Happiness is a nonsense idea
In my last blog, I wrote that I was happy. In fact I said, I was pretty damn happy, but that’s kind of bullshit and here’s why.
It started with the pursuit of enlightenment. As a seeker my nature, I was obsessed with the idea of transcendence which, before I happened upon yoga and the idea of enlightenment, manifested in the usual hedonistic pursuit of anything that would bring me into an altered state – adrenaline, love, drugs; usually the faster the better.
Then I came into the realm of awareness (as I like to put it) and I discovered the idea of enlightenment. I had found my ultimate quest for the highest altered state imaginable; imaginable being the operative word because for me, like most people, the enlightened state is something we can only read about and perhaps get little slithers of a hint of, if we’re very lucky. Ironically, pursuing enlightenment made me miserable and I decided to settle instead for the pursuit of happiness.
Then I discovered that the pursuit of happiness was also problematic (is there a pattern here?), I suspect the problem is not necessarily the goal but rather the pursuit itself, but I’ll leave that line of thinking for the moment…
Back to happiness. Yeah, I don’t believe in that either. I use it to describe how I feel a lot of the time simply because I don’ t have a better word; but really happiness for me is a state of a complete acceptance and embracing of it’s exact opposite; suffering. There is an art to suffering, there is a way to accept it as part of the human condition (Thank you Buddhism I did learn something) and it’s through this that we free ourselves to be ‘happy’. Imagining a reality where we can avoid pain is setting ourselves up for failure and delusion, and being unhappy a lot of the time.
So, I think we need a new word for happy… something that encompasses the words, free, resilient, engaged and alive.
Shitty things happen all the time, just like they do to everyone else, but I’ve learnt some pretty nifty skills on how to be with them in a way that doesn’t unravel me like it would’ve in the past before I did the work. And if you’re really good at this stuff, there’s even a kind of pleasure you can start to take in the pain and then it what is good and bad, pleasurable and painful becomes less polarised and therein lies something pretty damn magical.
So I’ve become less of a seeker and more of an observer, with the goal rather of staying open and curious to the unfolding… as opposed to the chasing.
I hope you’ll join me on the path to (fill in whatever you like here)…