Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Unhappy People!

           Tired of putting up with the same old stuff everyday?  Got the feeling that no matter what you do you won’t be allowed to get ahead?  Do you get angry when you look around and see injustice – people getting away things that you never could?  Got a resentment with God because you weren’t born into a rich family?  Could you add to this paragraph and make it pages long?

             If so, you may be an unhappy person.  I know you know that.  I also know that you sometimes want to go and slap those positive thinking fools who keep asking you to look on the bright side, or assure you that everything is for the good.  What do these idiots know about your pain and misery?  They haven’t a clue about how badly you feel.

            You’re right.  There’s only one person who knows how you feel and that’s you.  Because of that, you’re the only person who can make you feel better.  One reason you’re feeling so miserable is that you’re probably expecting someone else to do something to make you feel better.

            That can’t be done.   That’s mortgaging your happiness to the behavior of another.  It’s a bad investment because you have no control over what another person thinks or how they act.  You’ve already tried hard to get someone to do what you want them to do and probably wore and worried yourself out.  A lot of time and effort spent... for what?  No wonder you feel out of sorts.

            It doesn’t have to be that way.

            Ask yourself a simple question:  Am I supposed to be happy?

            Yes or no.  A “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” is okay for the moment.   It’s a simple question but not always an easy one.  The more difficulty you have answering it the more likely you’re leaning towards “No.”

            There are many people who do not believe that they are supposed to be happy in their life; that suffering is built-in and, in some curious way, beneficial.  This is an old and strongly reinforced belief.  For instance, ever felt a tinge of guilt when you were having a good time?  A feeling, perhaps, that because you were enjoying something it meant that someone, somewhere, had to be miserable?  Perhaps when seeing someone having a terrible time, thinking “there but by the Grace of God is me?”

            Perhaps there are mild experiences such as feeling guilty only after a certain level of good feeling (joy) is experienced.  Are you thinking that it’s okay to feel a little bit good, but not too much?  After all, they’ve told you that you shouldn't have too much of a good thing.

            Says who?  How can anyone, especially you, have too much good?  Impossible.  Unless you hold a core belief that there is only so much good for all of humanity to share.  This belief is the old, reinforced, faith that perpetuates misery and suffering.  It’s taught over and over, through time, in many ways.  If you prosper, someone paupers.  Anything you have is at the expense of someone else.  You eat well only because what you eat has not been properly divided with those who have little to eat.  You selfish person!  How dare you accumulate when others desperately need your stuff.  You are incapable of making the correct choice, or decision, therefore you must have someone else decide what and how much you may be allowed to keep.  And, should you defy those who know better, then...  You know how it goes.

            The insidious belief is institutionalized.  It’s contagious.  It’s relentless.  That’s why it persists eon after eon.  It doesn’t have to be your problem.  If you can recognize the belief as an erroneous perception of universal activity, then you are on the road to feeling better about yourself and your life.  The insidious belief is powerful (due to the millions who give it thought) yet that doesn’t make it true.  (Well, it IS true for those who believe it - they literally create such misery for themselves.  The universe is absolutely fair about giving you what you think about.)  For the heretic, it’s not true, but a false understanding.

            The false understanding becomes the premise for syllogistic reasoning.  Syllogism:  a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion (as in “every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore kindness is laudable.”)  All humans are mammals.  George is a human.  Therefore George is a mammal.  If the major premise is true, then the conclusion is also true.  Regrettably, syllogistic reasoning is a process.  This means that a false (untrue) major premise can produce an equally false conclusion.

            “All teenagers cause trouble.  George is a teenager.  Therefore George causes trouble.”  Got it?  If the false premise is given great weight and authority, then who can dispute the “truth” of its conclusion?  “Great wealth comes from great crimes.  You have wealth.  You are a criminal.”  “All white people are racists.  You are a white person.  You are a racist.”  On and on.

            If the conclusion is untrue, then you are assured that the major premise is, charitably, false.  (A false major premise is often deliberate.)  This is how people “live a lie.”  It’s not a pleasant experience.   If a major premise is a deliberate lie, then the question begs:  Who profits?  That is, when people go along with the insidious belief, who benefits?  A champion no-brainer -  those who decide.  A.K.A. Those with power.  Therefore those who seek power over others perpetuate the insidious belief, which results in unhappy people.  The source of their power, then, is perpetuating unhappy people.

            You do not have to be among the unhappy people.

            You are not obliged to make unhappy people become happy (impossible!)
            If you can grasp that this is an infinite and, thus, unlimited universe, that is always increasing and expanding, then you will not be limited by the insidious belief.  This is the most direct way to become a happier person.  Whatever good, joy, benefit, fun, etc., that you have in your life adds to the universe rather than detracts.  No one suffers solely because you are not suffering.  No one is sick because you enjoy good health.  No one is homeless because you have a nice apartment or home.  No one is out of a job because you are employed.  Notice the missing element in this line of reasoning?  You are not guilty.  Guilt is the emotional poison  that permits the insidious belief to perpetuate.

            Being a good person, it is natural to desire good for others.  Denying yourself good does not work, has never worked, and will never work, because of the false major premise.  Think inductionThe process by which an electrical conductor becomes electrified when near a charged body, by which a magnetizable body becomes magnetized when in a magnetic field or in the magnetic flux set up by a magnetomotive force, or by which an electromotive force is produced in a circuit by varying the magnetic field linked with the circuit.  Radio.  Television.  Smart phones.  The same electro-magnetic process works with humans.

            You’ve experienced it.  Been in a room and sensed, or “felt”, the “atmosphere?”  Go to a political rally and become swept up with the theme?  Same for many church services.  Feel good around certain people?  Feel bad around certain people?  Just as you are affected, so you effect others.  That’s the most effective way to help others – be happy.  Maybe they’ll sense  some of it, and want more.  Now, granted, many unhappy people want to be happy but do not understand why they remain unhappy.

            It goes back to the insidious belief.  If someone is so entrenched with that zero-sum thinking, then it is almost impossible to conceive of the true premise.  As is said, those that get it, get it.  Those who don’t, can’t.  An analogy is attempting to teach a child algebra.  It doesn’t matter how well algebra is explained, nor how patient is the instructor (ideally a parent), if the youthful brain hasn’t developed its ability to abstract, then the child cannot grasp algebra.  He or she may understand letters – they make words.  He or she may understand numbers – they indicate how many of things.  But to understand how a letter represents a number is way too abstract for the concrete thinking process of the child – why is this letter among numbers?  So, just because someone can’t grasp the concept of infinite, unlimited universe, doesn’t mean he/she is stupid or whatever.  Their thinking is unable, at that moment, to make sense of it.  That is why you are unable to make unhappy people happy.  They have mortgaged their happiness.

            The best thing you can do for anyone, is be happy.  It really is that simple.

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