How do you be happy?
This question has whispered in my mind since I was a kid. I’m sure it’s been on everyone’s mind since they were children. What makes you happy?
So let’s just list all the things I’ve done to try and make myself happy; I’ve tried LSD. Psilocybin. I’ve rolled on molly at an edm music festival. I’ve gone mountain biking, rock-climbing, backpacking, camping, surfing, and hiking. I’ve stayed up all night drinking with friends, and smoked at sunrise. I’ve meditated, and written, and read. I tried Christianity for close to four years, I’ve tried Buddhism, and philosophy. I have a beautiful, loving girlfriend.
Close friends. Played soccer. Decently popular in high school.
And yet, there is so often pain. And loss. Doubt, suffering, feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, jealousy, they coat my life.
I can be on cloud nine one second, and then the next I might be plunged into the shadows by a passing thought.
I understand: through what I’ve read, one thing is clear – life has suffering. That’s not in a depressing way, it’s a fact. If you’re alive, there is no separation from pain. It’s as inherent to being human as breathing.
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
Okay, so what is the difference from me and a person like Jesus or the Dalai Lama? People who lived without suffering?
That assumption is flawed. Who said Jesus didn’t suffer? Who said Jesus didn’t feel incredible depths of pain? He probably felt deeper pain than any human alive, because he was so compassionate to the suffering of every living thing. He saw pain in everyone, and that probably cut him deeper than anyone else ever felt.
The pain that hurts most in our lives is not for ourselves.
It’s the pain of losing someone else, it’s the pain of not being able to live someone else’s life for them. It’s the pain of watching a loved one suffer.
And when Jesus was crucified he felt doubt, suffering, and pain.
At three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
I’m not Christian. I’m not preaching. I’m trying to make a point. The most loving person felt the deepest pain a human could experience because he was so filled with light.
But if you look across all the religions, or just talk to some of the happiest people you know, they all have something in common.
Loving kindness for others.
In Buddhism, the state of loving kindness for others is called Bodhissatva, and it’s the level just beneath enlightenment.
There are two other states in Buddhism that have lasting happiness: learning, and realization. Learning is where you gain knowledge about life, and realization is where you come to an awakening of some truth in the world.
An example of this is playing guitar – if you love playing, hours can fly past while learning a piece. And when you master a certain piece through discipline, you can feel like the world connects in a sub-conscious way that you’ve just gotten a glimpse of.
Why did I write this?
This question has been on my mind lately. And from what I’ve gleaned over the years, no one has it figured out. And if someone says they do, they’re trying to sell you something.
But it’s okay. If you take one thing from this post, be kind to people.
All anyone wants is to be happy, and feel loved.
And I don’t really know how to finish this post, so I’m going to steal a line from a fantastic vlogger you should definitely check out, named Ben Brown.
Remember to work hard, be nice to people, and try not to get lost or killed.
Yeah. That seems appropriate.