Happy New Year, Everyone. Paula here sharing what you might think are ‘strange’ thoughts for the New Year. Bear with me and I’ll explain. The first question you might ask is “What is wrong with pursuing happiness?” Shouldn’t people be happy? Are you suggesting that we all be miserable, especially when we are entering 2016? The word I feel that needs stressing is “Pursuit” or “Pursuing.” It implies that you need to chase happiness. It says that you do not have enough happiness NOW – you need MORE.
As a human, we watch or observe situations. By watching, we are apart of a situation and not embroiled in it – not so involved as we “cannot see the forest for the trees.” When not involved we can be rational. That is us when we are in the ‘watcher’s mode.’ We step aside to see better and we are peaceful. (Anger, pride, fear, resentment, retaliation, unforgiveness, envy, sloth – are all ego).
The Watcher is your soul or higher self – it acts out of gentleness, humility, peace-making, forgiveness, concern for others). We can be in anger (ego) and then become the ‘watcher’ and control our anger and resort to a truce or walk away.
The Ego within us is like a child. We often say, “What an ego you have!” We are implying that the person is wrapped up in his or herself. Watch a child with uncontrolled ego. “I want this, Give me that..It is mine!” The ego is adults is more subtle and even dangerous. Adults ask, “What is wrong with wanting….a bigger house….a more expensive car….a loving relationship….a better job?” Again, the word to watch is “wanting.” The ego constantly ‘wants’ – it wants more and more. Think about it…we save and save for something and then we get so used to it – that we want something else! People build great companies – enjoy the prestige, enjoy the power and use the money and power to have limited parties, unlimited sex….and then, they find they are empty! Something is missing. Some try to fill the void with alcohol and drugs. Many people walk around trying desperately to fulfil the void – “Ah, when I marry this will give me happiness.” I should add that those people who build companies (like Bill Gates) now give away their money or help others. They have stepped out of the ego mode into the “we” mode or compassion and service to others.
In pursuing happiness, we miss the happiness that we have NOW. There is nothing wrong with saving for a house or planning to get a car or a better job. It is a matter of proportion. Planning for these things should not be the number one priority. Just plan, put put your attention on the NOW. Recognize and appreciate the dwelling place you have NOW – your car may be old, but it gets you places. Appreciate and put all your effort into your present job – that is ethical and appreciate the people around you in the NOW. This does not mean that you cannot look for a better job!
The Whining Ego
Have you ever stopped a kid who has been in a fight? The ego is out of control – hence the child’s anger in words and in physical action. The child wishes to defend what he knows is not appropriate behaviour – “Well, he started it! She was unfair and mean! They gang up on me!” We as adults have to watch this “blaming game.” When confrontations arise, we must stick with the ISSUE and NOT attack the person we are arguing with. To your partner you might ask, “Can you help with the dishes?” If we get a negative response, we often will then attack the person, “You never help with anything! Last year, I had to do all the cleaning after your daughter’s party!” We have to ask “Why can you not help with the dishes?” We might be surprised that our partner has had a bad day or has to complete something else. It is then that we need to be bigger than the issue of dishes and state, “O.K darling, I’ll do it tonight!” If you have a lazy and selfish partner, that’s a different issue. A refusal can damage our ego – and we want to retaliate with grumpy words – silence – or a withdrawal of our affection. This is game playing. You might want to state, “I am angry at your refusal, but since I am angry, it will not be the best time to discuss the situation. But do discuss it later.
The Blaming Game
When adults lose a job, or home or partner, the ‘little child ego’ is the first to lash out. We feel angry. Life is not fair. “She left me after all I have done for her!” or “I was fired because the boss had favourites.” We need to step out of the ego and reach inside ourselves to gain perspective, hope and courage to go on. Someone has cheated on you – it’s not fair, but it is someone else’s decision and action. Do you want to forgive her? Do you want to live life without her? How often battered women resort to blaming themselves!
Ego v Honesty or Reality
We can react to people and situations with ego or honesty. Life is NOT fair and some people seem to have a better life than we do. The idea is not to compare yourself with others. Give praise and notice to you and do it in the NOW. We all like to day-dream a little. When I buy a lottery ticket, I often have a few dreams – some are really self-centred (big home with pool) and others are good – I could set up schools, hospitals, clean water projects. I know this is play time. I am not likely to win the lottery. What I do appreciate is the “Lottery of Life” that I have won. I do a mental check list of the NOW. We need to be a grateful person, a human being of light and love. We need to nourish our souls with wholesome thoughts and good deeds. We need to down play the word “I” and use the word “We.” Here are some of the blessings that many of us take for granted. We do not need to pursue these things – most of us have them.
–People live without sight – I can see the beauty of nature and people around me.
-People live without sound – I can hear conversation, laughter, music and raindrops.
–People live without walking – I am not wheelchair or bed bound – I can walk, dance, run and skip.
–People live without food – I will not be hungry today.
-People live without clean water – I will enjoy not only water, but coke cola, coffee, tea.
–People live without work – I have a job – or I have access to money or planning to get work.
–People live without homes – I have shelter and safety from wars and violence on the street.
–People live without hope: – I have hope and I can share my hope with others.
-People live in fear – I have the choice to be fearful or powerful, to be triumphant or a victim.
Happiness is here – there is no need to pursue it. If you need love, such as a partner in your life – do take steps to make it happen. Being in the NOW doesn’t mean that you are incapable of action – it merely means that you appreciate what you HAVE NOW.
Yesterday is gone and for any regrets we may have – there is nothing we can do about them.
The future is a mystery – yes, you can plan wisely for retirement, so long as you don’t dwell in the future, but plan for it by living in the NOW. The Buddhist’s use the lotus flower as a symbol of hope. The lotus flower does not wallow in the mud, (despair) but it rises above it to bloom!
The NOW is all you have. Tomorrow, will be the NOW.
Happy New Year. paula.