Why You Shouldn’t Pursue Happiness
When we talk about happiness of course it makes a fantastic vibration to our whole bodies. I think people always felt the need to chase it since life many times has difficulties and certainly when in hardship we wish there is a way out. It’s not strange at all then that many informational products exist and many experts guide us on how we can reach it.
Also, it has become a very popular discussion among people and as a result many try to project that they have reached this point.
Obviously no one can be blamed for their will to have a life with very nice feelings however I’m afraid that many times the ideas contained in these sectors are misinterpreted and drag people lower instead of pulling them higher. The way I have seen it many ideas about the pursuit of happiness have been adopted from the undeniably wise eastern traditions which the last years look very appealing to the west. However, this isn’t enough to be helpful to us and in fact, the application seems to take people away from themselves and others instead of bringing them closer.
Is Too Much Pursuing Helpful?
What happens when you pursue something too much? You have your mind on it all the time. Which means that you wait for it but you think how it will be when you have it. Thus you are living in a future time. So you try to get away from where you are. But how can you deny where you are? We didn’t say that you should want to stay there however a conscious human being has to observe whatever appears in order to have a good understanding of reality. It doesn’t sound conscious to me when you deny a fact, the existence of a specific emotion for example.
When we have a negative emotion usually we try to distract ourselves. We try to hide it, we want to get away and think of something else. However, what we feel remains because we block its flow. As you have noticed, feelings come and go like waves. When we resist this flow we block its release. We create confusion inside us because we don’t want to look clearly to it and understand it. Why we feel this way? How it is working on our bodies? Why we have this specific attachment? The reason is most of the times hidden from the surface and that negative emotion is a boost in order to find out more.
Difficulties as Opportunities for Re-Balance
In the Jewish Kabbalah they talk about the Path of Mitzvot. During the conscious journey of the created soul many hardships will surely arrive that will cause pain. However, she has the consciousness to embrace the hardships with love. As she knows that they all came in order to bring her to balance again in situations that she had lost it. In order to show her that she has lost her directions towards the journey of becoming again one with the Father.
What do we mean when we say good or bad emotions? Apart from the fact that they may cause pain to us, there isn’t I think any other way to judge them as good or bad. Then if we try to investigate it further we will see that all emotions have specific characteristics. They come and go, influence our moods, the way we look at the world and all behave as waves. They are all reactions inside our bodies caused by something that appeared in the environment or an idea that came to our minds.
Maybe then this reaction is not something random and irrelevant but is a useful teaching that will provide us with valuable information without depending if it causes us pain or not. You see there are many labels attached to certain emotions in certain situations. Thus we may have built an image of ourselves which never feels any fear. In this case, we aren’t possibly going to accept when we feel scared. This labeling process obviously limits us and takes us away from looking at the reality. But if there wasn’t any label attached and we just looked at how we feel and why at that certain moment then we are flowing with it. We learn from it and we let it be unleashed and normally give its place to the waves that will pass later.
Life as a Whole
Life is not to be divided, I believe. Life contains everything. The black and the white, the day and the night, the pain and the pleasure. These divisions are coming only from our senses in order to be able to distinguish the reality and operate in life. But beyond this in fact there are no shapes, there is no in and out in the universe, only our senses are made to conceptualize it this way. However, we don’t seem to realise that and we chase always the white, the light, the pleasure and we try to block the black, the dark, the pain that will anyway unfold sometime so confusion won’t be avoided. By putting a dichotomy in the moments is like you are rejecting life, you are refusing to contain several of its elements and let the dark sides operate without any control.
The great Jiddu Krishnamurti explained that by trying to avoid something shows how really scared you are about it. You show that there is fear inside you that you won’t be able to cope with it if it happens. So we refuse it constantly and unavoidably we block ourselves and create confusion. On the contrary when we look closely at a situation then we are getting accustomed to it. If we are not predisposed we actually learn how it operates and we aren’t scared any more. Because we know it and we know how we will handle it even if it arises.
So instead of building ourselves to be more resilient, we try to look the other way when something we don’t like appears. I know it’s very difficult to do otherwise. When you feel so low and negative emotions have conquered you, you are in a desperate need to send them away. You are looking for any possible magic-pill distraction to save you. Because you are in pain, maybe you suffer.
This can be a crucial lesson and a valuable teaching every time it happens. I think this is how can someone learn to become an active agent. Even if it goes slowly. So when the time of crisis comes we can start flowing with it. We can accept the pain but also accept its nature, that it’s a wave that comes and goes. This is one way many philosophers have helped me in this. They opened my mind and helped me understand that the state I am when in crisis is not an objective one. On the contrary is purely subjective and undeniably pessimistic due to the negative emotions governing the situation.
As You Become more Resilient and the Problems come from our Minds
When you start deeply understanding these ideas then slowly the moments of crises become clearer. It’s more possible to get out of our minds in a difficult situation because we can remember that all will pass by. We can remember that we are immersed in our minds and negative perception of reality and make a conscious choice to change state. I think we can have the motivation to even start embracing it since there are reasons that is there and if we get closer to these reasons we can better handle it.
So all the time we look for solutions to our problems. But these solutions most of the times are just distractions. The problem inside us remains as we are searching for magic pills. We don’t look at the root, we don’t look at the reason instead we prefer to look at the distraction with desperation. How can the problem really be solved if we don’t care to know where it is based? And how can we know where it is based when we don’t look at it?
The Unrealistic of Always Being Happy
At the same time I see a lot of people claiming that they have reached the point that are all the time happy and have all the time positive thoughts. This doesn’t demand much discussion to reach the conclusion that it’s just a projection. I mean that they have desirable image to be happy all the time so they are trying to convince themselves. They become trapped by cognitive biases such as selective observation, which means that they pick the data that proves the image and ignore the rest.
It’s not difficult to understand that a person that is happy at all times must have a huge psychiatric problem. This intelligent harmony maintained in the universe contains all these changes from the one pole to the other and then the opposite. By not accepting that you unnaturally try to block the flow of this movement because you make a choice about the phenomena you don’t want to see happening and the ones you want. Not everything can be controlled by us anyway but even if we could stability would create too much boredom. No hopes, no mystery, no surprises, no life.
Consequently, it looks so useful to start looking and understanding the operation of our dark sides and if you weren’t doing it till now I think this can open the horizons tremendously. By being attached to happiness you don’t leave any space for anything else. Isn’t there any beauty at all in melancholy? Isn’t there any satisfaction when you recognise your fear but you move beyond it and act according to your authentic self? And so on.
What if you accept that you aren’t responsible as a self for the arise of certain thoughts or feelings but you are responsible about how you handle them. You can’t be blamed for something that appeared so why worrying to disprove it? See how it happened and don’t let it get over you looks like a very rational choice.
You can be focusing on the Bright Side but Keeping Emotional Balance
All the above shouldn’t be taken backwards. The fact that we accept and recognise our negative sides doesn’t mean we don’t look at the bright side. The meaning of the previous paragraphs I think made it understood. By looking at the sides that drop you down is actually a look at the bright side. Because after this you are ready to consciously decide what you will do with factors that makes you weaker. Whereas if you avoid gazing at it, you let it keep working on you.
Thus one more time we need to distinguish the long game and the short game. The ones that play the short game look for distractions. When they are in pain they look for excuses and solutions without showing love to this part of life that emerged. This causes more fear and the emotion is blocked and the more dirt is below the carpet and the more it stays hidden the more awfully it smells. The ones in the long game though experience more pain in the short term. Because they don’t distract themselves when the negative emotions come. They don’t chase this vague condition of happiness. They embrace life as a whole and at each moment they are open to all emotions without label. This makes them resilient in the long term as they are learning how their mind behaves and how they can handle their own emotions.
The latter maybe is a mature way to approach our individual evolution. The idea isn’t to be happy at all times. Instead a more balanced way of seeing things is to go to less extreme emotions from time to time. These can both be negative and positive. As time is passing when observing our minds we are building more calmness in the way we react to the external or internal phenomena. We don’t lose it for both good and bad things. We recognise better that everything is changeable and perishable. But most importantly we sense that the real miracle to be embraced is the life with all of these differences and not the constancy of a specific condition which can’t even be specific.