To Be Happy

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Simplistic as it may sound, the ancient Greek founders of Western Philosophy considered the prime directive, i.e. goal of human existence was to be happy. They called this state of fundamental happiness “eudemonia” and they developed a reputation for spending a lot of time pondering it. Aristotle said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”, while his teacher Plato considered the philosophy of happiness to be the center of healthy society.

Be HappyYet, for most of us true happiness seems as elusive as the famous bluebird it’s associated with. And many of us are just flat out un-happy. Clearly something is preventing us from being totally happy all the time. Something seems to missing or required for us to be able to reach this most important goal.

In his book “Thought is Dead”, the Indian philosopher U.G. Krishnamurti wrote that we are not happy because we believe we should be happy. What he meant was our unhappiness is the result of our “shoulds”, those things which we believe must occur before we can be happy.
Question: If all we want is to be happy and the only thing stopping us from having the happiness we desire is our requirements, why don’t we just drop our requirements? Or, why are we resistant to dropping our conditions, our”must haves” before we’re happy? Why not go right to the goal, eliminate the middleman and just be happy? Is that even possible? And if it were, what would be the negative consequence?

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Perspective

This is Important

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

When I find myself in fear mode, or angry, resentful, bitter or thinking/feeling crappy in any way, (and these days it seems easier and easier to enter into these less than empowering states) I use these negative feelings as a cue to step back into a watching, observer state. And what is usually being observed is that all feelings are linked to the endless, non-stop churning of the mental machinery, the robotic, automatic spewing of this mysterious “thing” called thought/feeling. Now, I understand the power and importance of thought/feeling. And I am not trying to marginalize it’s power for construction and fulfillment. But thought/feeling can be like an unruly beast of burden. Sure it can do some good work, but when it goes into its habitual and automatic mode, (which is a function of its primary survival imperative; a good thing!) it is not operating in its owner’s interest.

Important Thinking
Thus it is critical that when negative thoughts/feelings kick in, that we take a pause, and observe carefully the movement of thought/feeling as it arises and (as it inevitably must) falls. Separate yourself from this movement by watching. Observe closely its activity and realize that this robotic process has enthralled and enslaved you for your entire life. As you make this realization, a sense of power will come over you. You will, for at least a moment, feel a sense of a potential freedom and power, that has heretofore been completely unsuspected.

Ask yourself: at this moment do I have enough air? Water? Am I starving? What you will realize is that, for the vast majority of us, all of the basic needs for our survival are being met. You may not have enough money for your dream home or even to pay your basic bills. You may not be able to pay for your an operation or for the prescription drugs that you need. And, you may not be able to pay your rent. There may be a radioactive plume heading straight for your cozy little hamlet or home, but not only are you probably OK now, but more importantly, negative feelings of fear, anger, worry etc. SERVE NO PURPOSE! They aren’t going to stop the plume or help pay your rent, but they will, and this is important, diminish your ability to create solutions to your so-called problems!! So what is their point? There is no point! And that is the point! They are an automatic formula (cognitive scientists call it a heuristic), that is built into the lower structures of the brain. Sort of like software that is built into the operating system of your computer. It designed to allow you to survive an encounter with a saber tooth tiger, but it is counterproductive for solving the complex 21st century problems that we all face.

In order to function in our modern world, we need to understand the concept of poise. Of grace under fire, and the only way to accomplish this is by separating ourselves for automatic thought/feelings that generate worry, sadness, anger and the rest of the plethora of negative emotion that are available at all times. Step back, even for just a moment and watch the mental machinery as it churns. You might even reassure the machine that all is really OK and the net effect will be an enhanced ability to deal with everything that comes your way.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to breathe! 😀

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Perspective