Author Topic: When to be happy?  (Read 2147 times)

rob

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When to be happy?
« on: April 09, 2012, 08:52:37 PM »
Kind of a strange title for a thread, I know, but something I've been wondering about...

I've heard it said by multiple experienced meditators that it's totally ok to feel happy for no reason. But what about feeling happy because of an experience? Where is the line between being happy and "suffering" by judging or chasing experiences?

For example, I met an absolute bombshell of a girl over the weekend and she was really into me. This, unsurprisingly, felt good. It was also sunny and warm, which is rare for Seattle. This, too, felt good. I got out with some friends, and it felt good to be around people. Etc.

But am I judging these experiences?
Am I chasing some pleasant sensation or experience?
Am I opening myself up for suffering via the inverse of these experiences (ie. feeling disappointed when the weather is bad or when the pretty girl doesn't like me back or when I don't have plans for a Saturday)?

I don't claim to be terribly well-read when it comes to the suttas, but I know I haven't come across any of the Buddha's teachings that clarify this. Can anyone weigh in?

CameronJ

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    • Sitting meditation, Hatha Yoga, also involved with Shambhala Meditation Community
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 12:11:13 AM »
Hey Rob. What exactly is happening physically and mentally when you feel happy? Are you basking in particular thoughts and feelings? Taking refuge in something that is impermanent and possibly forming a habit of doing it or wanting to do it in the future? I think it's good to be cautious, as you say, about "opening myself up for suffering via the inverse..." cause I know that girl, and she's not that into you.  ;) JK At the same time, I don't think you necessarily have to avoid feeling happy. If you just use the standard formula of being as aware as possible during both the happy and the unhappy times, both will approach greater neutrality in your mind, and you won't get as hung up on either one.

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 05:04:45 AM »
Hi rob,

good to hear the sun is shining and the girls are fine in Seattle! That's a relief. I always though it was a depressing place (based on the advertising provided by my grunge upbringing...)

For me, I subscribe to this being  a two stage process;

1) feel happy about everything you can without making the distinction over what is what. Just do it (find something to be happy about). And while doing that, be as mindful as possible (Taking in as much of what is happening inside and outside as possible- stay with the sensory experience, how you are actually experiencing it)- basic morality being observed obviously (5 precepts are a great place to start). Make every effort to spread happiness, or at least not perpetuate unhappiness as much as possible.

2) eventually find just being here, wherever that is, a happy experience not based on what is going on, but on the ability to to be happy. at that point the effort of being happy and nice is now effortless and a naturally occurring thing.

keep it simple. You need to be clear about why you came to this path in the first place. Was it to struggle over sitting positions? Have another set of requirements and judgements to beat yourself up about? I'm guessing... No. You want to feel happy.

If we want to buddha up a bit here, we just need to look at the 7 Factors of enlightenment;

 
Mindfulness
Investigation
Energy
Joy or rapture (happiness)
Relaxation or tranquility
Concentration
Equanimity

If you look how they overlap and intertwine you can summarise them into something like "Be as energetically happy as possible so you can be mindful and investigate dhamma (thoughts leading to the cessation of fundamental stress), relax with what you find in life by concentrating on what you are doing in relation to that dhamma"

You could summarise it many other ways as well. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to be useful and keep you getting closer to 'happy without conditions".

have a think about whether being unhappy has ever kept you energised towards any goal...it might provide the initial impetus, but it won't power the Delorean...you need at least 1.21 gigawatts to do that...(I'm a dad, bad jokes are par for the course)



That is just my opinion by the way, a hybrid of styles that is working for me. the idea that there is 'one way' is erroneous, there will be a particular set of instructions/ ideas that will be your own that actually get you moving.

For some extra input check out http://www.dharmaoverground.org, i hang out there and make trouble (mainly for myself) as well, there is a good resource and some really helpful people. In the end though it will be your own 'breaking free' from limiting ideas that is important.

 

 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 05:06:51 AM by Andrew »
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Vivek

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    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 02:01:43 PM »
Hey Rob,

When to be happy?
ALWAYS! :)

Quote
But am I judging these experiences?
Yes.
Quote
Am I chasing some pleasant sensation or experience?
Looks like it.
Quote
Am I opening myself up for suffering via the inverse of these experiences (ie. feeling disappointed when the weather is bad or when the pretty girl doesn't like me back or when I don't have plans for a Saturday)?

Rob, please understand that suffering is optional. Experiences themselves do no cause suffering, our craving/aversion for them does. Running away from certain experiences because you think they will cause suffering, is also part of the problem.
Quote
I don't claim to be terribly well-read when it comes to the suttas, but I know I haven't come across any of the Buddha's teachings that clarify this. Can anyone weigh in?
Buddha talks about all experiences in their totality. When he says, craving and aversion are the root cause of suffering, that has pretty much covered everything.

All experiences are here to teach you, to guide you to the Ultimate Truth. Sure, there will be back-slidings, but, so what? Be open to experiences, watch the sensations, there is a lot to learn by doing just that.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 03:42:16 PM »
Nothing to say except Andrew hits the nail on the head ....
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

rob

  • Guest
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 05:55:26 PM »
Nothing to say except Andrew hits the nail on the head ....

It's a bad habit of his  ;)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 06:28:14 PM »
I know. Don't ya just hate him when he does that ;)
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: When to be happy?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 08:06:38 AM »
i don't know what to say that isn't;

a)  socially conditioned  false modesty deflecting praise I actually crave yet also cringe at

b) a bad attempt at humour (I've more than used my forum quota of that)

c) some sort of comment about wishing I was half as good as I sound sometimes...which is a mix of points a) and b).


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