Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday, Sept. 2: Feeling Bad and still....Happiness

Sometimes we don’t feel good. Say we ate too much. Or we are tired. Or someone is giving us a hard time.

Now. The natural, normal thing to do, is to try to avoid the feeling bad. Take a Tums. Drink a cup of coffee. Slam the door, either literally or emotionally/ internally on the person giving us the hard time.

Or we could do another rather common action, which is to feel bad about feeling bad. “Oh, I’m so stupid. I ate too much again. What’s the matter with me?”

Or: I’m going to push ahead twice as hard and show this tiredness who is boss.

Or : with the person giving us a hard time, we could feel bad that they are being the way they are, or get into some story about how this has happened ever since childhood.

There are other approaches, the most heretical being to love what is. In the Byron Katie section, we have a whole process for dealing with the thinking that often underpins our feeling bad. And then again, we can just take the mindset of loving that feeling in our bodies when we ate too much. Not loving in the sense that we want this to be our normal state, but loving in the sense of sensing this area and relaxing and breathing and sending it the kind of kind attention we send to someone or something we love.

Or: with the tiredness, we can again be curious and kind and sense exactly what the tiredness is doing in us, how it is, to be us, in this moment, alive and experiencing this tiredness. We can take this tiredness as an invitation to slow down and get true to what we really need in the present, which is often simply to come back and BE in the present.

Or: with the person giving us a hard time (and this is hard, obviously): To see them as a person, who isn’t us, who are saying and doing certain things that have to do with them, and enjoying them being who they are, even if that is a person who is giving us a hard time. (And like Byron Katie says, once we can love our enemy, we don’t have to invite them to dinner.)

And then, when we can do this, we can be truly happy, because we don’t have to have everything “just so,” in order to be happy. We can be happy even though we “feel bad,” because our “feeling bad” is like the presenting symptom in Feldenkrais or real healing: it’s showing us that something needs attention, and in giving that attention and enjoying treating ourselves and our lives well, we cannot help but be happy.

So the secret of happiness is not to run away from feeling bad, but to acknowledge, sense, appreciate and love what is, and all that we can feel in that state is something that has no real word, and is pointed to with phrases like: the peace that passeth understanding, or freedom, or truth, or love.

Oh happiness.


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