Take a look at the world and see the unhappiness around you and in you. Do you know what causes this unhappiness? You will probably say loneliness or oppression or war or hatred or atheism. And you will be wrong. There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them. Because of these false beliefs you see the world and yourself in a distorted way. Your programming is so strong and the pressure of society so intense that you are literally trapped into perceiving the world in this distorted kind of way. There is no way out, because you do not even have a suspicion that your perception is distorted, your thinking is wrong, and your beliefs are false.
Look around and see if you can find a single genuinely happy person — fearless, free from insecurities, anxieties, tensions, worries. You would be lucky if you found one in a hundred thousand. What makes it even worse is the fact that most people are so brainwashed that they do not even realize how unhappy they are — like the man in a dream who has no idea he is dreaming.
What are these false beliefs that block you from happiness? Here are some examples. First: You cannot be happy without the things that you attached to and that you consider so precious. False. There is not a single moment in your life when you do not have everything that you need to be happy. Think of that for a minute. The reason why you are unhappy is because you are focusing on what you do not have rather than on what you have right now.
Another belief: Happiness is in the future. Not true. Right here and now you are happy and you do not know it because your false beliefs and your distorted perceptions have got you caught up in fears, anxieties, attachments, conflicts, guilt and a host of games that you are programmed to play. If you would see through this you would realize that you are happy and do not know it.
Yet another belief: Happiness will come if you manage to change the situation you are in and the people around you. Not true. You stupidly squander so much energy trying to rearrange the world. If changing the world is your vocation in life, go right ahead and change it, but do not harbor the illusion that this is going to make you happy. What makes you happy or unhappy is not the world and the people around you, but the thinking in your head.
Another false belief: If all your desires are fulfilled you will be happy. Not true. In fact it is these very desires and attachments that make you tense, frustrated, nervous, insecure and fearful. The fulfillment of desire can, at the most, bring flashes of pleasure and excitement. Don’t mistake that for happiness.
What then is happiness? Very few people know and no one can tell you, because happiness cannot be described. Can you describe light to people who have been sitting in darkness all their lives? Can you describe reality to someone in a dream? Understand your darkness and it will vanish; then you will know what light is. Understand your nightmare for what it is and it will stop; then you will wake up to reality. Understand your false beliefs and they will drop; then you will know the taste of happiness.
From “The Way To Love ” by Anthony de Mello who was a Jesuit priest. The book is a collection of the last meditations he wrote before his untimely death in 1987. Thanks to my friend Lynette who shared a line from de Mello that led me to more of his work including what is above.
There are moments of clarity when realization touches me down to the fiber of my being. The passage above brought one of those experiences and it came because a friend put it in my path. What I need continually arrives when I need it most. I am grateful for the serendipity that brought this wisdom into my knowing.
Happiness is when what you think,
what you say, and what you do are in harmony.