Spam Filter for your Brain Episode 34
It seems like quite a strange podcast title, how to stop chasing happiness because we're taught that happiness is the way happiness is the be-all and end-all. Let's always strive for that in everything we do. From what we wear, what we eat, who we date, and where we go on holiday to our career choices. It's all about being kind, constantly seeking and striving for happiness. And what tempt you into your years today is that continually seeking happiness makes us quite unhappy. It certainly did for me. Because if we think that the object of any decision or any action we take in our life is to make us happy, what that means is when we're not feeling happy or the thing we're doing doesn't make us happy. We feel like we're getting something wrong, or we've made a bad decision, or we're not doing it well enough, or we're not good enough, or a whole load of other stories that I'm sure are well-versed in your head.
And I've come to realise that I want the decisions in my life, the actions that I take in my life and the things that I invite in and some that I don't. When life happens to me, my objective isn't to feel joy, happiness, rapture and delight the whole time. I desire to feel as much energy as possible. And the reality of life is that it involves a full load of different emotions. There is fear, anger, disappointment, confusion, excitement, apathy, joy, and happiness. I think boredom is pretty underrated. As humans, we only get taught how to manage that one a little.
It's when we try and escape quite a lot. There's a beautiful illustration of how this works in Buddhism of the ten worlds and how you can both be in one, feel one emotion and experience many others simultaneously. And we have this very binary view that things are either making us happy, we are happy, or it's wrong. And my life isn't like that. I've never experienced that to be so. And even though we are sold this idea that if we get everything right or buy all the items, we tick all the boxes, what we're going to win is trademark happiness in a very Disneyesque view of the world. And that sets us up for failure and often makes us quite mean to ourselves. So with this view, if you're willing to come with me for a moment and explore the possibility of the whole idea of the decisions you take, the things you do, the way you walk through your world is to try and experience and feel your emotions, what would be different for you? How would life show up differently when you were willing to feel your feelings rather than constantly try and shift them into one flavour of an emotion? What if your feelings were there to give you information to help you learn as much as possible about yourself and the world around you? What if all feelings were welcome and available to you? Because when they are, they suddenly develop illiteracy for them.
You develop an idea as to which ones you want, what they taste like, and how you respond to them, and you get to be in a lot more control of which ones you want to start moving towards and which ones you want to let go of. Because when you're resisting something, it becomes more prominent and louder and stronger because it isn't being heard. It's got to make its presence known. Whereas when we start to be available to all of the flavours and textures of life, then there is a place in our heart that opens up to be able to explore the things that we know, the things we want, and to be able to willfully consciously step away from the things that just aren't serving us anymore. They're wrong, not because we don't want them. And knowing that just because you don't like something is a choice you can make in your life is the most wonderfully liberating revelation of adulthood I have discovered.
If you do, you could find where you find some happiness in the middle of some frustration this week. Where could you find some happiness while being quite pissed off about something? Where could you find some happiness and snuggly comfort joy in some apathy this week? Have a little dabble and notice where there are some crossovers or emotions for you, which ones you like, and how they feel when you don't resist them.