If the Pursuit of Happiness is in our Constitution, then why are we so unhappy?
Every year a variety of publications produce reports on the top 10 happiest countries in the world. The USA is never in the top 10 on any of the lists! Our northern neighbor Canada is in the top 10, but we are not.
The pursuit of happiness is written in our Constitution, but statistics show that Americans are some of the most unhappy people on the planet. So we get to pursue happiness but we just don’t ACTUALLY get to experience it. However, because we believe in the pursuit of happiness, we are always trying to achieve it. Therefore, we end up being great achievers but we are not very happy people. So the people that believe most in the pursuit of happiness are actually the most miserable.
What’s even worse than that is that we really believe that we are the most happy. Even though studies show we are not happy, we believe we are the happiest of them all. This is one of the illusions of our very large egos. Ego is simply the thoughts we have about ourselves or the thought constructs that our mind imagines us to be. At the EGOIC level, we have absolutely no control over our lives. Do you doubt that statement? Right now if I asked you to sit in silence and have no thoughts for five minutes, could you do it? Or, if you are feeling some strong emotions, could you just drop them on demand? I think not! Our lives are made of our minds reliving the past, anticipating the future and a very little bit of what actually is in the present moment. So we have no control over our minds and therefore we have no control over our lives. The funny thing is, is we are absolutely convinced we have control. Basically we are all acting like Pavlov’s dogs with conditioning reactivity. That is the life at the level of the ego. This is what I realized in my late 20’s when I became disillusioned with my singing career after I learned meditation. I woke up and slowly over time started to live a more aware and happy life.
So we struggle because there is so much pain living life at the level of the ego with the illusion of control and so much pain and suffering. When we feel life is difficult we struggle more instead of surrendering to the process. It’s human nature and like being in quicksand, the more you struggle, the deeper and faster you will sink. When you struggle with conditioned mind, you only get yourself caught more in conditioned mind. My teacher Adyshanti calls living in the mind, living in the dream state. The simplest way to get out of the dream state and out of ego living, is simply to stop struggling with the mind. However, we struggle within our own consciousness which keeps the dream state intriguing. Therefore we remain stuck in the vicious cycle of life and the endless pursuit of happiness.
To me, this is not living. To be at the whim of life when it tosses you around, is not living. This is what got me started on the spiritual path years ago. When you change your thinking, it helps, but ultimately that is just rearranging the checker board as the dream still continues on. So how do we wake up? Well that is what meditation and yoga is all about. I was fortunate enough to have found meditation in my 20’s closely followed by taking my first yoga training also in my 20’s. Yoga and meditation is a life long study and discipline. After having study with amazing teachers such as Rama Berch and Saul David Raye my yoga has now morphed into Corrine yoga that we call Awareness Yoga. If you have the desire to stop struggling in life, come take a class here at the Ivy House. We welcome you with open and nurturing arms.