Looking for Happiness?

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It seems as though our world is in a constant struggle for success, for happiness, for one-upping each other. We are all caught in the search for the unattainable, true happiness which everyone seems to think comes from success. Perhaps it’s the other way around…success comes from happiness. How can one possibly acheive success when they are unhappy?

After I had a baby and suffered deeply from postpartum depression, I learned just exactly what “unhappy” was — as a condition, a state of being that really seemed as though it would never end. So unhappy that getting out of bed seemed an unattainable dream.  Like becoming an Olympic athlete or learning how to fly with my arms.  Depression of any sort is like a sinkhole of life.  Where you are stuck sinking in a mire that takes so much effort to get out of.

After I lost a baby, I realized that “sadness” can become even deeper when it is combined with grief and loss.  Your thought processes no longer make any sense in the reality of the world.  How can the earth still be spinning when our lives are incredibly, suddenly tilted.  “Snapping out of it” is no longer possible.  It’s a long journey to become your new “normal” level.  It makes you realize just how good “happy” or even normal or average can be.

Here’s some words from the Dalai Lama on attaining happiness. He certainly looks at things from a different angle than most. Maybe that’s what we all need… “Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. But that is not all. We find that not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness but they also lessen our experience of suffering. Here I am not suggesting that the individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others’ happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune than the one who does not.  Sickness old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace — anxiety, doubt, disappointment — these things are definitely less. In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense.”

Perhaps instead of becoming so wrapped up in our own personal worlds which consist of just a small bubble, we need to widen our own bubble to include the entire planet.  Does my cold matter as much as it did a minute ago when I realize the heartache of victims of war?  Does it matter so much that we can’t afford to go on elaborate holidays every year when so many can’t afford to feed themselves?  That Dalai Lama is one heck of a guy, and I think he’s onto something…

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