… still on my way back from my Nepalese hill… here is where i am now
the first time I met Jerry, during the presentation of his book, he said, “I’m not in the happiness business.” and me in my own mind “ah … well what the hell are you doing then? !!”.
it was 2 years ago, and I truly didn’t understand what he was saying. and then we met, for real, and this found its way inside me in a very personal and deeply archaic manner (in the good sense), which I try to formalize and share here: seek otherwise “the” , “my” truth (one footstep at a time). and now it’s getting to a point where, it pisses me off, but at the same time … it’s fine, a point that would say: to seek truth is to give up happiness (yeah, it’s crap) (but at the same time…).
1_ Why to give up happiness?
in “He” (an awesome book about Perceval, the founding myth of male psychology), the author Robert A. Johnson, says that we err on the Pursuit of Happiness. the word “Happiness” comes in fact from the verb “to happen”. thus, to reach this state of happiness, is an illusion: the real art of happiness would be more an ability to welcome what happens. this quest for happiness as they taught us (instill, sell), is quite different. isn’t it?! This is pretty well mentioned, I think, in La La Land, where the two heroes confuse (consciously or not) their dreams and their goals (eh BE CAREFUL SPOILER) (well notice: just 100 years after the the film’s release): bye bye love, I have another life to live: I have to become a star. Thus the pursuit of happiness as we search it in the Western world amounts to an egotistical quest, to reassure and develop the ego by sending it the message that to accomplish a task, to realize a dream, to reach a position, to control your body (etc etc) is a mark of happiness. we sell a lot of dreams … yes, a lot! without going as far as saying that, quest for happiness and outrageous capitalism go hand in hand pretty well (even if I do believe it now), just see around you all small and big brands that integrate happiness in their advertising campaigns and see how this is working so well! (yeah … damn it)
in a way, maybe more now, although, I think Trump is or was a happy man … because happiness happens when our wishes come up, when “our dreams come true”, right? whatever they could be. of course, a world based on an infinite series of desires to realize, a world of children, or adults who refuse to grow up, to occupy the place they have to, is a world where we don’t consider the other and his complexity, it’s a world of illusions, that is extremely dangerous.
for others as for oneself. we’re already talk about it in future ex-Perfectionnist.
without being Trump, we all know this phase in which the fantasy happiness comes true without precisely any … happiness. and this re-evaluation happens because the truth rear his head. why? because if you’re not Trump, a little voice, your values, the other, will try to make you hear
“yes but … it’s wrong.”
and if you don’t hear it, because of a heavy psychological construct, then the body will take it over: burn out, depression etc … until you kick the bucket. and it hurts. so badly. it hurts, and it sucks, because we realize that we live in a world of illusions that we have maintained, its destruction potential (for oneself and for others), in the name of this quest for happiness.
to choose the truth, even if it means the end of happiness…is something you do sometimes, because you don’t have any other choice.
2_ to choose the truth, is to choose Life
although it could hurt a little bit, I cannot wish us anything better.
what could be seen as an irreversible test is at the same time an great chance; because it’s the only way to be … alive. because truth is a principle of life. and when I say “life”, it’s on 2 levels: it means it saves life. without a depression or a burn-out to alert you, you can easily die (of overdose, fossilized on your keyboard etc). truth is also something which makes us so alive. how many people spend their life without really feeling/being alive? the Wall Street Wolf (BE CAREFUL SPOILER #2) (but this time 1000 years after the film’s release) ends up ruined, but more than that without ever understood anything. forced by the elements in rehab, he declares « It pisses me off ». following his own dream “everybody wants to be rich, no?” instead of facing his problem of premature ejaculation, he refuses to grow up, and becomes a kind of walking dead. (yes he and Trump are the same in fact).
In I’m not Your Negro (or rather its entire philosophy), Baldwin explains pretty well how this American dream, totally infantilizing, creates a dead society, where we refuse to face the truth. and it is so cruel.
3_ To give up happiness doesn’t mean to be unhappy.
Sometimes I blame myself for this choice (well ok I just said it was not really a choice, but you’re going to see that in fact it is) because the more I face truth, the less I’m happy in a certain way. it was pretty cool to feel lighter, in my matrix, carried by a billion of successful projects …
this life doesn’t exist anymore. as Wolinski would have said :
“Since I began being honest with myself, I have plenty of problems”
it doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. not at all (I’ll come back on that point). it just means that sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m not. sometimes I can make the choice, sometimes I can’t (things “happen”, stronger than me).
And you know what? sometimes, I even choose to be unhappy : I swear to you, Marie-Thérèse! the first time was in June (yes I truly remember):
“allo darling, I don’t feel well.” most people would say “no, no don’t worry » or “ah, I’m sorry, would you tell me about it », some others “oh I’m not worried about you » or obviously « well with all the things you hide” (hahaha), usually I would have “moved my ass” to avoid this unpleasant feeling; but Jerry, just told me:
“eventually! that’s great!” (re-hahahaha)
I wanted to snap his neck or to burst out laughing “ah … well what the hell are you doing then? !!” hahahahaha! obviously he preferred to see me “happy” but as long as I wasn’t, he preferred by far that I accept this state of heart. to be falsely happy, is something we can’t accept in our relationship. then he told me something great:
“stay with it, don’t try to fight and pretend a quick recovery. this sensation must be now your best teacher”
Since then, still new to me, I learn to observe my negative feelings. it’s scary, specially at the beginning but I observe anyway, trying to be curious. so I’m not in a denial anymore (yeah… i’m fine), nor a victimization (oh no but why it happens to me?!), nor a glorification (fuck it, I’m such a deep chick in fact). just a silent exploration. the silence, at first, was important for me because before I would have called more than 100 people to speak about it, I would have walked in round, waited for others’ answers, and spread my anguish. once a friend of mine told me “my life have completely changed when I realized that no one would come looking for me.” yes each of us must solve his, her own problems. and when you’re not able to solve them by yourself you must accept to call, see someone etc … but in the meantime, I can tell you that it taught me a bunch of things!
and then it offers an incredible confident feeling. to be, to face it (I’m not always able to do it, eh). it changes totally the paradigms of your life and we certainly not die of not being happy all the time. and it gives a surprising strength.
I’m getting back to the principle of life which is truth. sometimes you have no other choice, because if not you kick the bucket but if you move forward this step, this level of consciousness, then something incredibly alive comes out:
“it was not a breakdown but a breakthrough”
4_ cultivate Truth, Joy and Gratitude
The rest of my principles of life hasn’t changed, on the contrary, I ‘m all about. So I always have gratitude and joy in me. the joy that I cultivate and which strengthens me if things got hard and exalts me when there is nothing else to do but simply to enjoy the life that is given to me. we talked about it with Nicolas Go’s book The Art of Joy, joy is an internal “functionality”, there is an inexhaustible source of joy in each of us, and to express our own joy is a way to resist. but resist against what? : Happiness comes from external conditions, and from our propensity to forget about the unfortunate part. this can only be temporary. So, how, considering our life, can we be happy? impossible? so Joy is an act of resistance only when we have realized that we couldn’t be happy.
I had also read the Teachings of Buddha according to Rahula, and one of the objectives of Buddhism is to help us to access to the truth. and until then I’ve read and re-read the first of the 4 truths – we all suffer – I couldn’t accept it. however this s the basis. in a certain way it is like “smoke kills”, the smoker can read it, but isn’t able to access to the truth (the level of consciousness isn’t reached). this, doesn’t mean that Buddhists live miserably and lament about their misfortune.
there is a gulf between abandon and let go.
on the contrary, they’re the most smiling people you could met (just try to compare and think about Jesus on his cross and Buddha). and suddenly the other day I saw the trailer of Walk With Me, the film about Thich Nhat Hanh. There we are…
in a certain way when you choose the truth, you know that there is no ending. unless to become a Buddha (who knows). this requires us to accept a complexity in our present. and paradoxically, it’s when I decide to focus on the way instead of the destination that I’m happier than ever!
once again, it’s no longer a constant joy. sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m not. but when I am, it’s suddenly completely different. it comes from … nowhere! I’m carried by nothing, I haven’t climbed any mountain, I’m not deserving. it IS. and that’s all and while accepting the fact that a part of choice exists in me (at any given time, I choose to see happiness, rather than another complex truth), and this coming from a principle of truth, it’s infinitely stronger.
I hope this post talks to you and help you on your own road. cheers!!