Giving Up Unhappiness
by JAREK CZECHOWICZ
I was enjoying a beautiful sunset at the beach. The sky looked as though it had been splashed with the warmest colours Nature could find. The sun floated on a cushion of summer air above a quiet ocean and the beach promenade formed a wide line between me and the sand. A male and female couple stopped a few meters in front of me and became silhouettes against the sunset. They were arguing, and continued to argue for some time, eventually walking away, still arguing. They never saw the glorious vision that was unfolding. It was everywhere yet they couldn't see it. How would the world look and what would people see if they could give up their unhappiness?
You are paying a price for your unhappiness. It consumes your energy. So what do you get for it? You get a strong sense of your individual self which is always strengthened in opposition to other things, other people, and other ideas. The greater the opposition the greater is the sense of the egoic self.
Happiness on the other hand is always accompanied by a dissolution of the sense of self. You can't be unhappy about anything when youre in the peaceful twilight state before fully waking in the morning, before the memories of your problems pour into your mind. Its also difficult to be unhappy when youre laughing so hard that you can barely breathe. In both cases you are aligned with the situation and not opposing anything.
The less you oppose a situation the more your sense of self dissolves, the more your perception of a problem dissolves. It becomes more manageable, and what remains is the sense that you peacefully inhabit a transient circumstance.
If your car is bogged in a muddy track you can use an opposing force to drag the car out of the mud. However you dont have to oppose the situation emotionally. In fact you can be singing and laughing, in which case you have more energy to deal with the experience. If you choose to be unhappy about it then the experience becomes very draining.
Pleasure is too often seen as happiness, and the pursuit of happiness generally means the pursuit of pleasure. Happiness cannot be pursued as it only arises with letting go. That which provides pleasure is based in form and will soon enough provide pain. That which provides happiness is based in the formless and continues to provide happiness.
Unhappiness has nothing to do with the situation at hand. It is always something that is added to the situation through the way you think. Any situation is always as it is. That means it is changing and impermanent. If you demand things to be other than the way they are, then beware that you are not drawn into lower levels of consciousness.
Every situation is imperfect in some way, and it is thanks to its imperfection that it exists. But imperfection is really a matter of opinion. No thing is imperfect and no thing is perfect. The universe offers an infinity of differences and similarities that exist quite independently of the mind's definitions.
Labeling something as imperfect is to imply that it should not be as it is. Nevertheless it is as it is. The inherent and necessary imperfection of reality gives people the excuse to be unhappy. As long as you describe conditions, undesirable to your self-interest, as imperfections then there will never be a shortage of things to complain about. It means you view reality in a limited way. Reality, though infinite is limiting, that is how it exists. However your view need not be limited.
To be unhappy you must be on the lookout for imperfection, which is potentially in everything. You can take all kinds of actions and spend lots of time and money to position things exactly as you want them, and then they change anyway. If you continue to be upset by this then you fall into suffering. Eventually you get out of suffering not by solving any problem but by a shift in attention, a change of consciousness.
You can take your attention out of thought just as you can take your self out of a situation. So remove your attention from false and draining thoughts, allow yourself some inner peace, and give up unhappiness.