Please forgive the rambling nature of this post, I’m just really interested in this sort of thing these days! 🙂
Last night I found myself in an overwhelming state of hopelessness– brought on by severely trivial things. I was failing hard at guitar hero (if anyone remembers that game) and then proceeded to move on to fail even more miserably at chess. Normally I’d just laugh my failures off but for whatever reason my failures on this particular night triggered some sort of emotional shit storm and I suddenly felt volcanically useless.
Do any of you know what I mean?
Those times where you just question everything you’re doing in your life, your purpose and direction, and you wonder how you’ll ever manage to navigate your way back to competence. If you know what I’m talking about, you know how utterly hopeless it feels. At times like these, it feels like the sweeping self doubt will never pass. For whatever reason we seem to convince ourselves that sadness and misery are here to stay forever which, of course, they aren’t. A few deep breaths and a good night’s sleep can help to clarify that.
These extreme emotions on the negative end of the feelings spectrum aren’t something we seek to achieve, they just kind of happen upon us. But for whatever reason, when it comes to the opposite– happiness — we are far more likely to look at it as some kind of epitome of emotional accomplishment and seek it out as something to achieve, rather than letting it be something we simply experience. And the consequence of this is that when happiness does come upon us, we often regard it as fleeting, something that is impossible to hold onto, and that, in turn, makes us even sadder.
We need to accept that happiness, like everything else we feel, comes in waves. It comes and goes. By trying to grasp some kind of permanent feeling of happiness we are actually doing ourselves a great disservice. People will sometimes ask one another, “are you happy with your life?” Which as an absolutely absurd and loaded question. I think it’s far better to strive for contentment, don’t you? If we strive for contentment then we can better appreciate happiness when it comes. Letting go of the idea that we should be ‘obtaining happiness’ and instead just live our lives and give ourselves permission to feel accepting of whatever emotions life throws at us will probably lead us in a more peaceful direction.
The demand for permanence in every area of our existence is the cause of human misery.
That quote comes from U.G. Krishnamurti. I guess all of these thoughts are coming from a series of audio recordings of his that I’ve been listening to of late, along with a whole lot of Alan Watts.
I’ll share one recording which has left a particularly strong impression on me…
So what do you guys think? I’d love to get some discussion going and hear some of your thoughts. Please feel free to share them if you’re so inclined. If not, then I’ll just say thanks for reading and I hope you have a great night/afternoon/morning wherever you are.