New year, new resolve! It is time again for resolutions and for most of us, we have the usual goal, lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, or may be stop our vices, stop smoking or drinking, and so on and on….
As for me, my New Year’s resolution is to be happier.
So, I set out to learn to accept that suffering in this life is going to be a given. I wanted to accept suffering so I can be happier. Say what again?!?
Yes that’s right! The key to happiness is learning to accept that we will suffer and then learn to transform this suffering to happiness. Simple but difficult? For sure! But what does this really mean?
Lotus flowers can only grow in mud. In this book, “No Mud, No Lotus”, Zen Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh writes about learning that happiness is not separate from suffering, and “when we know how to suffer, we suffer much, much less” and that this is the way to happiness. If there is no mud (suffering), lotus (happiness) cannot grow. Simple, but difficult….
Like anything, we need to first understand this concept; and when we understand we can practice; and we keep on practicing so that it becomes a state of being, it becomes a part of us.
Why? So, we can access it at any time we choose to…now this is important…choice.
Well, as a therapist I shouldn’t say this…but if I had a gun and I point it at you, saying “do as I say or you die”, do you have a choice?
Yes, yes, yes you do! Just because your choices suck, doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice. Say what again?!?
Yes,that’s right! Because when we feel we have no choice, that’s when we feel powerless. And when we see that we have a choice, even if we choose something unpleasant, we feel more in control and empowered.
And then we even say okay that wasn’t so bad…we gain a different perspective…and there’s the equally important factor, perspective.
Just because what you believe is true doesn’t make my beliefs untrue. Say what again?!?
Yes, this world is big enough to hold many differing truths. My belief can be as true as your belief even if they are very different. Then we learn, it is no longer about who is right but what becomes important is, will your truth bring me closer to you?
And when I am closer to you and telling you that I love you regardless of our differences, will the truth even really matter?
And yes, what does really matter in this world? What do we all really want?
Universally I believe everyone says, Peace and Happiness.
And to get there we must feel the pain of being disconnected so that it propels us to repair this rupture so we can be reconnected.
We learn to choose connection to others, so we find our Peace and Happiness.