Chapter 50 From Misery to Joy

When you are finally escaping from your sorrow you have to recognize that your emerging joy is not getting away from suffering, but rather an understanding of it.  It is a deeper insight into your suffering.  You are going to address the questions of just why you are so unhappy and what is inside me that is creating it?  Just developing insight into your suffering is the first step towards liberation from it.  When you get the supreme feeling of enlightenment, know it is not something that just comes to everyone.  It is when your suffering is so complete and painful that you have to let go of it and fully realize why you had to let it go at the moment you let it go.


When suffering, pain, anxiety, anguish have been really examined and then released that real true contentment and bliss will arise.  When I say real, I mean that the old words you used to use to describe contentment and happiness was not real happiness.  But if you have not felt that real happiness, then you have no idea how to compare those words and experience to what you felt against what you will feel.  The longer you have been thirsty, the greater the sweetness of the juice that would eventually quench your thirst. 


Finally, when you achieve enlightenment (a feeling of bliss, joy, happiness, and being aware that you are not separate from others),  you will discover that all you ever felt was not really real, all your past hunting for joy and pleasure, was a dream.  They were not real.  What is real is something immutable that never leaves you.  A deep contentment is like true love between a mother and son.  Even though life changes, what comes and never goes is the true reality. 


As we discussed, there a reason for your misery.  Really try to understand your misery.  Go to the very core of it, undercover its roots, find out why it is there at all.  Pray and meditate about it.  Then really examine your current happiness.  Decide what makes you happy, and then understand how superficial it all is.  Once you recognize that your happiness is from superficial sources, then you can go about changing your entire consciousness.  Your entire being will change, and not even a shred of space will be left for discontent and misery.  Suddenly, your entire being will become love. 


After you reach a state of enlightenment, and for some it will be sudden, but for most it will be a slow and gradual process, know that what you think of as happiness is not really happiness.  Usually it is just entertainment.  Just like 99% of the Internet is just noise and random thoughts and musings, most of your so called happiness is only entertainment.  It is all just like a drug that you just intoxicate yourself with.  That is why after an hour or so of browsing through the Internet, you feel dissatisfaction and uneasiness.  This comes from knowing you just wasted your time.


Happiness that comes from the outside is not really happiness.  Real happiness comes from within yourself.  If your happiness depends on someone else or something else, it cannot be true happiness.  Real happiness comes only when you come home into yourself.  The fact that you are glued to your TV or Internet seeking happiness just means that you are not really happy at all. 


That is why cities like Las Vegas are the most joyless and unhappy of them all.  If you need so many things to get lost in, to entertain yourself, it is certain that you are not happy.  If a country like America needs so many things, so many channels on cable TV, so many alcoholic bars, so many types of drugs that abound, so many vapid superficial entertainments to get lost in, then the country itself must be without any joy, without any true happiness.  The more you require idle pleasures like alcoholic bars, drugs, Hollywood movies, TV shows, the Internet (what the new “stars” are saying, doing, and wearing) the more you are showing that you are trying to avoid the misery that you are in, the anguish you feel, so you can for a moment forget it all.  But remember that by avoiding something, avoiding a problem, nothing much is solved. 


As I wrote before, when scientists studied human subjects both before and after watching television or surfing the Internet, they were noticeably more depressed than before.  By allowing the salesmen of Society into your mind when you turn on the television, you are immediately being programmed for disappointment, things you cannot have which you cannot afford which you don’t need anyway, and so forth.


Thus, true happiness is to enter into yourself and into God.  In the beginning you will face much difficulty because you have to listen to your inner voice, and most people are not used to listening to their inner voice.  Then are used to their outer voices telling them what to do and how to think.  You have an inner voice, and the deeper you go into it, the more your happiness will result.  In your life, there would come a day either sooner or later that your misery will just be facing you.  It will seem like a great beast that you cannot escape.  It grabs you and chokes you.  Then suddenly, in a moment, there will be a break and the beast will disappear.  You will see the misery as something that is not really a part of you.  You just imagined it like so much else in your life.  I only hope that such a moment comes sooner rather than later. 


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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