SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS

If I know water would boil at a 100 degrees Celsius under earth’s gravity. Do I need to hope it would boil at 100 degree Celsius? Or even if I do not want the water to be boiled, could I desire the water not to be boiled even if I heat it up to 100 degrees Celsius? I can hope, dance, or pray—or do all three at once—for it to rain tomorrow. However, if the causes are not right, it will not rain. Or maybe I do not want it to rain tomorrow. But again, if the conditions are right for it to rain, it will rain regardless of what I want or do not want.

The simple yet elegant wisdom that I am attempting to reiterate here is this:

Reality has nothing to do with what one wants. Instead, reality has everything to do with the law of cause and effect.

If the causes are right for an effect to occur, it will occur regardless of what one wants or do not want. Scientifically speaking, there is no room for desires in reality. There is only cause and effect.

The common way, we, humans, achieve happiness in life is to put what we desire in front of the causes we must perform to achieve the result. We start a project by wanting it to be finished. We run a business by hoping to gain and never to lose. We often live by being afraid of dying even though we are perfectly fine. We lived life without  Even when we are deeply in love with someone, we can’t help ourselves feeling a little insecure about how long the good time will last. Humans always put our desire in front of what the reality is. For this reason, our pursuit of happiness has led us to constantly become fearful, worried, impatient, and frustrated by what we demand from reality.

But is this really necessary? or is there a better way of pursuing happiness?

Two Approaches Toward True Happiness: One Is Scientific And Other Is Not.

There are two opposing ways of achieving anything in life.

1. Desire-Oriented Approach to Happiness

This is humans’ most typical approach toward happiness. By putting our desire in front of what the reality is, our happiness is externalized and is dependent what we hope from the reality than what the reality is. And thus, he or she can never be happy until his desire is fulfilled. In other words, we have given up our rights to our own happiness.

2. Reality-Oriented Approach to Happiness

The second way is to work toward your goal without the need to get ahead of ourselves.  To work with and according to what the reality is, not work from the stance of what we expect reality to be.

The man whose desire is with reality lived with what is. Since his desire is in tune with reality, he is not anxious or worried. This, in turn, allows him to become more composed, relaxed, and ultimately more productive while working toward his goal with a peace of mind.

Epictetus beautifully capture this idea as follows:

Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.

Our Duty To Reality

Right now, I am applying for graduate school. Right away, my desire is to be accepted. But who am I to want or not want things from reality without ever creating the right causes for it to happen? In reality, whether or not anyone would or would not be accepted has many different factors—many beyond one’s control. So just by applying or having a great supporting resume doesn’t mean I have the right to demand or hope from reality my admission. So why hope? Why put my desire ahead of the reality? Why worry? Why set myself up to be dissappointed for something which I have no control over? And why not channel this energy, instead,  in what I can control by creating the right causes such as writing the best application?

You can attain anything in life with or without the need to desire for it. But since reality runs by the absolute law of cause and effect, it does not obey one’s desire no matter how large or small the desire. The only thing that matters is whether or not there are enough causes for the effect to occur. Thus, there is no need to desire because…

  1. One simply can’t. There is no room for desire in reality.
  2. It is not based on reality but hope. Every effect must has it rightful causes.
  3. If putting our demands of the reality before the reality is the root the unhappiness of life, why unnecessarily suffer?

One does not need to desire to achieve whatever he or she set out to accomplish. Our duty to life is not to chase after our desire, but to create the right causes to produce the right effect. Depending on how well one could live in accordance with this natural law and not according to what he or she demands of reality, the happier he or she becomes.

Conclusion

All in all, the message here is simple: life is happier, better, and more satisfactory if one lives in accordance with reality and its law rather than living in accordance with what one wants from reality.

Reality does not revolve around what one wants from it; it revolves around the absolute law of cause and effect. Life is never like what one wants it to be. The only way for anyone to feel the unsatisfactoriness of life is to be unmindful of the law of conditionality and desire life or reality to be the way one wants.

‘What’s worse, the falling rain, or your resistance to getting wet?’ – Jeff Foster

So let’s keep our feet on the ground; and stay with reality and its law. Forget about all your fantasies about how reality should be. Instead, focus on, be satisfied, and work starting from what is. Begin living in the now! Keep on working with reality by making the right causes to achieve the right effect. And always remember that the way to live happily, correctly, and more efficiently, is not to put our desires in front of our reality, but the other way around.

CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART FOUR: MISTAKE IN LIFE

You can’t change or erase what happened in the past, all you can change is your attitude toward it.

Mistake in life is not to be taken lightly. For some, one small mistake could define who they are and enslave our lives in an unending quest to redeem or fix the mistake that he or she has done in the past. So let’s first begin by understanding what mistake is and how it affects our happiness.

Understanding the Nature of Life Mistake

1. Mistake is like a ghost.

When we do not reconcile or do not know how to reconcile with our mistake, the mistake becomes an open loop which endlessly haunts our lives. The more we wish to not think about our mistake, the more our minds irresistibly wander back to the mistake to relive it. Even though that particular mistake might have happened many years ago, or you might be at work or in the middle of a party, our mistake will not rest or give us a break. It will continue to enter into our conscious mind to remind us of its presence.

2. The mistake itself is not what makes us unhappy. It’s our attitude towards it that makes us unhappy.

Mistake is fueled by our biases toward it. The more we resist, avoid, hide, deny, blame, bend, or twist the reality of our mistake the more powerful it becomes in our lives. It draws power from our desire to not accept or come to term with it. The feeling of guilt, depression, anger, frustration, self-hating, and embarrassment. All of which originate from our desire that the past should or should not have been otherwise. It’s the void in our want from reality which we desperately want to change but can’t. The only way for a mistake to lose its power is for us to allow our mistake to be, without disliking it or denying its reality. Accept the mistake as it is without any filters. This is how a mistake loses its power and slowly fade away from our lives.

3. Mistake is by default inevitable.

Nobody wants to make mistake. Yet, why do we make mistake? Nobody would make a mistake if they know ahead of time what would be the consequence of that action. But the point here is we don’t. That is why we must make mistake. There is no avoiding it. So when we look back at our mistake in life especially ones that our minds often replay in our heads, it is important to understand that there was nothing we can do to change the past. It is something that must happen the way it did and not any other way.

Changing Our Attitude with Our Mistakes in Life

So how does one deal with one’s mistake? Here are 4 definitive steps to overcoming your mistake in life:

1. Take Full Responsibility For Your Mistake And All Its Ramification

  • If we are unwilling to accept its consequences, then we are not ready to fully come to terms with our mistake. Have the courage to face your mistake. Be responsible for it. Don’t run away from it. Mistake is by definition undesirable. But when we made a mistake, we must be strong and mature enough to take full responsibility for it whether or not it was intentionally or unintentionally, whether it effects just you or many other people.

2. Think About What Is Best At This Very Moment

  • Is there a benefit in going over our mistake? If there is then please do. But if brooding over our mistake only rubs the salt in the wound, then perhaps there is no point in letting our mistake take over our lives. The best question to ask in this situation is, “What can we control at this moment?” Can we change the past? No. Can we change what is in the now? Yes. So let’s focus on what we can change instead of what we can’t. Let’s ask relevant questions like, “How can I do my best now so that I can avoid more mistake in the future?” or “What is the best thing to do right now?” So without the burden of the past, move on by letting go of the past which you no longer have control and focus on what you can control in the present moment.

3. Learn to Forgive Ourselves

  • It’s impossible to move on if we do not forgive ourselves from our mistake. The characteristic of mistake in life is that they inevitable. Thus, it must happen the way it did. Looking back, you would never have done it. But because you did not know. That’s why you made that mistake. So don’t take it personally. Anyone who was in your shoes would have made the same mistake.

4. Accepting Our Mistake as It Is. Do not Avoid, Hide, Deny, Blame Others, Bend, or Twist the Reality of Our Mistake.

  • If you can’t openly tell others your mistake, then this is perhaps a good indicator that there is something you still cannot accept about it. Of course, I am not suggesting for us to go out and tell everybody of our mistake either. My point is simply to come to understand ourselves to see if we still have our biases toward our mistake. If we still do then it is time to reconcile ourselves with these mistakes.

Learning to Be with Your Mistake

The best way to reconcile with any mistakes in life is to accept it. Accepting is different from justifying our wrong doing. Accepting our mistake is to understand that there is no way of going back to fix the past of what we have done. Accepting our mistake is to be courageous and mature enough to accept whatever outcome and ramification that resulted as the direct or indirect outcome of our mistake. Accepting is to see no value in brooding or regretting our mistake, but instead see the value in what is in front of us. It is to be in the now by taking in the mistake as is, not as what you hope or do not hope it would be.

As a basic practice, when the mind wanders back to your mistake in life, do not fight it. Do not find excuses for yourself about why you were not wrong. Do not look for a scapegoat. Observe the feelings associated with our mistakes, but let it be as it is without hoping the mistake would happen otherwise. Simply, know it and be mindful of it. Take it as it is. And understand that it must happen the way it did. Remind yourself of what is the best thing to do right now by knowing what you can and what you can’t control. And let go of our feelings by seeing how the bad feelings that comes with your mistake does not help you or anyone to be better. Eventually, your mistake will begin to lose its power as you slowly come to understand its nature. Don’t let your mistake of the past clouds what is in front you today.

[Read the original post @ true-happiness.github.io]

 

CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART THREE: FEAR OF BEING MEANINGLESS

One of the worst fear of our lives is that we become meaningless. Whether this would be meaningless to oneself, meaningless to others, or meaningless to the world. Meaninglessness comes in various forms. The feeling of being useless, most evident in today society where everything is about productivity, to a feeling of inadequacy. At True Happiness, this is an important concept to understand as often times, we, humans, equate our self-worth with our meaning. So let’s dig a little deeper on this subject of meaninglessness to see where we could find True Happiness.

One of the most renowned Theravada Buddhist Monk in Thailand, “Ajahn Chah,” once asked his disciples if a wooden stick–just like the one in the picture above–is long or short. Some answered, “It is long.” Some answered, “It is short.” But Ajahn Chah’s answer was not what one would unexpected. His answer is that the stick is neither long nor short. It is only long if we want it to be short. And it is short only if you want it to be long. Thus, the wooden stick is neither short or long. It is what it is. Only our want make it short or long.

Similarly, our life is the same as that wooden stick. We are as meaningless as how much meaningful we want to be. A rich person who want to be richer always feels he or she is not meaningful enough. So in a sense, he is “poor.” A poor person who feels that he or she has all that he or she could ever want is in way “rich.” It all depends on your want. If you want to be richer then immediately you are “poor.” If you feel you already have more than you want then at that very moment you are “rich.”

We are as meaningless as how much meaningful we want to be.

The moment you want to be more meaningful is the moment that you have become meaningless. Those who feels they are already meaningful has no need to search for more meaning in their life. They are already happy and satisfied with life. They have finished looking for more meaning to fill the void of their meaninglessness.

Thus, to find true happiness is not to look for more meaning, but to stop looking for one.

What To Take Away

We are as meaningless as how much meaningful we want to be. Thus, to find true happiness is not to look for meaning, but to stop looking for one.

CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART TWO: COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS

Human’s innate ability to compare ourselves to others is perhaps the root of all sins in this world. Knowing that I am better create a sense of pride or even arrogant, while knowing that I am less create a sense of envy and jealousy toward the other. There can be no ends to our comparison unless we stop to put any value into it.

The fuels behind our comparisons are our likes and dislikes.

Let’s say for example that we would like to be promoted. However, someone was promoted instead. We can’t help but feel disappointed or even a sense of hate or jealousy. Why? Because we believe a promotion has value and is desirable. But if we did not want to be promoted in the first place then we simply would not care who got promoted or didn’t.

I used to be someone who enjoyed being better than others. My identity was dependent upon others being less than who I am. Every conservation I start every word I speak leak a sense of pride and the desperate need to show off myself. When I met someone who is worse of than I am then I became overjoyed because I felt I was “better”. But when I met someone who was better suddenly I felt scared and inferior.

My happiness was contextual. I thought my happiness was to look better than others, but what I couldn’t see is how tiresome it was for me as well as those around me to put up with my own inferiority complex.

Happiness is not to be taken likely. If one does not take care of it and see it objectively. It is most likely that this kind of pursue of “happiness” will never stop. And for me or for anyone, they would forever carry around this “happiness” complex without noticing it.

Mindfulness saves my life.

I was lucky. I somehow found my way to the practice of mindfulness. Through the practice mindfulness, I began to reflect upon this inferiority complex I called “happiness”. And the more I reflect the more I see its negative effects.

First, it is rather obnoxious for others who have to put up with my own insecurity. No one likes someone who fill up the conversation only to boast about himself.

Second, it was tiresome to try to talk about how great you are in every context. I simply can’t be happy by myself. I needed someone to be better than at all time else I couldn’t be happy. When I felt like I am better than a person, I became happy. When that person or someone else become better than me then I became unsatisfied. My happiness was fleeting. It’s the kind of happiness which is dependent upon whether or not the context allow me to feel as if I am “better” than others.

What I eventually realise is that it was too hard for me to find happiness. My happiness to look better didn’t do anyone, including myself, any good except fulfilling the unfulfillable desire to look “better”.

Comparing myself to others did not bring me any joy, only pain and bitterness. Thus, I quit.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

  • Reflect. As long as you are biased toward yourself and your ways of attaining happiness, you will never find True Happiness. You will say, “This is my happiness. Why would I change?” Thus, it is necessary to have the desire to improve one’s happiness by reflecting often. Question yourself. Why I am still unhappy even though I am trying to be happy? And if possible, learn to be mindful of your actions to see whether they are driven by your unwholesome desire or the desire to prove yourself. Know thyself and change yourself before it’s too late!
  • Knowing that there is no ends to comparing yourself to others. You will never be satisfied because your satisfaction is relative to how others are.
  • Better could mean worse and less is sometimes more. It all depends on which standard or perspective are you putting yourself against. No one is better or worse. Everyone has different background and up-bring and naturally each is incomparably different from one another.
  • Seeing the negative effects it has on oneself and everyone around you.
  • Compare yourself today with yourself yesterday
  • Learn the art of mindfulness! Click here to learn!

CAUSE OF UNHAPPINESS PART ONE: EXTERNALIZING OUR HAPPINESS

Happiness is like a string which ties us to that which we believe is our happiness.

We, humans, have many things which our happiness is dependent upon whether it would be our wealth, health, or our love ones. Let’s say for example that if you tie your happiness with being rich and accepted, then as long as you are not rich and accepted you can not be happy. Similarly, if you rest your happiness on your promotion then the promotion becomes the happiness which you have put outside of yourself.

Nowadays, the society only encourages us to put our happiness outside of ourselves. The media is telling us that for one to be happy one needs to have a new iPhone, a big house, a good job, and a beautiful spouse, a degree from Harvard and on and on. Imagine ourselves being tied to millions of these strings which we come to know as “happiness”. What we soon realise is that “happiness” starts to become a spider webs in which we are the preys. Each “happiness” is pulling us left and right to the point that it becomes impossible to obtain any happiness or freedom in life.

So What Do We Do?

How do we keep our happiness with us? Here are some interesting concepts to contemplate and chew on which will help you find True Happiness in this chaotic world.

1. Don’t Let Anything Defines Your Self-Worth.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to let money defines your self-worth. And the worst thing you can do to others is to define others’ self-worth through money.

Nothing can define your self-worth unless you let it. However, one way we, humans, externalize our happiness is to let something else defines our self-worth. This is very common in our materialistic society where often times we let material–like cars, money, cloth, or house–tells us our self-worth. If we let material defines our self-worth then material becomes our happiness. The more material or wealth we have the happier we becomes and inversely the less material or wealth we have the more unhappy we become. So by letting money defines ourselves our happiness becomes dependent to money.

The happiest man on earth does not rest his “happiness” on anything. And for that reason, he cannot not be happy. He does not need to be “rich” to be happy. He does not need to be “smart” to be happy. He does not need other’s compliment or affection to be happy. He is already happiness as is. There is no happiness which he has externalized.

Plus, material or outer wealth has nothing to do with ourselves self-worth from the very start. When we were young materialism does not affect our world much. We wear whatever we want. We be whoever we want to be without feeling superior or inferior to anyone.

Whatever we come to value we also judge.

When we let money defines our self-worth, we, in the same way, judge others through money. When how much money one has can define a person, there is naturally someone who is worse, or the same as the others. When such valuation of our humanity is as such. This valuation becomes the root of discrimination, prejudice, jealousy, pride and arrogant. Hence, one should be very careful about what one values and how far one takes it.

2. Good Or Bad Is A Matter Of Human’s Perspective

Good or bad, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, these dualities are man-made. In God’s eyes there is no such thing as good or bad. For Him, everything is just is.

Whether or not we have externalized our happiness, the value we perceive about ourselves–whether we believe we are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, successful or unsuccessful, young or old, worthy or worthless–is only a matter of how and what we compare ourselves to. If you compare yourself to someone who are less fortunate than you might be “rich.” But if you compare yourself to a billionaire then we are, in a way, “poor”. So we are both “rich” and “poor” and at the same time we are neither. Positivity or negativity is a matter of perspective. In the realm of the ultimate reality, there is no one who is better or worse. We are just who we are–incomparably different from one another.

3. Question Your Happiness

A happy life must always be simple no matter how complicate our lives have become.

Most people rarely question their own happiness. But in order to maintain a happy life, it is necessary to regularly check up on what we called “happiness.”

As a practice, I suggest you to regularly review your life. I personally have a habit of writing a journal every night before going to bed to see what is bothering my mind. List them all out, question this list of what you called “happiness” then sort only ones that matter most to you while eliminating others which are not. You will easily find many things which you desire yet they are unnecessary towards life and are, in some ways, even weighting you down from achieving what really matters. Is it all that important to be “successful” in eyes of the others? Is being rich the answer to life? Is it worth it to trade your inner happiness for an outer one? Is my family comes first before my work? Slowly find out what matters to you most. Cut out any unnecessary wants. Eventually your life will feel lighter as you let go of those extraneous ties of “happiness.”

Knowing where your happiness truly belongs is a skill one which can be improved by learning to quickly identify where you have misplaced your happiness. This is what mindfulness is for. (Click here to learn more about the practice of True Happiness.) And once you can see that these ties of “happiness” have been causing you more pain than happiness then perhaps it is time to let go. As a rule of thumb, the less ties of “happiness” we have the easier for us to find happiness in life.

What To Take Away

Happiness is a delicate science. It is intriguing how sometimes even the things in which we believe will bring us “happiness” can end up causing us more unhappiness than happiness. Who would have thought that the way to be happy is less about pursuing it than questioning it? Happiness should never be ahead of us. It should be with us even though we are pursuing something ahead of us. Happiness is like a fire. And it is advisable that one be very careful with what you believe to be “happiness”. Question it. Simplify it. Deconstruction it. And what you will find is that there is nothing you need more to make you happy since our heart is by nature already happy.

[Read the original post @ true-happiness.github.io]