mind? No.
How not to use the mind then? That question may change our approach. Let us meet Awareness. There is not much that I can say about it, or to define it, but we could try a brief description.
When we become conscious on how our mind moves, what triggers it and how the mind relates with emotions and feelings. Those are “steps” in awareness.
Most do not want to bother with this self-study, but rather want for someone to give them the “answer,” the “technique,” the “method” and follow it, hoping to “solve” the particular issue. At least, that is the theory.
The mind is not an object to be defined. There is nothing concrete about the mind other than the fact that we experience it on a daily basis. I could read a self-help book on how someone dealt with his ill mind, but there are many blanks in that explanation that we will need to discover ourselves. Self-awareness, observation are the main “tools” for that. There are no shortcuts when dealing with our inner world.
If we are not aware, we will totally identify with the contents of the mind, going from “my” mind to finally completely identifying with it, and saying: “I.” It is that small step in identification, the one offering more problems to us.
In my own experience, the best setting to start our own mind observation is Nature. We may need the supporting environment and sensory upliftment brought by Nature. Outside the world of “progress and madness,” we could take our minds away from its dull, repetitive environment and that newness will allow us to sense better what is going on.
Emotions are expressed in our bodies but the mind triggers the recognition; thus emotions are strongly related with the mind. However, feelings are pretty distinct. Take the feeling of joy or peace. Those are states of BEING which are not necessarily related with the mind.
It is in the experience of feelings how the mind could be recognized and left aside.
I discovered benefit in listening to music without lyrics, instrumental music.
That will bring feelings. The mind has no opportunity to enter in the appreciation of music unless we compare, or if we try to explain or describe the sounds through words. Lyrics in music will bring words and consequently, the mind.
Most are so disconnected with actual feeling, believing that they are feeling when in fact it is the mind processing words and describing a feeling to itself to make us believe that we feel. The well known phrase: “I THINK I love you,” speaks for itself. How is love related with thinking? Can the mind ever know what love, a feeling is?
Reasoning kills our feelings. Thus, the mind kills our feelings. Without being able to feel; there is no opportunity to go beyond the mind.
The “proof” of feeling
A human being is surrounded by fields of distinct “energies.” I wish there was another word to describe the subtle which is in constant movement, whose influence is always there even though few can perceive them. “Energy” has a physical connotation. “The capacity to do work” it is said; but that has nothing to do with the subtle fields. Thus, I would use the word “subtle energy” to refer to this.
Why is this subtle? Because it is imperceptible for many.
“Spirituality” received its “way out there” stereotype when referring about things which couldn’t be proven to exist. Economics are proven to exist even though artificially created, but subtle energies cannot be proven for not everyone is capable to tune into them.
Why is there some who could perceive subtle energies and others cannot?
That is a matter of sensibility. In some countries, megaphones are used to sell fruits, vegetables an widgets; although, there is a law prohibiting annoying noises, the law is seldom enforced for the majority of individuals out of “convenience” (laziness,) would prefer to buy from these people as they drive by their homes. These “buyers” are used to great noise. It doesn’t bother them. Nevertheless, their sensibility to more sophisticated and educated ways to hear, will suffer. The same example holds true with the perception of subtle energies.
If we take care of our mental, physical and emotional health; then our odds to FEEL subtle energies will increase. The recipe of “wholesome health” has been provided by many systems, religions and philosophies; however, our society does not support “wholesome” but the opposite through unhealthy practices in the name of “improving the economy,” which I will not discuss here but I am sure, many are aware of.
Few individuals will gain sensibility.
Those with the ability to FEEL, are better equipped to understand how these subtle energies influence the behavior of human beings.
FEELING is a subjective “proof” until the collective consciousness agrees. We could feel emotions, feelings, subtle energies, which will give us a different picture and explanation than the one offered by reason and logic alone based on the perception of the “normal” senses.
Consider this: Life is on the side of FEELINGS. Our society values reason and logic alone. The outcome of FEELING Life is fulfillment. The outcome of reason and logic alone is to “be right.”
There is a huge difference. To “be right” doesn’t give fulfillment, ego perhaps and fear but we don’t feel lively, at peace which is what FEELING does.
Love, harmony, peace are felt not reasoned or thought out. There is no thinking involved. Do we see the issue? Reasoning kills our feelings. Our society mostly lives in the head. Thinking, reasoning, analysis, logic, etc. all of that is highly valued, but we cannot FEEL.
Have we ever seen someone playing a musical instrument by memory? (funny, we say by “heart”) That person knows the structure, the notes, the timing; but there is no music in what he plays. Unless, he puts his FEELING there.
What do we value in Life? The economy, the market, the six figures job, income…. All mind. Nothing wrong with that; but we cannot be fulfilled in Life because the mind knows no satisfaction. It is always looking for what is next, in the future or remembering the past. The mind cannot be in the “now.” The mind sings “I can’t get no (satisfaction).”
Life is balance and the new challenge in society is to put the mind in its “right” place which is behind FEELINGS, that is if we are interested in encouraging a wholesome human being who experiences love, peace and harmony. That human will be able to FEEL what most cannot at this time. On the other hand, a highly effective human taught to add and subtract like a computer and to calculate his movements as to avoid making “mistakes,” will not know what is like to FEEL fulfillment in his Life.
By feeling the outer subtle energies we could perceive how these will affect others and the self. By feeling the inner world we could know our intentions.
Why is that important?
I will be succinct. The “choice” is fear or fulfillment. Put your mind in the accumulation of things, add “gifts” to your personality to become “better” than others, to “succeed” in Life; fear of losing those things is unavoidable. The mind believes in “improving,” but that improvement is only accumulation. It is building the outer layers of the self. Here is the catch. Spiritual “improvement” does not come out of accumulation but in diminishing the outer layers to go into the root of the onion. Thus, when we go over the fear of losing, we gain.
How can we go over fear of losing unless we experience what is like to lose?
That requires a logical, reasonable answer from the mind. 🙂
The shortcomings of Logic
Our society praises logic and reason as a way to gather objective “reality.” Logic becomes the tool to discover if something is “right” or “true.”
Humans have created a society with structure, where something logical could be enforced.
That is right, logic is another ideal of our society. Life is not logical at all. Have we experienced that?
The ways that we try to understand Life are typically the ones taught to us, passed to us by the educational system. It is almost as if we have built our own little world of ideas, supported by dualistic language which do not have the ability to describe the amplitude of Life, but only to make partial, inaccurate references.
What is the logic behind a “good man” experiencing a terrible death?
A “good man” according to who? What do you mean by a “terrible death”?
What is the logic of hunger in the world? Aren’t humans working together to help each other? How long would it take?
Life is not logical. In our society, we have made it to appear as logical. That reminds me about the “logical song” by Supertramp. The ability to feel without the interruptions of the mind is the trademark of a child. A “reasonable” man has so many things to THINK about. The joy of life is taken away.
Logic, reason… Those mental tools have transformed the lives of so many “professionals.” They are efficient, they have degrees, they are comfortable, well off, but not fulfilled. Emotionally they may not be able to connect to another human being, although that one may be physically close; emotionally there is a huge distance.
Without emotional connection, there cannot be fulfillment.
Observe how Sexuality has been transformed into physical pleasure. Sex without emotional connectivity is in fashion. It is more efficient, less complicated. It is practical. Logical. The desire of not “getting involved” brings at the same time, a sense of missing something.
Life requires our complete involvement at every moment.
Logic and reason scrape the surface of “reality,” but yet most believe that “truth” is in them.
Life offers so many experiences which reason is unable to see.