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Make your second decision.

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by pollyanna, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Have you kept to your commitment to become stress free and happy? I know by the law of averages that some of you will not have. I just want to encourage you by saying you haven't failed until you give up trying. It took me a long time to commit to myself so I understand. It is so worth it when you do though. Make your second decision or third or fourth or ninety ninth!! You deserve it. Happiness and joy to you :) :) :)
     
  2. theelegist

    theelegist Member

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    The Paradox

    It might seem very odd but...

    Why must we feel compelled to be happy? :confused:
    I mean... I'm a happy person (so far) and I like being happy. I really do.
    And I try to make other people happy. I love to see everyone happy. :)

    But here's the thing: why, by force of necessity, do we feel obliged to feel happy and make others happy by all means? :rolleyes:
    Has anyone here met people who think: "I must smile to everyone or else everyone will think I'm not happy. When someone asks me: how is it going? I must reply: Great! I must be happy like everyone else. It's not just that others will think I'm sad; It's that they'll think (and I'll think) I'm not capable of being happy. Advertising all over the place with Be Happy, Be Happy. :mad: Why can everybody be happy and I can't? That's why I can't feel any joy in my life". :(
    People who think this way may not tell you that's the way they feel in everyday's life. But if you look deep into their eyes and if you listen to their hearts carefully you'll know. ;)

    In a certain way I guess some people would be far happier if they didn't even try. Or... if we didn't force them at all. :) There's a paradox somehow.

    There's one book that deconstructed all I used to think about happiness. It's called "L'Euphorie perp├ętuelle" by Pascal Bruckner. Not that I agree with everything he says. In fact I would disagree with many of his ideas. I consider happiness being one of the GREATEST feelings I have ever felt but his ideas are :rolleyes:... a particular way of approaching this matter.
     
  3. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Wow!! Was this directed at me?

    Not sure I understand what was said here properly:confused:. I don't think we need to be compelled to be happy. It's just a simple choice :)and I don't care for the alternative much :( :mad:.
    If I thought what they'll think that I think and on and on, I think I'd go mad with too much thinking!!:confused: I think the best thing we can do is understand we can't please everyone all of the time and just be our true selves ;) We can offer happiness or a smile to others as a gift - it's up to the individual if they choose to accept it. Some will appreciate the gift :) and others may be infuriated :mad: We can all only live our own life consciously or unconsciously. Nobody can be forced - you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink it. I believe all we can do is try to inspire others and spread a little of our happiness, joy and encouragement :) :) :)
     
  4. Raven

    Raven Member

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    What is "happiness"?


    Many of Life's disappointments come from the simple inability to distinguish between "happiness/joy" and "pleasure". Nothing external to yourself can bring you happiness/joy. At most they bring you pleasure, which is not a bad thing necessarily unless you fail to make a distinction between the two.

    I get up in the morning and see a beautiful sunrise. That does not bring me happiness, it brings me pleasure. I buy a new home or car and I feel ecstatic for 6 months or a year or so every time I think about it, but that feeling is not happiness, it's pleasure.

    How do you tell the difference between happiness and pleasure? Pleasure requires something that acts as a catalyst to get it started, and it always has a limited lifespan. That icecream sundae I ate brought me pleasure, but only until it was gone. Even if I'd had an unlimited supply of icecream sundaes in front of me, after I'd eaten that third or fourth one I would begin noticing that the next one did not bring me quite the same intensity level of pleasure as the first bite of that first sundae. My new relationship with that "perfect" someone will always feel more intensely pleasurable during its first few months than it does after 3 or 4 years. I can have all the wealth in the world and after a time is just won't give me the same buzz as it once did.

    That's pleasure. It comes and it fades as we steadily become desensitized to it. It always has and it always will. It was meant to. Pleasure is like the frosting on a cake. It adds extra flavor in small amounts here and there in our lives. And, as I said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that if we accept it that way.

    The problem begins when I mistakenly believe that pleasure is the same thing as happiness. Then, as pleasure fades, and it inevitably will, I think that I'm no longer as "happy" as I once was. So in order to be happy again, I have to go out and find another source to replace the one that isn't giving me the same old jolt anymore. In that way my life becomes a rollercoaster of looking for one high after the next in order to remain "happy". And if I can't find it then I believe I am unhappy. That's the pitfall of mistaking pleasure for happiness.

    So what is "happiness"? Well, for starters, it is NOT pleasure. It cannot be found in wealth, health, relationships, possessions, status, achievements or anything else in the outside world. No catalyst exists that can jumpstart happiness.

    That's what happiness is not. What happiness IS, is the natural, inherent, unobstructed state of...(Michael's going to LOVE this description,) Life Flowing. If you're not happy it isn't because you are missing something. It's because you have added something, or some things, that are interfering with that natural state of flow of which we are all comprised. It's like that parable of the sculptor who creates a tremendous sculpture, and everyone comes to praise him for this great work of art he has created. And the sculptor replies that he created nothing; the sculpture was there all the time, within the stone. All the sculptor did was chip away all the excess stone that was covering it up.

    What "covers up" our essential flow; our natural happiness, are the worries, fears, obsessive desires, incorrect self-identifications, unbridled ambitions, misidentification of pleasures, and so on. Chip away those things and you don't "become" happy. You uncover the happiness that was there all along. You just couldn't see it because of all the excess pieces of stone; those incorrect ideas, habits and identifications that were covering it up.

    The current Dalai Lama co-wrote a book called "The Art of Happiness" that is must reading for anyone who wants to get a really good idea what happiness is all about. One of the points he brings out is that we all tend to carry around a basic "setpoint" for the level of happiness we experience. No matter what happens in our lives we tend to return to that setpoint. So if we win the lottery, once the pleasure wears off we find our basic level of happiness returns to about where it was before we won the lottery. If we have an illness and a limb gets amputated, once the grief and shock wear off we tend to be more or less as happy as we were before the illness, and so on.

    What he also says is that we can naturally raise our basic happiness setpoint, so that our overall level of happiness increases. The first step in this process is recognizing the essential difference between happiness and pleasure. The next step is to begin chipping away at the things that block the unimpeded flow of life within us. The more we chip away, the higher our happiness setpoint rises. Meditation is one of the most effective tools for helping us touch our natural state of flow, thereby assisting us in breaking the hold on us all those things we've added have in our lives.

    The example of the person Theelegist gave who runs around trying so hard to appear happy is almost certainly a case of someone who has mistaken pleasure for happiness. If they eliminated that one misconception from their way of thinking they would go a long way towards experiencing a more stable state of genuine happiness and flow.

    ~Raven~
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  5. theelegist

    theelegist Member

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    Hi

    Hi Pollyanna! :) That post wasn't directed at you. I sincerely wasn't judging you at all. Although some people might have strong difficulties in achieving a state of peace of mind I like the idea of being commited to be stress free and happy. What you said just reminded me of this subject and sometimes it might be worth a while having these thoughts and let them wander through our minds and keyboards :)

    Raven, I couldn't agree more with you: pleasure and happiness aren't the same thing at all. And "happiness (...) is the natural, inherent, unobstructed state of (...) Life Flowing"; what an outstanding quality definition! :D
    I'd also add that everybody can feel whatever they want. :rolleyes: It's easier for some and harder for others but it's possible for virtually everyone.
    Most of our thoughts and emotions wander through our minds and bodies unconsciously throughout day and night. Most of the times we don't become aware of their existence. Just like in Psychoanalytic Theory's tip of the iceberg.

    But human beings have inherited a very complex nervous system and I believe they are capable of thinking and feeling whatever they are willing to.

    The problem is that most of the people I know, including myself, tend to automatically think and feel about external phenomenons, not about internal processes. We usually don't learn that at school. Human beings tend to judge and criticize, like or dislike what they hear, see, touch, etc. We all adapt and readapt to constant change of outer circumstances. It's a function of the Nature.
    But there are also inner circumstances. Human beings CAN re-edit their memories and emotions, modulate them and then... just comtemplate...:D
    If you want you will. Just modulate your emotions.

    I wonder if that state of mind could be called enlightenment, Raven...:rolleyes:
    Once again just wondering, Pollyana.

    Love you all.
     
  6. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Couldn't agree more

    I agree 110% with that. The good news is, that sort of extroverted attention, boiled down to simplest terms is really nothing more than a habit. And habits can be unlearned just as they can be learned. It takes a bit longer to unlearn a habit than it does to develop it (300 - 400 repetitions to learn a new habit, appx. 3500 repetitions in another direction to unlearn it,) but it is well within anyone's reach.

    ~R~
     
  7. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Thanks for those comments Theelegist - I totally misunderstood you - I thought I had ticked you off big style!! Anyway I'm glad I didn't. Must be on a different wavelength. (Wonder what that really means?) You and Raven seem to be on the same wavelength and I'm genuinely pleased for you. Are you both analytical? I don't think I am analytical and I'm definately not detailed. I'm amazed Raven that you know:-
    It takes a bit longer to unlearn a habit than it does to develop it (300 - 400 repetitions to learn a new habit, appx. 3500 repetitions in another direction to unlearn it,) This is a really good piece of info for me and it is well noted.
    I think I am well out of my league with you two guys - I think I have a lot of Flowing to do to catch up. I'm going now before everyone thinks I'm a simple airhead.Hehe! Love, happiness and joy to you both :) :) :)
     

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