If You Want Lasting Happiness Click Here …
First, on the subject of last week’s blog, crumbs, what a difference a title makes! For those who didn’t read it because it was entitled ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ and you are sick of being told about recycling, me too, and it wasn’t actually very much to do with recycling at all, at least not in the physical sense. I might as well have called it ‘Read This and Get The Flu!’ If I put it out again I’d call it “Everything is good”, which is closer to what it’s actually about – so if that title is a little more tempting, then check out last week’s blog! https://rivkadavid.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/reduce-re-use-recycle-why-recycling-might-be-part-of-human-evolution/
Now a couple of weeks ago I went with my colleagues Ronit Gerber http://www.naturalgatewayclinic.com/reflexology_ronit_gerber.html and Cliff White http://www.cliffordwhite.co.uk/ to a talk by David Ault http://www.davidault.com/ (there’s a right bunch of links for you – is this the modern-day name dropping?!) The talk was entitled ‘The Grass Is Greener Here’ and was very spiritually uplifting – in fact over the last few weeks I have felt like we must have received some sort of ‘attunement’ just in being there, because I’ve been seeing things a shade or two differently since then.
Well anyhow there were a couple of things he said that have really stuck with me. One was this. He said that someone once asked him the question: “Why doesn’t happiness last?” and went on to answer “Because you don’t resist it”. Unpacking those two statements reveals the assumptions that ‘happiness doesn’t last’ and that ‘if you resist something, it lasts’. And therefore ‘if you want happiness to last, you have to fight it’. Hmmm. Not what I’d really want to do with happiness. There’s also then the hidden assumption that ‘If you don’t fight happiness, it will pass you by’. Again, hmm.
And yet there’s a certain truth to the notion that ‘what you resist persists’. Think about it. The type of person you find uncomfortable in your life keeps coming back to you in various skins. If you have no money and you fight that, boy does it keep coming back. If your children are rude and cheeky the more you fight it and try to get them to stop the cheekier they get. The more you tidy your house the messier it gets, every time you replace one bulb another one shortly blows, the more you shave the more it grows back and the more weeds you remove the more weeds you get!
Now think about the things you deal with and then release, instead of fighting. If your child is cheeking you and -once you’ve let them know the behaviour is unacceptable and if necessary (lovingly!) provided a consequence for the action- you let the whole thing drop and get on with the rest of life, they often ease off and become agreeable again. If you find a way to create a better relationship with the people you previously had difficulty with, you suddenly find they stop popping up, and if you de-clutter your house for once and for all, you don’t have to battle with mess on a daily basis, and you can have a life instead (I think I’m talking to myself here, but if the cap fits, wear it :-))
So there’s truth to the adage, that ‘what you resist persists’. Where does that leave us with happiness though, or any other good thing for that matter? Do we have to fight everything good in order to keep it? This brings me to the work of another of my favourite people. Younger readers you probably won’t know who he is …. Alan Alda who played Hawkeye Peirce in Mash. Ladies of my generation and older, I’ll give you a minute …………………………….tum tee tum ……………………………. ok now stop day dreaming and come back to me! Alan Alda wrote a book called ‘Never Have Your Dog Stuffed’ in which he told of how as a child, when his dog died he couldn’t let it go, so instead of burying him, he had him stuffed and kept him in the family room at home! But this was a bad idea. Instead of being a lovely comfortable companion, the dog now seemed to look at him accusatorily, so much so that he soon didn’t even feel comfortable walking into the room. It would appear that it isn’t always a good idea to hang on to the good things once their time has passed!
And I think that herein lies the answer. What you resist persists, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. What you don’t fight passes … and here’s the kicker … do you think it could be possible that NOTHING, NOT EVEN HAPPINESS, IS MEANT TO LAST?
“What? Shock, Gasp, Horror! Are you telling me that I’m not entitled to lasting happiness after all????? That if I work hard, and do all the right things and be a good boy/girl that I still won’t suddenly be entitled to lifelong bliss? I’ve been working on the assumption for ages that If I put in a life of hard graft that I will at least get to spend my golden years in a stretch of one long happy time! That’s what I’ve worked for, that’s what I want! What horror is this, you’re telling me I can’t be eternally happy??!! You must be wrong. I insist that you’re wrong. You’re a life coach, you’re supposed to coach me to a life of never ending happiness … aren’t you?”
Well, um, no…… Sorry. But I can coach you towards a life of something much better, if you’re interested.
How about a life of just being? A life of animating all that you really deeply are. A life where you never hold anything in desperate fear of losing it, but instead accept everything that comes. The difficult things you deal with, grow through and release. The enjoyable things you rejoice in to the maximum and those too you release, so that you are ‘open for business’ for the next thing. Always open, always in the moment, always truly living. Always accepting and from that acceptance acting when necessary but never from desperation, always because the action is the most appropriate and most whole thing you could do. And maybe that really is happiness after all. Not ra-ra, whoopee doo happiness, but simple peace and contentment, whatever the weather.
Don’t know about you, but I won’t be stuffing any dogs (at least not intentionally). The path I commit to follow is this one – acceptance, peace and contentment, come what may. I know it isn’t always easy – that’s part of the work we’re here to do, and I think it will be worth it in the end. Bury any dead dogs and come walk with me!