… and You Miss Gratefulness!
“My theory about happiness is simple: I am content with knowing that I will not always be happy. That is my happiness.”~~Daniel Chidiac
Have you Heard one of these lately?
“I just want to be happy!”
“I just want my kids to be happy!”
“I just want my family to be happy!”
“I just want everyone to be happy!”
I hear these mantras all around me. We want to have pleasure without pain. It reminds me of my heart surgery years ago and asking for more Demerol; it reminds me of the buzz of the street drugs I toyed with and it reminds me of some Walt Disney movies. Pleasure without pain is an illusion perpetrated by our culture. Try to find an exception…I dare you! It flies in the face of the daily reminders of our life. Pleasure without pain is unachievable unless we medicate our mind in some fashion with either specific drugs or specific fantasies.
“It teaches me something!”
Over the holiday I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” again. There is a character in the film named Graham, a retired British high court judge, played by Tom Wilkinson. At one point in the film Graham is asked by a disgruntled traveling companion, who hates being in India, what he sees that she doesn’t see? His response blew me away…it was so profound. “The light, the colors, the smiles and the way people see life is a privilege, not a right…it teaches me something!” he said.
Life is a privilege not a right!
It is worth seeing the movie for that one line, “…life is a privilege not a right…”
I confuse happiness with gratitude. I confuse happiness with appreciation. I was sold a marketing package by our culture. I was brainwashed into believing if I achieve certain things I am are guaranteed happiness – pleasure without pain. I was assured of happiness if I had the RIGHT: looks, wealth, family, kids, education, job, friends, house, car, religion, political affiliation, and so on. The truth is something else…but I prefer that something else.
A Painful Paradise
I remember sitting on my yoga mat on my balcony overlooking the pristine seashore of Prince Edward Island at 6 am watching the sun crack the horizon and appreciating how lucky I was to be there. But, at the same second, I was also feeling crowded by my neighbor’s cottage which was blocking part of my view; feeling anxious about the challenges I faced in a day ahead with my partner, my three daughters, my three visiting grandchildren and my two struggling clients. And, it was also predicted to be a really hot, humid day.
As I then focused on the stifling day ahead my mind also went to my office window beside my desk I could open and the ceiling fan I could turn on to generate a refreshing breeze.
We all do this constantly
I had all these awarenesses one after another in milliseconds, very quickly…really without noticing it until I looked carefully at my thoughts. We all do this constantly…have simultaneously both positive and negative perceptions.
How can I experience only pleasure, be happy, if my mind goes to both sides every time? When I looked at any focused moment where I perceived only pleasure or only pain, the other side was always there waiting to be noticed by me as well. This would suggest pleasure without pain and pain without pleasure are not possible in the human mind. So then, one sided pleasure – happiness – is not possible.
Let’s check this out and resolve seven myths about happiness right now and find the seven truths beneath.