Seeking happiness seems to be the thing to do. These are the messages all around us: Go on this holiday to be happy. Eat this food to be happy. Get this job to be happy. Have the perfect family life to be happy. The research would say we’re wired to go towards pleasure and away from pain and therefore we should seek a life with maximum happiness. But could this be an over-worked concept that isn’t serving us?
“#Upstream is a place where we can go before we think about the transformation we are being invited to consider.” This quote from Perry’s piece really strikes a chord with me. In three client sessions yesterday when we went upstream, each client came back to the downstream challenges they walked in with and saw a simple and clear way forward and, in some instances, the challenge had all but disappeared into the ether.
It really seems like that person is irritating / lazy / slow at their work / makes lots of mistakes.
Or that this other person is amazing / so capable / always on it / full of great ideas.
It really seems like this situation is upsetting, or that one is fun.
That this one will make me cry, or that one will make me laugh out loud.
It seems like these are definites.
But when you see that our minds are entirely like projectors, that definite-ness shifts.
Nothing, ever, in our whole lives, has “made” us think or feel any of those things.
All those people and experiences are 100% neutral until we experience them through our thinking. We are a projector, not a camera, and always have been.
Life is LITERALLY what we make it because we can and have always experienced life through our thoughts.
The thing that makes these experiences seem so convincingly true and makes them seem like they’re coming from outside of us is that we mostly agree about what’s upsetting or fun and what counts as irritating or amazing. We get taught these rules from the moment we enter the world so our thinking around people and situations is mostly very similar.
I witnessed it the other day in the supermarket. Someone talking to a baby.. “oh that’s better, there’s that smile” because clearly the baby not smiling wasn’t good or acceptable. Or at least that’s the message the baby – and we all – received. The thought that the baby attached its identity to.
But then you meet someone who doesn’t see things the same way as you.
A common reaction to these people is to find a way to not be with them. The greater the differences the more we’ll psychologically or intellectually fight or run away from them. Our ego likes to be right and certain and these people who remove such certainty and who challenge our right-ness are a danger – or at least our ego thinks so.
I ran some happiness workshops recently and while most people were in agreement about the stress and pressures of diaries and conflicting priorities, about the difficult people and demanding bosses, the high expectations and reducing budgets…there was one person who was different.
“You all seem to be thinking about this stuff far too much” he said.
“This is just work. You come in, do your best with the time you’ve got, you close things off well for the day, you go home and you do other things”.
Most of the group held onto their own views and saw his as strange, or dismissed this difference with “well you must have an easy job” or “you mustn’t have the pressures that I have in my job” or, I’ve no doubt some were thinking, “your work isn’t as important as mine”.
As far as I know this guy hadn’t had any special lessons in how to get the most from life but he really seemed to have a good appreciation for the nature of Thought, and that when you really see that, your thoughts naturally drop away more easily and bother you less. When you see that the feelings thoughts generate don’t need solutions life gets easier, more obvious and more fun.
Notice for yourself. Next time you find yourself confronted by a different view, see what it’s like to notice that thought and not follow it or hold onto it as if it were the truth.
Why don’t they take responsibility??
At the gala dinner on Friday night there was some serious squealy feedback from one of the mics. And it went on for quite some time. It was really unpleasant!
One person (thank you David D’Souza) got up and helped to solve the problem and make it stop (i.e. turn off the mic!).
So why didn’t anybody else do this? Why did we all just sit there in discomfort?
One part of it might have been connected to this fable…..
A man walking down the street encountered folks sitting on their porch and a dog lying on the porch whining and groaning.
“Because he’s lying on a nail” they replied.
“Why doesn’t he get up?” the man asked.
“Because it’s not hurting bad enough” they replied. . . . .