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.
Notes on Quotes: Greed, Wealth and what truly counts in Life.
“Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? –Milton Friedman
Economic systems of the world have greed as their main engine, no matter what ideal or philosophy they represent, for greed is within most humans at this time. Therefore, greed is the kernel, the cause behind every motivation to “succeed” in economic systems. As long as there is greed, there will be division: China, Russia, USA, etc. are merely mental divisions with non existent borders but with all the limitations that man has made. A human being is the same species on Earth, but our minds have used all sorts of divisions to create the “me against you” paradigm. Friedman asks ‘what is greed?’ With all the degrees, intellectual studies and science in existence, the basic engine of the economy hasn’t been studied yet. Greed is the division of rich and poor. Greed is the existence of hunger in the world. Greed is the pollution of the Earth. Greed is the need to compete with another to accumulate wealth, power and status. Through that greed all that really matters is ‘I,’ and then my group; known as ‘we’ against the rest. Greed is that compulsive need to conquer and make everyone subservient of self created interests.
Isn’t human history made mostly of human greed? History of the World may be covered with pretty words and colorful stories but nonetheless, there is human greed behind it. It is in the acknowledgment and personal observation of greed, how we could find that the common good is mostly missing in our stories to become “someone” in life.
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” –Henry David Thoreau
When that capacity to fully experience Life is missing, then fear and greed arrive. Most humans have created a mental barrier, that is a comfort zone which is unable to accept change. Life being change in itself is denied. Our quest for security arrives and we close the doors to anything our minds recognize as losing the status quo. The full experience of Life is the experience of duality. When we have that capacity to ‘go with the flow’ in the river of Life, then we will be prepared to experience the ups and downs of the journey as interesting and challenging episodes, rather than traumas and mental tantrums made whenever Life goes the opposite way of our desires or hopes. It is in that ability to experience Life in its whole range, how wisdom appears and; there is no greater wealth than that.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” –Albert Einstein
In the world created by the mind, we have the tendency to count everything:We count the number of paper money we have as sign of wealth, we count the possessions we have, we count the number of birds in a flying formation, we count how many times we have sex or how many times we can ejaculate or have an orgasm. Those statistics are meaningful in most minds to compare with another and demonstrate how much better or worse off they are. But those things may not count. However, happiness, peace and joy are feelings which count in our experience of a fulfilling Life regardless of everything else that we could mentally count, but yet; we cannot count those feelings.
Notes on Quotes: Success, who we are, omnipresence
“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”
― Swami Vivekananda
The word “success” is open to many interpretations. For that reason “true success” is an open door. In this quote, Vivekananda wanted to highlight one side of unselfishness which is to ask for no return when DOING “good.” For the beginner in spirituality, this quote deserves to be “practiced.” The end result being someone who is practicing something as a means to obtain something else, that is our own self gratification for we have “achieved” some sort of perceived unselfishness.
If I discover that I am selfish, then I want to be unselfish and thus, I will follow Vivekananda’s advise and “practice” not to ask for return. Now, after a few or many of those practices, I can call myself “unselfish” and “successful.” Is that so? Not a chance.
Unselfishness cannot be defined or put into a concept. Someone unselfish will not “practice” or rehearse in his mind the deed that he is to perform and the way that he will behave after the action has been completed. That is completely artificial. Also, Life may present situations when asking for a return is necessary. Life is not a static formula to be applied in all situations.
Unselfishness comes naturally when we realize that the “other” is also “me.” (See the third quote below) It is in that unity when there is no need to define “success,” for a natural act is only a reflection of who we truly ARE.
In the meantime; while that consciousness is not there in mankind, we could continue with our “practice” according to Vivekananda, and label ourselves whatever we wish. Obviously, it is better than DOING nothing.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Does it truly matter what label we think we ARE? (spiritual, bodily, astral, metaphysical, multidimensional, etc.) Paradoxically, what matters is to find out “who we ARE:” That is what we emit in Life, give in Life, for we could find out how we are contributing with Life. It is in under the observation of our relationship with other protagonists of Life, how we find who we ARE by ourselves; as long as we are aware of our thoughts, deeds and feelings. That is the most important finding beyond any sacred belief or dogma that we could ever engage in. In a nutshell, what we ARE is what we emit on a daily basis: Thoughts, words, deeds and of course, feelings. Could it be otherwise?
According to society, deeds alone will define us, but that is self deception. A “politically correct” lie to ourselves and others. A deed which is good, moral and with extensive benefit to all; comes from BEING first, which is in alignment with what we FEEL and think. That action is wholesome, honest and thus, will elevate our state of consciousness. For example, I could donate money to others. Society will praise that. I may get to be known as a ‘saint.’ However, my BEING is greedy and power hungry. I did that because I wanted a tax benefit (thoughts) and the admiration from others (feelings.) I will not follow up where those funds end up. I will not be there to give my time. Anyone can write a check if money is all they have. That dissonance between BEING, FEELING and THINKING creates an ACTION which will not be wholesome. That energy, may cause problems to others instead.
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.“
– Black Elk
Oneness with the Universe, Life. In duality, we are individuals but also ONE unity with the Totality, therefore; omnipresent, that is ONE with all there is.
The state of consciousness of many are stuck in one side of that duality, that is individuality for their way to relate with life comes from thinking alone. Thought is divisive by nature. It likes to separate and label things. The change in consciousness comes when feelings become the new way to relate with Life. Feelings like Love, peace and happiness are not emotions. Going into the experience and understanding of that, is another notch in consciousness.
The search of Happiness
The question: “Are you happy?” May seem something intelligent to ask, but the first question over that question is: “What do you mean by happy?”
“Happy” may seem for many as the state of elation and bubbly-ness portrayed by actors in some TV commercials. For others, it may be a state of contentment in life: Something “healthy” were the ups- and- downs are taken in stride and the person is ready to move on, while looking forward to the future.
The first thing to observe is that such a state is not permanent. It is short lived for most. Some may say that they know a particular “saint” who was living in continuous bliss day after day. I am not talking about people with the ability to BE in a different dimension, in some trance. Although those people are physically here, their consciousness is in another place. Probably a “happy dimension.” I am referring only to this state of duality, this “reality.” Secondly, when that state which we label as “happy” is not, then what remains? Unhappy? Yes, by definition. However, in “reality” there could be many things in between.
The world of duality doesn’t allow for some state to “always” be there, but whatever is experienced and the intensity of it, will also be experienced in the opposite side; that is how some “religious” individuals came up with the idea to avoid pleasure in order not to experience pain. In theory that sounds great, while in “reality” that is utopia.
It is interesting to observe that humans ask such questions as if the feeling (happy) or the emotion was something that could be caught in a word, defined. No wonder many individuals experience the word to be the thing.
“Yes, I am happy.” (Even though, miserably content in mediocrity by living the same old thing, day after day, some may confess afterwards.) Routine brings that sensation of “happiness.” That sensation is all we have, then to equate that to the label “happy,” will make us think that we have arrived. The magic of words.
Are you happy? “Yes, but I still need to reach some important goals in my Life.” That person is equating reaching goals with happiness. That sort of individual is caught up in “HAVING” things as proof of happiness.
“If you are happy, happy, happy clap your hands”… That is the DOING person, the “success” story.
But the million dollar question is: “How do you know if you are happy?” A very silly question indeed. Nevertheless; people want to know, which ones are the “signs” of happiness, for them to use the “happy” word and proudly define themselves as “happy.”
Have we observed that so far we have been exercising our minds to try to figure out an “ideal”?
The ideal is “happy.” The figuring out comes through the questions: Are you that? How to get there? Why do you feel happy? Where to get happiness? What are the signs? When do you become happy? Which is greater happiness, this or that?
All of that is completely, utterly senseless.
When we are living fully, there is no questioning. The mind is quiet. It is not trying to arrive to some place, looking for more to be fulfilled. Thus, the “problem” of happiness resides only in the mind.
All the questions above, all the explanations and ideals about happiness are just mind made.
The mind cannot be satisfied for one of its tasks is to always want more: More things to have, more things to do, more to BE. Our society promotes that view which is all mind, that is why; many are stuck in a rut of doing things that they do not enjoy for the sake of achieving something which the mind through its conditioning, values. Out of that, the question of happiness arises. It is not only DOING, but HAVING and BEING. The 3 most basics forms of identification of the mind are continuously challenged to obtain more thus; greed, ambition, fear and anxiety are born as offsprings.
The mind then invents “happiness” as the cure for those mental ailments. That is the mind’s solution. Isn’t the word “solution” familiar to us? It is the opposite of “problems.” That is something our minds have learned to match. Use the opposite word to cancel the other: Non-violence cancels violence, solution cancels problems. We are good to go. Just make up a “rational” list of “to do” items to “achieve” the goal.
In the world of words, the word SATISFACTION has greater and deeper meaning than the hackneyed “happiness.”
Satisfaction brings a sense of fulfillment, that is living Life without the goals to achieve something and the search for praise and acceptance from others, or to find the idealistic “success.” Satisfaction is a quality of BEING, in harmonizing with “what is.” At the end of our lives, we may want to reflect on satisfaction. Observe all your experiences and get the taste of that particular, unique flavor interpreted by “you.” There is no search in satisfaction. Life brings the ingredients, we make the juice; while happiness for most, is a continuous never ending search of ingredients.
Here is the amusing paradox: The mind searches for happiness, but no-mind is the one finding it …without searching for it, and without knowing what that is.
The most mysterious thing in the whole Universe
Raysha was speaking with the wise tree, Mathias.
Mathias asked: “Raysha, what is the most mysterious thing in the Universe?”
Raysha responded: The self.
Mathias agreed with an ovation.
Let me suggest some fine destinations for your next trip:
“Vacation to the inner self.” “ Watch the wonderful low valleys and huge mountains of your own consciousness.”
“Visit the mesmerizing beauty of your inner awareness.” “Have a great time with the experience of your own inner smile.” Tickets and accommodations already provided in the best hotel… Your – self. Zero down. Zero payments. Call now. Operators are standing by… Pick up that phone! Dial One- one- one- one- one – one – one – one -one -one… If you hear back that this number does not exist, that is a good clue!
Everyone wants to be “happy.” Everyone wants fulfillment in Life. Those things are wanted because those are not experienced. Therefore, where can I buy those things? How much they will cost ? Perhaps those things will be in my next getaway…
We merely survive in Life. We want for time to go by while our minds get some entertainment. We call that to live Life.
Aren’t we AWARE of it?
If we were AWARE then, we could go anywhere, do anything, buy whatever and we will be fulfill, happy.
That sounds good, huh? How do I get it? I want some of that…
Aware of the Self. That is already with you, 24×7. No time for that? No worries, it will be with you every second of your Life. Where is it?
Become AWARE of it.
Life has a funny sense of humor, though.
To find it, means to lose it. Once lost, “you” have arrived.
The numerous escapes from suffering
“I” don’t like suffering, but there is suffering. The mind asks: Why is there suffering? Then gurus, priests and authorities, “experts,” will come up with an “answer.”
Sometimes it is “god” looking out for you and saving you from further suffering. “He” has a plan for your life. Yes, “he” has a plan for millions of people and there is a happy end for all, just like a cheese movie. Have faith. Believe. Join the religion of “chosen ones.”
Other times “Life is suffering.” It does not matter that this phrase was ill translated. As long as the Buddha “said it,” we should feel good. After all, if the Buddha felt that, then we are along his path, we are in the same wavelength, in route for self-realization…
Other times, it could be another story and we will be ready to believe in it as long as “I” get something out of it. Heaven at the end sounds good. Salvation is always desirable. A life of everlasting bliss in the company of “God,” (the main boss out of all the little ones) will surely get us many “upgrades” from our current “normal” story.
But if someone says: There is suffering because there is happiness. That is duality 101. Then, that does not get any believers. It is too simple buy yet cloudy. There has to be much more in the story, we want some mystery followed by drama and then a happy end where “I” will be the main character, where “I” will rise victorious among all the evil doers …
Life brings happiness and because of that suffering. In the world of duality, that is expected. We don’t want suffering? Then happiness will not be there either. That world is something that we cannot understand. We haven’t experienced it.
Did I offer any “solutions” for your suffering? Any tips? Any ways to handle it? Any ideas on how to get rid of it? There are plenty of books on that. Plenty of fairy stories to make us feel “good,” for at the end “spirituality” is about handing us some tissue paper to dry up our tears, something to make us feel good, just like when Mama used to hand us a glass of milk after we fell down from roller skating. Right? We are truly looking for something to make us feel good, even if a “white lie” as we cannot handle what IS.
OBSERVE your suffering. Become fully AWARE of it. OBSERVE all the movements of the mind to try to get out of it, OBSERVE all the explanations and the ways to save face that will appear.
Physical suffering will not leave a trauma. It happens and we learn to be careful and avoid the same. However, psychological suffering will leave all sorts of trauma, all stories of the “poor I,” and how much “I” had to suffer and put up with stuff. Don’t we like stories!
There is the story of salvation, redemption, the origin of the Universe, Godly creation, etc.
Eventually a psychological trauma will need to be left behind. Otherwise, we are stuck in Life; unable to move on by continually regurgitating sad stories and increasing bitterness in our mind. That type of exercise, is definitely “bad” for our health.
Events in Life are to be experienced in the moment. It is like eating a cake. If we don’t experience its taste while we are eating it, then how can we enjoy it? Our mind wants to take the experience with us, we could take a picture, talk about how wonderful the cake is, without realizing that we are eating!
Smell it, taste it, look at it. That is the now, the moment to taste and be fully AWARE of it.
Alright, it could be a rotten cake. However, haven’t you experienced a new flavor? Isn’t that a unique flavor? That is it. Move on.
But no… we want to enhance the story. We make the trauma. How is it possible for me to eat that “garbage”? Don’t we feel insulted? Cheated?
To spice things up; every time we eat a cake, let us bring that story up. Better yet, every time we go to a restaurant. The trauma is building up, it is in crescendo…
Our capacity for suffering is the same as our capacity for happiness. Life will give us the experience that we can handle either side. Any duality is complementary of each other. The full range of one side of a duality means the experience of the full range of the other side.
In the world of duality, nothing lasts forever for there is continuity, movement. Life is change. Every moment is unique and deserves our full AWARENESS.
Isn’t that a wonderful thing?
Every Life is a unique experience
As obvious as this sounds, we continually neglect that. We have ideas of what should be, what is right, what is better for others. Comparisons are incessant and with that a sensation that will not allow us to feel fulfillment in Life.
Most everyone wants to be “someone” in Life: Well known, powerful, influential. However, that is not Life. That is society. In Life, we already ARE. In society, we continually need to BECOME someone else, we call that with a pretty label: “better” we say.
Am I saying to be a “nobody,” not to have goals in “Life”?
No. Every Life is a unique experience. Riches may be combined with ill health. Power with impotence. Influence combined with a lousy relationship, it is a bag of mixed goodies!
How can there be happiness then?
It just depends on what we focus on. Some “spiritual” people like to call this as “positive thinking.” But that could be a bunch of “positive self-inflicted lies.”
What I focus on, is not thinking. It is that which I enjoy, that which I take great pleasure, that which makes my day, and of course; that will change, thus there is no space for the “same old thing.”
It is in this focus how appreciation of that which I am able to do NOW, that which I have NOW becomes my source of fulfillment. When it is time for that to change, I will be able to shift to newness, for in appreciation of now, there is space for a new tomorrow. It may not be as I thought of, or as I wished this newness should be or as I expected it; but it is certain that this new change will bring newness and with that a new source of fulfillment as long as my focus is on the art of appreciation.
In our society, we are taught to think too much, thus there is no space for unrehearsed appreciation. We don’t have to have all the answers before making a move, we just need to feel if that change is where Life will take me and trust it.
Trust is not a matter of having faith in some power above us. It is a matter of acceptance of Life as it comes to us.
Acceptance is one of the hardest things to BE, when we are told to fight for everything in Life. When we ARE in that consciousness of fighting, we are taught to “practice” acceptance when there is no way out.
What a joke.