I think we would all agree that whatever we do in life, it is simply because we want to be happy.
Be it a desire for money, success, fame, knowledge, love or anything else that might be THE thing that we covet or crave for ourselves or for our loved ones. Bottom line: we want it because we feel it will make us happy. And inevitably there are times when we don’t get what we want or desire. Consequence: We are unhappy and experience pain. This is the story of the human existence since the beginning. And not much has changed since.
But really, need it be like that?
Most of our pain results from resistance to what IS. We do not get what we so badly want and we think it’s so unjust to not get what we want or think we deserve. And sometimes we get what we don’t want and believe we don’t deserve: Loss, illness, poverty, a lack of success, violence and abuse. The list is endless. And ironically sometimes, we DO get what we want and find that we are still not happy! For we never expected the consequences of getting what we wanted. Or that the goal post has changed and expectations have increased. And we are back to square one. Still unhappy.
None of us are immune to the ravages of life. Life can be painful but I also believe that we aggravate our pain exponentially by resisting it. By telling ourselves stories about it. About how dreadful it is. We wallow in it and grow more attached to our pain. As if we were unique and the only ones to suffer. How arrogant!
Once we accept that that no one is immune, we lose the self-pity and stop resisting. And once we start accepting the IS, I think we have a real chance of happiness. Because then we can start focussing on what we DO have. This is nothing new, this simple concept of the glass: half full or half empty. It has been around I think, from the time humans began to question their existence. I for one know that I can’t remind myself enough of it. There is great practical benefit in reminding oneself of all the things one DOES have and be grateful for it. It makes for a great sense of happiness in life. As a sense of entitlement can actually become the cause of a great deal of grief.
Life is so much like a game of Billiards.
We aim and cannon the cue ball hoping that it will net the Red ball and score. But the aim might be wrong, the balls scattered and the end result completely beyond comprehension. Unless of course, we develop such a consummate skill and such an innate capacity in understanding the workings of the universe that we know precisely which ball to hit and where it will go. Perhaps thats why we are here in the first place. To learn to hit the ball so that we net the happiness. But then again, equating happiness with ‘getting’ something is itself the cause of unhappiness! A contradiction.
Often when I look back on my life, I realise that all the little things that I thought went ‘wrong’ or didn’t ‘get’ actually formed a choreography of events that eventually led to all the ‘Right’ things. The ‘Right’ was not even what I wanted or expected. But it was still RIGHT at that precise moment. Whether I liked it or not. And acceptance of THAT made me lighter and happier as a person.
When I talk of acceptance, I certainly do not mean passivity or lack of positive action. I simply mean the mental state of equanimity, no matter what the externals are at that point, whether positive or negative. Ultimately even those are perceptions. It is only time that reveals whether what was, was really positive and in our best interest. Or Not.
The specifics of what we want don’t really matter that much. They are simply heavy and unnecessary baggage that we lug around day in and day out. Letting go of the baggage of desires and expectations is actually letting go of unnecessary burden. What a relief that is! Creating space for life to unfold as it naturally would without our constant Egoic interference, feels as natural as breathing.
In the scheme of the universe, in the cosmic lifetime, our life is simply a blink. Before we know it, it’s over. So let’s just play the Game of Billiards and enjoy it without getting too involved in the ideas of Winning or Losing!