Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Unbearable Happiness

You are just as God intended you to be
(Or 15 million years of evolution, if you are so inclined to believe :)
By any account: YOU are PERFECT!

You were born totally and absolutely free.
No fears, no anxieties.
No hatred no bigotry.
No low self esteem no negativity.
No bad experiences no regrets.
No pain and no suffering.

All the negativity, the hurt and suffering you are experiencing right now; it is not YOU.
It is luggage you have accumulated growing up.
It is behaviors and habits you have learned, not the essence of what you truly are.
And the only reason you continue to feel less than PERFECT, is because you are holding on to that baggage, like a precious heirloom.

For the last two weeks I’ve been living the “enlightened” life I’ve been preaching about for almost a year.
For the last two weeks I’ve been waking up with a smile on my face and going to bed with the same smile.
For the last two weeks I’ve been living the illusory “happiness” I so hard tried to capture.
And I did it without meditations, drugs or any effort.
I just took a two weeks vacation :)

But now I am back to work, to the old routine, to the “serious” business of life and I just realized something very important:
Unadulterated, spontaneous happiness is not socially acceptable.
Happiness is bad form and manner.

Try to laugh without any reason tomorrow when you go to work.
Or at least try to spend the whole day with a smile on your face.
You will be reprimanded or at least looked upon with suspicion.
You are not on vacation, you are at work and you are not supposed to be happy.
(Well, theoretically you were supposed to be happy but at the same time not to show it :)

We all say that we want to be happy.
Happy like children, genuinely and unadulterated.
We all look for that truly and profound inner happiness they have.
But at the same time we are repressing all that innocent joy we have, every day of our life.

We want to be professional, serious, and appropriate.
We want to be happy inside but proper outside.
We want to be what God intended us to be and what the society wants us to be at the same time.

We want the cake and eat it too.
And that my friends is something not even the enlightened Buddha can accomplish.
(Well, unless you are ready to take a permanent vacation from life :)


Flight said...

A permanent vacation from life sounds great , but life has a way of reminding us that we made commitments that we must make "payments" on.
Just as you found that happiness is not socially acceptable . I found that unconditional love isn't acceptable . Isn't it funny that the things we ALL want out of life can't be a part of society.It just makes me want to remove every one from my life so I can just be without being told that I'm wrong all the time . If I'm so wrong why does be me make me feel so good ? A why do others feel good when they are in the moment with me ( just before they remember society rules ) ?

Every thing in the universe is perfect including my desire to change it .

Argent said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head: the fundamental dichotomy of what God wants us to be vs what society wants causes conflict in us. We have to live with society though, unless we're hermits and God is at least patient. As everyone moves nearer to enlightenment, shouldn't this get easier?

Ted Bagley said...

Maybe the "pursuit of happieness" just means the "right to be unhappy".

Mariana Soffer said...

To be happy is perhaps the most universal human yearning. But this simple goal so often eludes us. Why is this goal so difficult to reach?


Buddha said...

@ Flight – This is one of the best comments ever!
I feel like I would spoil its beauty if I try to come up with some clever, wise comeback.
So let me just say: – You got me thinking!

@ Argent – I don’t think God wants us to be anything – the church wants to keep us under control in the name of God – but I think that even the bible says that God gave us free will.
Enlightenment is not a numb state where one doesn’t experience pain or pleasure – even the Dalai Lama laughs and cries, gets sick and old and eventually will die.
Enlightenment is waking up from the illusion of permanence and possession.
Enlightenment is living life with passion and without fear, not avoiding life and its challenges – at least that’s the way I see it.
And yes, it is getting easier but not boring :)

@ Ted – Knowing you I will take that as a rhetorical question :)

Buddha said...

@ Mariana - Ups! You posted your comment while I was answering the other comments.
Good point!
But it will take probably another post or two to attempt to answer that.
Why do you think it is so hard?

Mariana Soffer said...

Maybe it is because We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell

Scruffy said...

Whenever I smile and laugh for no apparent reason, people automatically assume that I'm a crackhead or something. Even if they don't actually vocalize it, I still think that I hear it from their body language, but I do not pay very close attention to other people anyhow, just like I want them not to pay attention to me. Anyhow, I am all up inside my head all the time, I am not a very good shmoozer.

Talon said...

If someone is over-the-top happy, there is the perception that the person might be delusional because, after all, this life is all about struggle, isn't it?

...but then I find so many people love to wallow in unhappiness...

I think it is possible to display happiness at work - you just have to work in the right environment.

Quantum_Flux said...

There are other emotions you know, like anger or dismay.

Karmalized Girl said...

Only been stopping by for a few weeks now but JUST LOVE your blog. I've been there... in that easy, natural, happy place that a vacation away from the norms we're subjected to daily can creat ... it's nice in the childlike stupor of glee isn't it?

I really never thought about it but it's so true that the one thing we all want, happiness, is something we refuse to let each other experience too often. hmmm

Ted Bagley said...

Thank you.

Joe said...

RE: Ted and the Pursuit to unhappiness. From chapter 17 of Brave New World, my favorite passage:

"[John Savage said,] 'But I like the inconveniences.'

'We don't,' said the Controller. 'We prefer to do things comfortably.'

'But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
'In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.'

'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'

'Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence.

'I claim them all," said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. "You're welcome,' he said."

Re: all the descriptions of "happiness"

You are right that excessive enjoyment is pounced upon in social situations, but I'm confused as to why laughing and smiling are the standard for our being happy. It seems to me that laughing and smiling are socially proscribed ways of "being happy" as much as we might say being (too) happy in public is socially prohibited.

In much the same way as all the anxiety, the baggage, the "negativity" and what not you harsh on in the first part of your post, none of this smiling or laughing bullshit is really getting at the essence of who you are either. We are happy when we are free, and we are free when we chose to be. We chose to be free, not to be "happy." To that end, I'll be damned if I cannot be happy and in pain.

Ted Bagley said...

And thank you Joe. The man I can count on for the rhetoric. Awesome passage.

Buddha said...

@ Mariana – Don’t you mean:
“Because we are each other’s devil?”

@ Scruffy – This is what happened to me after returning from my vacation.
People are looking at me like I’ve returned from Mars or something :-)

@ Talon – I heard about those places where “happy people” work but I believe they are just fairy tales to keep the rest of us hopeful and quiet.

@ Quantum – Yes there are a lot of emotions indeed.
I use happiness as a generalization for all the positive emotions ~ like a sum of all that is good :-)

@ Karmalized Girl – Welcome to our little group!
That is a very good question:
Why hurting other people makes us feel good?
I think if we could answer that question we might be able to fix up this screwed up world.

@ Joe – So you want to tell me that my 5 years old is not really and genuinely happy – since she hasn’t claimed her right to unhappiness – and all that joy and fun she’s having are just a show to piss me off because I can’t be happy without my back pain, receding hair line and blooming hemorrhoids?
Well Joe, you can call me weird or stupid, but if it makes you happy you may have my back pain and all that because I don’t really want them – I’d rather have whatever she’s having :-)
PS – I hope you take my comment in good humor – as it is intended – and don’t vanish without a trace.

@ Ted – There is no Joe there is no BoH.
You should know better than that ;-)

Ted Bagley said...

He did it of his own accord I didn't know until I saw this.
It's nice to have friends, though. Or at least minion.

Talon said...

Currently, I'm self-employed so my work place is a truly happy one.

Years ago I worked for an insurance adjuster and it was, bar none, the greatest place I ever worked.