If we could only have a million dollars, a nice house where things weren’t breaking down, a reliable car, and consistently good food at restaurants, we’d be happy, right?
That’s our usual mindset. If we can just align all the different aspects of our life so that everything functions smoothly, we’ll finally be happy!
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that our current way of doing things guarantees that we’ll be unhappy.
Our model is built on desire – desire for more, better, or different circumstances. We think we’re set on ‘acquire and rest’ mode. We get enough good stuff in our lives, and then we’ll rest and just be happy for ever more.
But actually, we’re set on ‘acquire acquire acquire’ mode. Have you ever really been satisfied with where you are? Probably not. Here’s the question to ask yourself if you think you’re satisfied. Is there anything you’d change about your life right now, if you could?
Most of us would. We’d be younger, or richer, or healthier, or more talented, or better looking, or more peaceful. This just seems natural, right? In fact, we’ll defend our penchant for constant desire by arguing that without constant desire, we’d have no progress in our lives. Of course, the truth of the matter is that most of our progress is actually stunted by our constant desire, and after we find real happiness with our present circumstances, we find that the bounty of the world opens up before us in ways we hardly imagined were possible before.
So How Do We Get Happy?
First, give up your usual methods. You’ve probably been trying for untold years to acquire all the things and circumstances that would make your life happy. Take a long, hard look at it, and admit that it just doesn’t work. Even if you imagine that you could have everything you desire just by snapping your fingers – that you could make yourself younger in the blink of an eye, have perfect health, unlimited wealth, and millions of adoring friends – you’d still be unhappy. Soon you’d grow bored with having anything you want. It would be like playing a video game where you automatically scored perfectly all the time, without having to do anything. Soon you’d start wanting something to happen to you, for something to surprise you or go wrong, so you’d have a little challenge. You see? It’s built into our current world view! Even if you could have everything, you’d still be dissatisfied! Doesn’t this call into question the whole process of acquiring more?
If you look at your life, this is probably what you’ve devoted all your life energies to. Acquiring more, in an endless quest for . . . more.
If you can see this clearly, you can start to make real changes. But you have to pay attention to what you’ve figured out. The solution is not to get more of anything – including more tolerance, more spirituality, or better attitudes. The solution is to call into question the entire process of acquiring, and find a new way to live – one that embraces happiness in every moment.
Changing Our Model
The only way to do this is to shift to a new model of reality. If your current model is automatically creating unhappiness through constant desire, than the model itself is probably flawed.
The easiest shift you can make is to a non-dualistic model, which is simply seeing the world ‘just as it is’. This is what people have called Enlightenment or Awakening, but it’s actually just an incredibly simple way of seeing the world. I call it easy, because it requires no effort. Of course, ‘no effort’ can be difficult for us, for the simple reason that we’re ingrained with our current beliefs – that everything must be brought into our lives through work and effort. When you try to see the world just as it is, you’re defeating your own efforts. Remember, to see the world just as it is, you have to do nothing. You must, however, realize that the word ‘nothing’ is being used in an active sense, rather than our normal, passive sense. Doing nothing is not just lazing on the couch with a beer. That’s actually doing quite a bit, because your mind is going crazy with activity, unless you happen to be watching TV.
Doing nothing means breaking our habits of constant effort. It means finally letting go and observing what’s really going on, without the extra work of adding our own labels, symbols, and preconceptions. But already we can make these new things into efforts! We’re quite expert at effort, you see.
The Deeper Understanding articles on this site are specifically designed to help you see the world just as it is. Let it happen, rather then trying to force it. This is the one thing in your life that you can’t get by trying – no matter how hard you work at it. It is a natural transformation, like watching a flower bloom. If you try to force the petals apart, it won’t be very good for the flower. Just let it happen, and it will unfold perfectly.
This site is the water, soil, and sunshine you’ll need for your flower to unfold. Read, consider, and just watch as things change.