A happy life… yeah right….
We don’t control. We can hardly control our impulses. This pop culture that has forced us to believe that we can control our lives, our destiny (and even the lives of our closest people), is a culture that embraces the scam.
You woke up this morning a little tired because you had a long week, or a couple of fights with your husband or your adolescent child two days ago. Your income this month adds one more frown line to your forehead. Your busy life only remains you that you are merely “existing” simply to pay the bills. You walk through your day in a survival mode, trying to catch up with the social anxiety and obsession to “make it”, without having a clue what “make it” means… And yet, we believe we are in “control”. And being in “control” mysteriously promises us something we call “happiness”: the ultimate and highest goal of the human existence. Basically all of our efforts to “control” our life and our destiny have the one and only purpose to conquer the elusive rainbow of happiness at the end of the forest. And yet, it does not seem to work out…does it…?
History cannot track it, mind cannot define it, books cannot tell it, and humans don’t understand it. So, why do we desperately chase the promise of happiness? Such an elusive concepts, and yet we sacrifice our entire lives for a small taste. One bite, and that’s it. Maybe because our brains don’t like ambiguity and love resolution, we have managed to believe that if life is under “control” we might be able to enjoy the sweetness of happiness.
It is even more striking that happiness exists, is real, and can happen… but not now. It will always happen if…
Happiness seem to be spoken and written in the conditional form. It is never a tangible. It is always a ghost; one who scares us if we don’t get him.
It is your turn to fill in the blank. I would be happy if I married a better woman. I would be happy if my husband made more money. I would be happy if I had chosen a different career. I would be happy if I had children…and on and on. The amount of things we can write in the blank after the word “if” is endless and is tailored to our frustrated desires or dreams. Don’t make me wrong. You could be happy. But simply not right now…
If happiness is a state of being, one should be more concern with the internal chemistry of it rather than the external environment. If you don’t believe in a higher power or in the invisible, let’s simple say that happiness is the result of a perfect balanced combination of brain hormones. If you believe in a higher power, let’s say that it is a state of your soul where you fill unified. In either case, the issue lies inside of us, and not outside. And this chemical cocktail can be induced naturally. The brain can be trained and the soul will guide. But how?
I like pragmatism. For that matter, let’s say that our ultimate quest in life is to “unify” or to “fix” what is broken. Any feeling attached to unhappiness (fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, desolation, disappointment, etc) is an expression of a “divided” sensation. The opposite is true. Any feeling attached to the word “happiness” (joy, meaning, purpose, lightness, contentment, excitement, etc) is an expression of unification. We are given a broken place to be fixed. Have you ever fixed anything? Do you remember the feeling after the object was fixed and started working again? This process induces the feeling of happiness in the inner world. This process releases incredible amounts of serotonin and oxytocin; two important names to remember if you want to understand what happiness looks like inside your brain.
So, let’s fix the world. Let’s unify it. Let’s trust in the goodness of humankind and its innate ability to fix and to repair. Let’s be the healers we are seeking for. We all can heal. We all can induce a small change in this changing world. I am not suggesting that a wonderful family, a nice car, a great job and all that is not important. I am suggesting to look in a different direction when talking about happiness. Let’s look at what the brain looks like when is in a “happy” mood. Let’s look into our soul. It will always guide us to look in the right direction. Happiness should not be a conditional state, nor should it be an expensive one. Perhaps if we frame happiness as the result of a higher process, we will experience it. Perhaps if we conceive happiness as the “byproduct” of our conscious efforts to “fix” and unify, we will experience it on a regular basis.
Let’s change the conditional form into the present form. Let’s be happy, not if… Let’s be happy today. Now.