Chapter 44 The More You Desire to Be Happy, the Less Happy You Will Be

One of the root causes of misery is that you are seeking happiness.  That is what I alluded to in the last chapter.  The more you want to be happy, the less happy you will be.  That is why most mentally handicapped people seem so serene and content.  They are never seeking happiness, so they are never miserable.  They have no desires, so they are content.  They never regret the past, feel sorry for themselves in the present moment, or worry about the future.


I remember one of my first volunteer jobs at the Northern Virginia It seems crazy, but if you realize how the human mind works, you will be able to recognize the truth of what I say.  You may have heard about “Murphy’s Law”:  “Whatever you fear will happen, WILL happen, and at the worst possible time.”  This is because whenever things go as planned, there is not much thought placed in it.  But once something goes wrong, all attention is placed onto that event.


Let’s say you drive to work every workday.  Every day is the same.  Then one day you have to be at work on time because you are making a very important presentation.  And it is on that day that your car would not start.  All the other times your car did not start made no difference to you, you ignored all those occurrences because there was not that much importance to you being on time.  But there will be a day like the one I just presented where you HAVE to be on time, and over a period of time there will be a day when your car does not start.  When those two event collide, you will be so miserable.  This all resulted from your desire to have to perform at your work in an optimum fashion, and the typical employer in America has great expectations for all the employees.


America takes everything so seriously, and that is the root cause of all of its citizens falling into misery.  Seriousness is proportional to sadness.  As we discussed, whenever you are serious, you are not living in the “now”, but you are living in the fear of the future.  All of this is because you are moving away from the present moment. 


Anytime you desire anything, you are moving into the future, anytime you are regretting anything, you are moving into the past.  What you are doing is moving away from the present moment, the “now”.  Your desire for happiness basically means that you are not pleased with your present moment.  Your desire for happiness, your desire for power, your desire for money, simply shows just how miserable you really are because you are not content with what you have.


And that is what America is all about, to be discontented.  Because Society always wants to move faster and faster, and teaches all of its citizens that they should get “ahead”.  If the model or paradigm was to simply “be”, and to be content, people would not be working crazy hours at work to get ahead, skipping their vacation time, not spending time with their children, trying to outfox their co-workers to get the promotion.   


Your unhappiness is saying that someday into the future you may be happy, in some distant future.  Do you see how the process is so flawed?  So your mind is continuously move away from the present moment and your thoughts move away from your center and into the future.  Then, you will start to feel this hollow feeling inside, and you will feel your misery start flowing all around you and into you. 


When tomorrow does not bring the happiness that you seek (it usually never does), you will crave happiness even more while you remain disappointed, and then the vicious cycle starts.  The more unhappy you become, the more addicted you will become seeking after periods of momentary happiness.  You are like a rodent chasing your own tail or a hamster running along one of those circle wheels.  The faster you run, the more you stand still.  There is that U2 song even, “Running to Stand Still” which comes to mind.


The most important thing then is to not dream and hope for a better tomorrow beyond what is reasonable.  And if you meditate on this, you will discover what “reasonable” is.  If you engage in this dreaming, you are only feeding your addiction, like taking another hit of the crackpipe, or taking another drink of vodka.  Yeah, it feels good and fends off the sadness for a short while, but then the misery will return.  The smart thing to do is to put down the crackpipe and the drugs.  As Ram Dass’s book goes, “Be Here Now”.  Do this, get off of your addiction to seeking happiness, and then a tremendous revelation will be waiting for you to enjoy, because you can enjoy reality, which is the present moment, not looking all around you.


About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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