I’ve been reading Robert Thurman’s book, Inner Revolution, a Buddhist interpretive text, which has various exercises designed to enlighten. I always know when I am feeling sorry for myself: I pull a spiritual primer off my bookshelf. They have never left me the wiser, only inferior.
BUT Mr. Thurman asks an interesting question.
What if happiness did not exist and you were not expected to be happy, nor did you expect to ever be happy, because no one else was happy because happiness did not exist? This is partly true, anyway. Happiness is fleeting, followed by a period of unhappiness because the happiness has passed and refuses to return despite our demand.
What if we don’t demand happiness or seek it? What if we just hang around, not necessarily unhappy, but kind of happy but not really, because happiness does not exist.
It takes the pressure off.
Searching for happiness is like searching for perfection. Let’s add perfection to the list of things that we can pretend do not exist. How do you feel now? No happiness, no perfection. Every moment is kind of a slight bummer, but we’re alive, and everything we do is slightly mediocre, but we’re doing it.
Thank you, Robert Thurman.
The next chapter addresses forgiveness and unconditional love and acceptance for all human beings. Putting them first. Giving instead of receiving as the path to happiness. Wait, there is no happiness. Oh, wait. Yes, there is, if you give. If you give, give, give. Love, love, love.
Thank you, Robert Thurman.
I now feel superior to a very close, almost family kind of friend of mine who has turned down my request to stay at her enormous Victorian house in Newport while I look for permanent housing in the area. (Vietnam Vet sister) ” I can’t stand it. My mother can’t stand it. You must make other arrangements. Not once have you asked if it is okay for my mother, okay for me, if you stay here. ”
Now, I know that I have an intense personality that is best avoided after five minutes, but I don’t think this bitch is giving. I think she’s a selfish, fucked up, lousy excuse for a friend. WAIT.NO! I cannot think that. Robert Thurman suggests that I put myself in her shoes. In everyone’s shoes. We are all, ALL, just trying to get away from pain and move towards a happier state of being. Simple as that.
I remember a time when I told a good friend to leave the house because I was having some kind of melt down. She is still speaking to me. She has forgiven me because my mother was very sick at the time and I was caring for her.
I, on the other hand, will not forgive the bitch in the Victorian house. Oh, in fact, I do not consider her a friend anymore. Robert Thurman, help me, I am really stuck here.
You see, I take offense. I react from two ego states: Indignation and entitlement.
WARNING: artist’s have entitlement issues.
ADVICE: They should.