HAPPINESS IS THE DEVIL
I can’t do a chin up. I’m getting stronger lately but I can’t do a chin up.
My body just doesn’t have it in me right now. I don’t have the strength.
If I want to do a chin up I’m going to have to train a lot harder.
I am going to have to facilitate a process whereby my muscle, bones and fascia build that capability.
It’s the same when we’re trying to feel an emotion like joy that we aren’t used to feeling.
We often make the mistake of thinking like this: "when I have ____ (relationship, job, move, child, whatever ‘thing’) I will be happy." By which we mean, "I will feel good." We think we will feel good when we have what we want.
But when what we want comes along what happens is often surprising. We feel let down or disoriented or fleeting happiness and on to the next thing. When we get what we want the practice of moment by moment steady awareness of ourselves is enlightening.
When I get what I want I can feel my energy shifting to something different - something to be anxious about, some lack. I can actually feel the anxiety moving around inside me looking, trolling for the next thing.
Because sometimes I am not strong enough to receive the good thing that has happened. My body does not have the pathways, the capability, to hold on to receiving anything for any length of time.
“Happy” is an ambiguous term. But the experience of joy, pleasure, satisfaction - feeling good when long-awaited dreams materialize or when a moment of trueness or beauty makes itself known - it is a grown-in ability to have this experience.
I am sure you can see what I am talking about in others - people who are never happy, never satisfied - who seem to thrive on the breaking up and getting back together or the horrible politics at work - but who do have no ability to reframe or renew. It’s easy to spot - it’s everywhere when you start looking.
But in ourselves it takes a bit more work to see. And it can be jarring when we do.
It has taken quite dramatic positive events to begin to see how deeply my wiring is set for loss. For not being seen. For not being safe.
And once we have the gift of seeing we can struggle with ourselves. We can soothe ourselves. We have choice. Lots of it.
We spend so much time in our heads. “I am lucky - many people have worse problems.” or “I should feel happy - this is what I have always wanted."
But then there is what is real - our experience. Staying with our experience is what gives us everything.