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Waiting to Become Happy -- or Choosing It

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.


Emotionally Lost Without Instructions

Ever since my intuition pushed me into this life long venture to think for myself, I kept discovering one after another some limiting beliefs running the engine of our cultural paradigm.

One in particular was this common attitude of emotional dependence on a nature of circumstances, and what kind of "mood" is prescribed for each of them by collective and customary practice.

At times it makes me wonder if people would actually know how to emotionally respond if no one gave them that emotional manual in the process of growing up and maturing.

By the time we become adults, it's a well played-in routine, and we don't question anymore whether it would be perhaps more appropriate to be cheerful on Monday morning, or react with joy for standing in long lineups at grocery stores; or being delighted for seeing mother-in-law at Sunday dinner table -- again.

Now, isn't it great that we don't have to plan our feelings? We got them all covered somewhere in the hard drive of our brains. And no one seems to dare questioning such a robotic behavior, especially since every aspect of it so nicely fits under the umbrella of "no one is perfect".

Indeed, it's like we have absolutely no say in what kind of emotion may befall us. So we may hear something like: "He made me so angry!", or: "Her constant complaining drives me crazy"; or: "I'll be the happiest person on earth once that the mortgage is paid off...and kids go to school...and Republicans take both the Congress and the Senate...etc.

O.K., by now, I am already used to hearing: "But, isn't that humanly normal, whereas your choosing your emotions is more unnatural, fake, and robotic?"

First of all, just because something is customary in our life practice, it doesn't mean it's normal. To those women in the Middle East it's natural and normal to always walk behind their husband. And to a Tibetan lama it's normal to spend hours every day in meditation.

Indeed, it seems like there is no universally set human norm for normalcy, other than the one defined by that Golden Rule: "It's O.K., if no one gets hurt, also meaning -- emotionally."

Which means that our emoting is not normal if it's based on whims of circumstances. Look, no one in the world is called upon to do our breathing, eating, or sleeping for us -- so why would they have the power to tell us what's appropriate to think, feel, and believe?


We Don't Know that We Can

We don't need a degree in neuroscience to know that no one on the outside of our personal space can walk into our brain to press some buttons there "making us" feel this or that -- it's all self-made.

So, why do we agree to do it to ourselves -- I mean all that drama of disappointments, and pissed moods, and boredom, and all that dependency on the mercy of the world and heavens to throw us some crumbs of "good reasons" to feel happy?

Yes, why?

Indeed, to a Mr. Calm of my special breed it's almost painful to observe how people fuss about things over which they have no control whatsoever -- while at the same time neglecting those things over which they do have a control, a major one being how they feel.

The only answer to the above question of "why", that I could think of, is that people don't know that they can. Their reasoning is simple -- if no one around them ever displayed anything else but emotional re-acting, something like being emotionally pro-active must be impossible.

What amazes me no end is that people can be so diverse in their choices of profession, clothes, music, anything, but their personality makeup with its emotional repertoire is based on the principle of monkey-see-monkey-do.

People don't know that they can take charge of their emotions, because that's the way they have been programmed ever since childhood. When your mother angrily sent you to your room, she didn't also say:"Now it's up to you if you want to see it as amusing and learn something from it, or you want to see it as a lousy punishment".

We have been heavily programmed to know which situations call for what emotional reactions. Even worse than that, we accepted that as a normal way of coexistence in this world where everybody is emotionally reacting as it's been prescribed for who knows how long, from one generation to another.

Now, what do you say -- would you opt for a better way of being, where happiness is a choice?


Really, Folks, It's All Just About Some Retraining

So, what would it take to become happy without a reason to be happy, without those extremely favorable circumstances showering our life?

Take it from someone who's been there and done it -- it's nothing more than following that familiar motto: "Fake it till you make it."

If you need something more sophisticated to make it more convincing, it's backed up by that principle in neuroplasticity which states that brain cells which fire together -- wire together.

Needless to say, we've been wired to need approvals, compassion, praises, compliments, attention, and other signals from others -- plus a steady flow of possessions, to feel something resembling happiness.

Meanwhile, happiness is nothing but a model of emotional functioning that gets trained by repetition, something like a platform for all our attitudes about life. It's how we feel about ourselves and our life -- which is not a subject to change because of circumstances.

For an example, and call it bragging if you will, I make myself feel divinely blissful at will, and it's a part of my daily practices, others including qigong, a breathing pranayama, Small universe meditation, and kundalini.

Of course, you don't need to do any of it except for simply insisting on feeling great. Look, those little bubbly and playful toddlers don't need anything of that sort to be happy. To them it's just the way of being -- of course, before all army of manipulators step in and tell them that happiness is something to be deserved first.

And, from my experience, it matters not how intense is our happiness practice -- but how steady it is. Practice does it, and we are presently who we are because we have practiced it -- period.

More than in any other training, it's to be expected to keep slipping back to the old emotional patterns, which means re-acting, not pro-acting. And then, the idea is not to blame ourselves, but to simply switch back into the tracts of the desired emoting.

And, believe me -- nothing about it is to be called "trying" -- but "already being."

For a simple example, when you trained for your driving skill, you didn't think how you would "try" to be a driver -- but you kept in mind a picture of yourself "being" one.

It was not an attitude of "giving it a try", and that's how being happy is only a matter of making some new neural pathways in brain which will then make obsolete all that other crappy variety of emoting.

Sounds good, doesn't it?


Changing the Concept of "Normal"

It's been some decades since I saw that comedy titled something like "What's So Bad About Feeling Good", starring George Peppard, I believe. In short, it was about this rare bird that rapidly spread a "virus of happiness", with some disastrous consequences following it.

For suddenly police had nothing to do, and the whole justice system was brought to a standstill; hospitals got empty, because people got miraculously healed from the high vibrations of blissfulness, people stop buying anything but food, since they suddenly became satisfied with possessions they already had.

A state of emergency was declared. Luckily for the whole "system" before it would collapse, the virus didn't last long, and soon everyone got back to "normal".

A little taste of that movie you may get after you have snapped out of your own normal. Trust me, I've been living with that taste for some decades now. I didn't have to be openly called "weird", but many looks I got from others were saying it -- and it's O.K., you are forgiven for probably being one, lol.

Well, stay as you are if you are not willing to pay that price for happiness. Otherwise you may join me at having so many experiences which reverse that popular saying into: "Cry, and the world cries with you; laugh, and you laugh alone."

Well, before I would end this article, I felt I had to give you this fair warning. Genuine happiness is more or less something of a lost art -- albeit the whole history might tell us that it was hardly ever a popular one.

We don't have to be a part of global misery. We can nurture our individual consciousness and not let the collective one tell us how to feel in each moment of our life.

Of course, if happiness is what's missing in it.

© 2021 Val Karas

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