How to be really happy

©Maurizio Bisogno

The forbidden knowledge is that what you don’t want to know. You know that. The forbidden knowledge is about what attracts you and, at the same time, is not acceptable by the cultural system you live in.

Why people prefer distraction to understanding, and pleasure to knowledge? Because thinking is a hard thing to do. But what does this actually mean? Simply that it causes pain to think thoroughly about yourself, your real emotions and wishes, your real thoughts. Our mind does not want to think about conflicts. We create a system in which there are acceptable behaviours and forbidden ones, but also inside ourselves we have acceptable thoughts and feelings as well as forbidden ones. The social context we live in has written and unwritten laws and the latter are the most insidious ones, for the simple fact that we feel tempted to transgress them more strongly. The unwritten moral is allowing you the benefit of doubt: inside yourself the prohibition is not so clearly defined, there is hope that probably that interdiction is not really in force, it is probably only in your mind and that, if you win your fears and doubts, you may be allowed to it.

So, distraction is coming to your “help” in this way: it takes you away from the disturbing and painful thoughts that we all have during our life. We feel this need to evade from ourselves, to run away from our frustration, from our impossible thoughts or desires or wishes or conflicts. Once again we observe that the rule of “avoiding pain at all cost” is the ground of our choices. Yes, because we believe that pain is bad and must be avoided or alleviated with any means. We are indoctrinated to believe that a life in which there is pain is to be condemned, while, in truth, there is absolutely no life without pain!

Pain is our strength as human beings. We are born through our mother’s pain and our own pain. We learn by falling and painfully struggle to get up again. We are not children of pleasure but of pain. Let me explain better what I mean.

Pain is a given, pleasure must be searched for. Do you see? Why, we look for physical and mental pleasure which we can never hold for more that a certain definite time. What happens when the moment of pleasure is gone? We start searching for more. So, the condition we go back naturally is that of pain, of dissatisfaction which pushes us to move again and again toward the search of new moments of pleasure.

But if we accept pain and dissatisfaction as our natural condition, our search becomes different. Think about this: by knowing that you are naturally a sufferer you will not put your hope into something that you will never obtain, and that makes you jump from a pleasure to another. The promise of pleasure is a false one because it will never fill your desire, it can only do it temporarily.

Take the example of money; everyone is after it. Still, when you have got some, then you want more of it, and then more, you never stop looking for it. So, where does it keep you that what money promises you? Certainly not in a place of happiness, instead in a condition of wanting more. It will make sure that you will always look for more of it. It promises you that you will always have the desire of it.

Take the example of sexual pleasure, or think of the various drugs, or sport activities. We look for that condition, for that stage of mind and of the body in which we feel relieved! This is the key word: relieved. Relieved from what? Pain! Psychological pain come mainly as anxiety and most of our behaviour is determined by it; we work because we are anxious about our future, we shop to calm our anxiety, we look for entertainment and distractions to avoid anxiety and so on. So what do we really think when we act under the control of anxiety? Nothing. We don’t think, because if we were thinking we would understand the reason that is moving us, we would face the real cause of our impulse or our desire, which is anxiety, fear of the unknown, and I am talking here of the daily, normal unknown not of the metaphysical and philosophical questions about the nature of the universe, the meaning of life, the ultimate destination of our life and so on. No, I am talking about the anxiety rising from the daily preoccupation: accidents, children, jobs, violence, misery, unemployment, debts, social pressure, hyper-achievements and so on. These we elect as the sources of our anxiety.

Now, the question to ask yourself is: what is it that really I can do to change all those things that do not depend on me? I am asking you to pay attention to this question for some minutes. Take some time to think of those things that are not in your power, of which you are not the cause and that affect you so much that you spend your all life worrying about, to the point that you become anxious because of them and, as it is not in your power to do anything about them, you look for any means to avoid that pain; for someone is distraction, another is desire to run away, another is a drug, another is a sport and so on. You will understand that all that you do is avoiding the only act that would bring peace and happiness: thinking. Yes, because if you were able to think that the sources of those worries and pain is not you, you would accept life as it is and make the most out it. Let me give you an example: suppose you are very concerned about the fact that one day you will die. What can you really do about it? Nothing. We all are going to pass away, so your pain is worthless but at the same time you spend your time looking constantly for some thing to avoid it and distract yourself from it. But, if you were accepting it as the most natural event of your life, if your really understood that you die because you are alive and that your task is not an avoidance of this fact, but it is its full acceptance, then the lapse of time between your birth and your final departure would be life and not avoidance. Only then you will use your time as being alive, only then you will be moved by the proper nature and not by the underlying anxiety caused by your worries.

This attitude is the source of the real happiness, not your futile entertainments, not your desperate desire of material things, not your willingness to enslave yourself in a life long mortgage, not your desperate research of the form of pleasures, not in anything else. Remember this and you will be happy and free.

Have a nice day! ©Maurizio Bisogno

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