Aug 6, 2011

How To Make A Mess Of Your Life

Everyone wants happiness. Happiness is the driving force behind almost all of our actions, and even when we are unhappy, we are involved with somehow changing that unhappiness into happiness for ourselves. When we are confronted with someone or something, we either have a compulsion to pull it toward us, that is; we like it or even love it. Or, we push it away, which means that we dislike it, or even hate it. We can see this pulling and pushing in every aspect of our lives as we go about making our decisions every day.

Simple things, such as making out a grocery list, is full of decisions. Should we not buy the ice cream because we are on a diet, or the steak because we are on a budget? Should we buy healthy foods that are more expensive, or rice and potatoes that we can more easily afford?

More complex things, like choosing a mate or choosing a career follow the same process of pulling or pushing. We might push away the manual labor jobs and embrace the mentally stimulating ones, or pull the beautiful men or women toward us, and push the physically unattractive away. We call this making choices, but in reality, we are trying to be happy.

The problem is, when we push away or pull toward us, this is called attachment and aversion. These two, attachment and aversion, seem to be a natural way to live, but when looked at closely, pushing and pulling is the root of our unhappiness. And as long as we push or pull, happiness will avoid us like the plague.

This statement seems to be false, because when we pull something toward us, it is a happy experience. The problem lies in the fact that we cannot continue to pull it toward us without forming a dependency of that particular person or thing, and once we become dependent, we then must control it. Otherwise, if we don’t control it, it can slip away, and we would be unhappy once more.

Control, however, is never happiness. Control is fear-based, and fear can never breed happiness, fear can only breed stress. Therefore, the moment we pull anything toward us, or push it away, fear and stress is involved at a subtle level at least. This is never easy to see, especially when what we pull toward us is pleasurable such as a love affair. However, this pulling toward us forms an attachment almost immediately, and underlying the romance and wonderful feelings are the fears that something might happen. Then, because of this underlying fear, we begin to make sure that nothing will happen.

We might do this by securing our relationship with some kind of arrangement, such as a marriage or engagement. The contract is supposed to insure that we will not lose our attachment, however a contract does not take into account that feelings will change, and when they change, the contract can do nothing for us except cause complications.

Therefore, no matter how we try to insure our happiness, we cannot, except by one method. The only way that we can insure our happiness is to situate ourselves so that each moment of life affords us the opportunity to be happy without something else in the way. This means that we can never attach or push away, and must accept all that comes before us. No attachment, no aversion. Only when we don’t attach or avert can we be free, and freedom is the only thing that will insure us lasting happiness.

The trick in not attaching or averting is in the one who attaches or averts; in other words, our “selves.” This is the problem. As long as we believe that we are a separate self against the world, we will naturally attach and avert. When we see through this delusion of self, however, then life becomes happy, and this is the only lasting happiness. All the happiness’s that are based on an idea of a separate self are destined for dissolution, because it is impossible to sustain that kind of happiness. That kind of happiness cannot sustain itself; it will eventually move from happiness, to neutrality, and then to stress, as things change. And everything is constantly in flux.

Conversely, when a self is absent, happiness is constant because without a self to discriminate and judge, there is only “what is,” and “what is” can only be perfect, every moment, in absence of a self. This is what meditation is all about – this dissolution of self and the arising of constant happiness.

Take a candid look at your life. Not your ideals or beliefs, but your actual life. Are you happy? Is your life becoming a mess? How much effort have you put in to make yourself happy, and has it worked?

These are questions only you can answer, and the answers are what should make you look around and realize whether what you are doing is really working, or whether you are still waiting for it to work because of some kind of vague promise.

Only you can change your life. Nobody else is that interested; they are all involved with their own problems. So take control of your life to the point that control is no longer necessary. This is a different approach, and one that takes the strength and resolve of a warrior.

Take the first step.

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