Friday, March 09, 2012

How to Be Happy Forever


In the comment section of the Favor of Kings post, I had a conversation with Lance Michael Foster about what happens when you achieve your goals. To keep things in perspective, he offered the following:
The old chestnut goes is that there are three curses of increasing severity (often said to be Chinese, though there is no proof):

1. "May you live in interesting times."
2. "May you come to the attention of those in authority."
3. "May your wishes be granted."
and:
"There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it."
-Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, IV
I don't think he was being a a cheerio-pisser on purpose. I read through his blogs a bit to get a sense of who he was and where he was coming from before I started assuming he was being an intentional prick, and he comes across as an interesting guy with a wide range ofactivities . Subsequent comments have revealed him to be a decent fellow with good intentions.

I think he was sincerely trying to offer up some conventional wisdom that's supposed to keep you from getting all excited and hopeful about something that's going to turn out to be shitty in real life. There's nothing wrong with that.

Except these proverbial nuggets of wisdom are based on a glaring false assumption: that the thing you want in and of itself will somehow bring you instant happiness, once and for all.

That's not how it works. Most of us know that getting what you want means you have to take care of it to keep it nice. But some people don't think about what their life will really be like after they get what they want.

Unexpected maintenance requirements are usually why people aren't happy when they get what they want. That hot chick needs affection, has issues, gets PMS, expects you to listen to her and value her goals and dreams and accomplishments. That million dollars has to be invested, cared for, tapped into sparingly, not given away to family members and friends with can't-fail investment opportunities.

Unanticipated consequences are another reason people aren't happy with how things work out when they get what they want. That guy who killed his partner and stole the money from his armored truck is finding out that his mom didn't just quietly go pick up the $25k he left at his grandmother's grave site for her, and his buddy didn't jump at the chance to live off the stolen loot on the lam for the rest of his life.

But I think the main reason people aren't happy when they get what they want, the main thing that makes getting a heart's desire into a tragedy is that it doesn't satisfy them completely forever. They get what they wanted, and they integrate having it into their lives, and then they're faced with the inevitable question:


Life isn't static. It moves, lives, breathes. Creation never stopped. Manifestation is an ongoing process. Everything physical is decaying at varying rates. The universe is not designed to reach a particular state and then stay there forever.

Achieving goals makes you happy. It's the process of achievement itself that is pleasing, not the actual goal. When you accomplish your goals, achieve your desires, you feel good, you enjoy the fruits of your labor, and then you move on to your next goal, taking the good vibes from your success and channeling it into your future efforts.

And that's the trick to being happy forever. Keep making new goals. Keep moving. Get in tune with the process of manifestation, and you'll see it's a current flowing ever outward into the material realm from the un-manifest realms. Get to know yourself and your abilities, the way you think and the things that really make you happy, and you realize that you are a creator god. You're designed to be happy when you're creating your world.

11 comments:

  1. I think that, at its center, this is a problem of words. We only have one word for what we want: happiness. Sure, there's synonyms, like joy, but we don't commonly make a distinction between the two.

    Happiness is like a cookie. It's great. But only eating cookies makes you sick.

    There is a different sort of joy in creating something you care about, and making a positive impact on the world. The problem is, we don't have a word for it, so it's hard to think about. So we go back to thinking about happiness, which usually means getting the thing we think we want, rather than creating something we're proud of.

    It's a problem of words, and not having a word for types of joy there different from happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an excellent post, RO, but I'm slightly disturbed that the happy face in your picture appears to have testicles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well one thing I KNOW FOR SURE (a'la Oprah) is that I have finally had my blocks (guilt, worry, etc.) about asking for and actually getting $1 million dollars removed forever! How did this occur? When I read about the chick in Michigan who'd one $1 million dollars and is still collecting food stamps! If the Gods can smile on her and give her $1 million dollars, surely mine is lurking out there somewhere, too! Karma can't be that much of a bitch! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You touched on an interesting, and important note that i find in a great deal of kabbalistic works. The notion of the every changing manifestation of reality, ever expanding universe, every evolving life. As you said, it is not static, for static = stagnation. It would mean you reached some sort of end goal and there was no where else to move. This would, in a Kabbalistic sense, mean reaching absolute union with the Divine on all levels. You would not return to live happily ever after in a nice big home have unlimited sex and eating all the greatest foods on the planet. You, as a physical being, no longer exist, and no longer have any physical desires. You wouldn't have the notion of "oh, this is what it all means and this is what it looks like from 'up' here" because you again, would be ONE with the Divine, not one IN the Divine. You wouldn't even be a borg collective... That would be the END GAME.
    The ever changing, ever moving goal post is, from my stand point, that which helps us grow and expand. Cant bench 100lbs? keep at it.. suddenly 100lbs is nothing... if you stay at 100lbs, your muscles will not change. Life would be an instantly ever changing barbel. THe moment you could lift 100, it would instanly become 110. got to 110 TOO easily from 100? it will instantly jump to 150, got to 150 TOO easily? it goes up to 300 and says "keep up!" Life is the perfect personal trainer always throwing at you what you need to grow, but you will never grow if you are ever "happy".
    Even greek monks, living in a monastery where common worries such as money and love and politics no longer exist, must ever push themselves harder and harder. The prayer and meditation that was so hard the first few years has become easy, so they up the anti, ever making it more difficult. If they dont push, life starts to "remind" them of the things they are missing on the outside, and they must once again renew their values and strength or lose and fall a great height.
    Wow im long winded today...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, spot on!

    I achieved a goal I wanted, but turned out there were some hidden aspects of which I was unaware that turned my life around... severely.

    And just today, more goals were achieved. I worked hard to achieve these specific goals, both mundanely and magically. But I also learned my lessons. I've set other goals in the meantime, so I won't be saying, "Now what".

    And we're on the same wavelength because I was going to write up something on this...

    Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks RO for this...sometimes, we all need just a little reminder. thanks for putting it in such a clever and succinct way =)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for your kind words :-)

    I offered those thoughts not because I thought being happy is bad or unattainable, or that they pretend that one should be instantly happy or happy forevermore.

    I actually am happy...joyful. Of course happiness like everything else has its ups and downs ;-)

    I am just very much in sympathy with two things:
    1. Stoicism (Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, etc.)
    2. In the stories, when one's wish is granted, you gotta be very careful, because that djinn is a tricky fellow!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sometimes when goals take too long to manifest, the imagined outcome becomes more of a big deal.

    That's annoying. When you work and work and work at a goal, and it's taking forever to come to fruition, for whatever reason.

    And then it happens. Your goal materializes. No more work put into that singular goal. Your happiness stems from the feeling of finishing a rough time -- the ending of that rough time of 'wanting and not having'. It's a temporary feeling by nature.

    But then the work you put in doesn't match up with the value of the outcome. Sometimes.

    That's where people get turned upside down and etc.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You get it bro :) Good on you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post RO.

    I read "Strife of the Spirit" annually to remind myself that remaining static means going backwards in my development. Plus I read "Mastery" to remind myself that practice is the most important thing, goals are just signposts on the way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There is also the issue of getting what you want, and realising that it's not what you need. I think this happens far to many times to mention. Optimally you learn from this, so that you put your energy and work towards more fruitful projects. Else, you get stuck.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.