We get told to work hard for future happiness. When does this future happiness arrive? People work hard their whole lives, saving, so that they can have a good retirement. When we retire is when we’re meant to be relaxed and happy. This is the wool being pulled over our eyes. I feel that as a society, we’ve been brain washed to work, instead of enjoying our lives.
When we’re old enough to retire, often we’re too old to enjoy ourselves. We’ve spent the prime of our lives suffering away, waiting for this magical day, and when it arrives we can’t fully enjoy it. Who wants to be too old to enjoy their life? Why should we wait until we’re past our peak to enjoy ourselves?
Don’t put off your happiness. Live it. The only way to get to the future is through the present. It’s your actions now, your happiness now that dictates your future happiness. Even if we can justify short term hardwork, we have to be careful. By putting off happiness we increase suffering, as well as moving karma (habits) into a pattern of accepted suffering. People who work hard for a few months, when they get to the ‘other side’ often find themselves either bored/lacking or lonely. When they stop suffering, they often chose it again. It makes them feeling important.
By putting off happiness, we increase suffering and anguish. By taking more on, we increase our worry and stress levels. We cause our own suffering. When we suffer mentally, we suffer physically too. When our mind is restless, it has negative effects on our health. It effects our ability to sleep, stopping the body’s ability to repair itself. It effects our ability to absorb nutrients, the blood stream becomes filled with chemicals that attack instead of heal. The result of this is our immunity drops. We get sick easier and for longer periods—the cycle is complete. If this stress-health cycle continues, we reduce the length of our lives, and raise our risk of a stress related death.
This may sound pretty drastic, but it’s real, and often quite subtle to begin with. It’s a creeper. Why would you want to enter into even one round of this cycle? Why put your happiness off at all. Buddhism is big on Acceptance and Action. If you find yourself in a position of putting off your happiness, do something about it. Take the time to work out the root cause of your suffering, and put a plan in place to work through it.
Be happy now. No one, No Thing, and No Time are going to make you happy. The only way to be happy, is to Accept where we are, and work from this place to where you want to be. Take responsibility for your happiness, and make it a priority in your life. In a future post soon, we’ll look at a few Buddhist methods to becoming happy now.
Supporting video from Alan Watts on Music and Life
(photo by tripp-e)