Friday, August 20, 2010

Reflections: Happiness Obeys a Law of Physics

My own conclusions regarding happiness:

(a) First, there is no such thing as 'happy forever.' In my opinion, 'happiness' is, by definition, a self-motivated concept. As such, for every happiness there is an equal and opposite reaction -- eventually. I don't think the same is necessarily true for love, although in many instances it is. In otherwords, love encompasses both happiness and sadness and can be selfless.

(b) For me, sources of happiness are a sense of fulfillment and/or a sense of being appreciated.

Fulfillment can be little or big, eg, a nice dinner or a college education, but eventually, even the college education is realized to be a transient source of happiness, though admittedly, you can get a lot more of the little happinesses out of it for awhile. Billionaires may be the most unhappy because they realize the 'carrot' is a lie and know of no other solutions.

Being appreciated, honestly for me, includes the strategy of putting 'other' before 'self'. I don't think for most people there is such a thing as selfless giving. If we just give and give and give, with little or no recognition of the effort, our battery gives out. There's also the weird scenario in which you manage to make yourself happy, but find there is no one to give it to -- that's pretty depressing -- and can occur when you rely on the fulfillment strategy. Or the scenario when you realize that the thing the person you've been giving to needs the most, is for you to be 'not present' -- that is one of the deepest sources of unhappiness there is, although its important to recognize that situation can arise either because that person doesn't recognize you as a source or just cares too much (e.g., My own interaction with my parents right now.. which is occurring because I don't have any answers for them at the moment. Thanks for your understanding Mom and Dad!)  

Alternatives to the above, for me, have included sitting meditation and sangha, but even these can be a source of difficulties and unhappiness, again following the laws of physics, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

At the start of my blog, I recognized the possibility of donating my efforts to an organization such as the Peace Corps or Doctors w/o Borders etc. That may be a way out -- where one recognizes the pay back or sense of appreciation is just getting folks back on their feet and on their way, whatever their way turns out to be. But that's not without difficulties either. Given my experience at Antaiji, I have been asking myself if I'm ready for it. ...Probably best to start small at the soup kitchen in town.

Everyone wants to be happy. There is no happy forever. Which of the above solutions works best differs from person to person. Even 'giving up' on self and the 'bigger happinesses' as Zen tradition seems to advocate is a strategy.

Maybe the best solution is to be flexible as to strategy and to recognize that no matter what strategy you use, there's bound to be an equal and opposite reaction someday and learn how to deal with that eventuality.

I recognize this has all been me, me, me sounding. These thoughts are just me rambling on and could change. But just maybe these ramblings will be useful to someone.

- JustHappi (Just in recognition of the effort involved)


Jordan said...

Empty. It is all empty. Whenever we get wrapped up in some idea, come back to emptiness. And from that emptiness, arises boundless joy. But still, human beings try to fill in the abyss. What silly creatures we are.

Happi said...

Yes we are. Dropping off...