BOTH HAPPINESS AND SUFFERING ARE A CHOICE
Updated: May 27, 2020
Having been born fairly early in the post WWII/Baby Boomers generation, the current world situation – Coronavirus pandemic – is the most challenging period throughout the world in my lifetime. The need for wisdom, love, compassion, calmness, understanding openness, kindness, integrity, creativity and community is essential for dealing with the critical health and economic issues. It is easy to believe and say, ‘how can one not be afraid/anxious/upset/angry?
My answer is that it is up to me to decide whether I want to suffer or still be happy during this period. The reason I can hold onto this position is that all my suffering comes from my attachment to my thoughts and beliefs. My thoughts and beliefs are not based on either truth or reality. They are based upon my conditioning and experiences. In fact, they aren’t even mine, they are the result of the level of human consciousness on the planet at this time. They are not original for they are all recycled and shared. More importantly, I don’t have to believe them or live by them – it really is a choice once I have the level of awareness to know that.
It has been estimated that about 90% of the thoughts of typical humans are based upon either: (1) judgment - which is based upon individual preferences of good or bad (desirable or undesirable); or (2) control - trying to figure out how to fix the world to better meet individual preferences.
Although this may be ‘normal’, it is a way of living that guarantees suffering, for mostly it is resisting the present moment because it doesn’t meet individual preferences. It also makes the future scary and that leads to more suffering.
There is another, and much better, choice. It has been stated in such phrases as ‘The Power of Now’, ‘Loving What Is’, the Tao, the path on non-resistance, unconditional happiness. The basic principle is simple – be present and accept each moment totally and respond from the deeper self of spirit. There can be no preferences or fears related to the past or future. I know this happens only from hindsight, for when I am fully present, there is no ‘self’ consciousness.
Living this way is not easy at first because almost every human is addicted to their thought, beliefs and preferences. Comparison and judgment can run and ruin one’s life. Obtaining freedom and happiness no matter what happens requires disciplined practice to form new ways of living in the moment. I will cover that topic in my next blog.
Books mentioned: 'Loving What Is' by Byron Katie; 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle