I hear too many people telling me how they found this new philosophy or spirituality that surely will make them happy. Usually it’s fairly complicated, involves Eastern customs and an old man with a beard wearing a bed sheet. I’m not knocking Eastern Philosophy. It just seems to me that anyone who has some ability with words and fancies guru outfits will always find eager listeners. Being a coffee shop junkie, I hear it all. New-age mumbo-jumbo mixes with Buddhism and quotes from various self-help books. It’s like a soup for the soul in which you can’t recognize the original vegetables. Sometimes they even throw in Jesus, like adding brown beef chunks to the broth. Unlike real vegetable soup however, it certainly doesn’t make sense.
Trying to be happy is missing the point. Being happy is mostly a personal decision. Anyone who has a roof over their head, has enough food, lives in a relatively safe place and is not clinically depressed can make that choice.
It’s no wonder people are confused and stressed with the number of stimuli assaulting us every day. Take your garden variety supermarket; flashy colors everywhere, lights, music, promotions, coupons, aisles of products jumping at us from all sides. Television shows us fictitious lives of beautiful people with all their toys. The average shot length for movies in the U.S. (ASL) Went from around fifteen seconds in the fifties to 2.5 seconds in 2007. Society pressures us to adopt everyone else’s standards, to perform as well and look as good as the guy or woman next door. So many expectations breed depression.
The first thing to do in your life is simplify it. Don’t try to buy things because others do and you think it will make you look better. It’s not a competition. If you try to attain a social status you don’t have, it will stress you to no end and you’ll never be happy, even with a Lamborghini in your garage. Rich people commit suicide too, hum, I wonder why.. Stop watching the damn TV every day! You will find more interesting things to do, more on that later.. Simplify your finances, your work, anything you can find that doesn’t have to be as complicated as it is. You will be amazed at how many hours a week you can save, not to mention your stress level going way down.
The second one is to do things. I don’t mean sit on the couch and play video games. Build things for yourself, anything. I work on my laptop computer, programming. At the end of the day, when I close it, there is nothing for me to look at. The satisfaction from doing my work disappears at the same time my computer memory empties, when I pull the plug. We need to build things, and look at them. For your brain to be happy, it needs to move your body, that’s what it’s for! Otherwise, we might as well be a tree, no brains needed there.. Exercise to make your brain produce the chemicals it needs. You’ll lose weight and look better too, it’s a winner. Before television, many more people knew how to read and play music. There is no satisfaction be be gleaned from watching a screen hours on end.
The third one is to go places. We need to see different things. No, not the mall! I mean landscapes. There has to be something green within driving distance of where you live, you know, trees, grass, that sort of things.. Not the local football field, real wilderness. I am thinking about buying a kayak to explore the West Coast of Florida. I used to fly around during flight training to log hours. A fellow student would come back from, let’s say West Palm Beach, telling us there was a good looking girl behind the front desk at the FBO, and five Cessnas would take-off from Sarasota in a hurry. It was great. It’s not that we were all so obsessed, but just going somewhere else was exiting and uplifting. Just walking sometimes does the trick. You can also end-up pretty far on a bicycle when you forget what time it is.
The fourth one is to see other people. We are gregarious creatures by nature. I often go to Sarasota News and Books to sit outside with a cup of tea and watch people passing by. Soon or later, someone I know comes along and we end-up a full table, in an animated discussion. Last time I did that, I found myself playing Boggle with a bunch of friends! I might appear distant to some, but I like people. Why would I go to coffee shops all the time when I could make tea, coffee and chocolates at home? It’s human nature. When I hear “I don’t like people,” I usually don’t believe it. Self deception, that’s what it is. Hermits are few and far between, I’ve never met a real one. the best part of this tendency is that you can do things and go places with other people!
I am no expert in psychology. I just know that I enjoy life, always have, always will. I don’t need spirituality, religion, gurus and whatnots. If you do and it works for you, that’s fine by me. I just wanted to say that life is incredible and beautiful, and just looking around us and remembering it it all it takes sometimes to bring forth a smile. If you are never happy, go see a doctor, seriously, they can help, to a point. In the end, it’s always up to you. Have a great day, I am!