August 23, 2012

A musing on our negative society

A friend asked me to go out with him as he's feeling a bit depressed. He told me that he liked hanging out with me because I could shed positive light on his gloomy point of view, I was his source of happiness.

I texted him back,"Ok. Btw, a child can teach an adult to be happy with no reason -Paulo Coelho"
He replied,"Yeah, and tell me if you can reason with a child about anything at all."

I just smiled and thought to myself, how sad is it, that we always need a reason to be happy, be it a certain someone, a certain something, the list goes on.
We always think if we have this or that, we'll be happy. I used to think if I were healthy, if I had a normal family, I would be happy. But it isn't true.. No matter what we have, we will never be happy as long we keep focusing on things we don't have. My friends who are prettier, healthier, have nice families, have their God, etc aren't happier than me..

I honestly think we can just BE happy with no reason. Try sitting in silence for a while, smile and focus on being present in the moment, and you'll be happy. Without reason :)
Because in the present moment there's no unhappiness. Unhappiness, pain happened in the past, a month ago, two seconds ago.. If we keep thinking and replaying the past in our mind, no wonder we'll always need a reason to be happy.. It is better called distracting ourselves from the past moments by setting other triggers or expectations.

Our society teaches us to be unhappy. To achieve more, not to settle down for less. The drive to achieve is not a bad thing, obviously. But we need to find the balance at some point.

I noticed something quite interesting.. I saw a lady dancing alone with her Ipod, smiling and enjoying herself while waiting for the train in a Berlin train station. People stared at her, frowning and shaking their heads.. I overheard two older ladies asking each other if the dancing lady was out of her mind. I just smiled and continued watching the dancing lady.. It felt liberating to see her joy, her enjoying the moment.

A few weeks later, I saw a lady crying in the subway.. Strangely enough, people reacted differently. Most people paid no attention to her, as if it was something totally normal. Some sympathized, but she didn't get any frowns nor stares from people.

It is normal to be happy when you're dancing in the park to the beats of music with strangers around you, but it isn't normal to be alone and happy. Whereas if you're sad, it's always acceptable in community or in private. It's becoming a widely accepted standard, to be happy we need stimulants, whereas we don't need any specific reason to be sad

It struck me then, our society is built to be able to accept sadness without reason, but have difficulties accepting happiness with no reason. We even justify sadness without reasons in many ways, winter blues, mild depression, etc.. blaming the lack of endorphin or function failures of our brain synapses.
But ironically, we always have to keep looking for reasons to be happy.. Music, external substances, achievements, etc. Why can't we just do nothing and be happy, crediting our own capability of producing endorphin?
There are pills to boost our mood, to suppress our sadness, because we are programmed to think that happiness is something to be achieved, whereas we can just BE sad. Let's take another twist to this kind of thinking. If we can simply BE sad why can't we just let ourselves BE happy as well?

My fave TV program is currently the Dog Whisperer. It always amazes me to see how easy a dog can change it's behaviors in a matter of minutes. Dogs (or animals) do not live in the past. Their misbehaviors are usually because they are following a pattern.. But once Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) trained these dogs, they changed blitz-fast. It makes me realize how complicated people are.. We harbor resentment and trauma, reliving the past, predicting the future based on our past experiences.. Dogs live in the moment and let go of their past. As Cesar said, it is far easier to rehabilitate a dog than a human.

A dear friend is still harboring excruciating pain from her past.. I asked her quietly if it's so painful, why did she relive the past every single time.. She snapped at me and said that I wouldn't be able to understand traumata, it's different from normal pain. I sensed somehow that she's somewhat afraid to move on, to let go of her trauma, the source of her justification and pity party. Ah well, but who am I anyway to throw accusations at her? I never walked in her shoes and I will stop holding my own way and opinions. I just hope that she'll find her peace of mind eventually.

No comments: