Creative Thinking: The root of unhappiness
By : Elsa Franco Al Ghaslan
Human beings cannot help thinking. It is a peculiarity that makes them different from animals. And when they think, they cannot help creating, which — in itself — is a positive capability. After all, aren’t we talking here about “Creative Thinking”? The problem arises when such “good” thinking, instead of devising better ways to lead one’s life, establishes how life “should be”. Once you make such a decision, you are totally out of the path. It is not up to you, in fact, to decide how things “must” be. You can only endeavor to do your best to achieve as good a result as possible. Then you have to “allow” life to follow its own path, go its own way. You are not a wizard who, by waving his magic wand, “makes” things happen.
Life is independent from your desire. You have no full power over it, because there are factors beyond your will, beyond your ability to plan and act. One of the main reasons for such situation is the fact that you always have to deal with others. And you have no control whatsoever upon how they decide to behave. Therefore, your attachment to your idea of an ideal world creates unhappiness. What does this mean? What ideal world? Well, here is another little exercise for you to try. Reflect for a moment about how you would like your life to be. Your personal situation should be the following:
1. A loving, caring, understanding, supporting, available, generous, possible quiet spouse.
2. Beautiful, affectionate, smart, obedient, as quiet as possible children.
3. A friendly work environment where your efforts are appreciated, praised and, consequently, rewarded.
4. An exciting, stimulating, fun-filled social environment where you are admired, desired and fulfilled.
5. Add any other scenarios that is meaningful and important to you.
Is this right? It probably is. No-one can deny that the most desirable things in life, beside good health and a decent financial situation, is a peaceful, loving family, a satisfying job and a pleasant, rich social life.
But rarely does all this result to be one’s reality. You may have one, two or even three things that go well, but there is always that “one” thing that goes wrong and it is enough to spoil the happiness that the other three could provide you with.
So, what to do? Well, it is as simple as that. (OK, it is simple to understand, maybe not so simple to apply). Open your eyes, realize the situation, see the truth. The “truth” is always under your eyes, it is there all the time, available to be perceived and acknowledged, yet you unconsciously refuse to see it. What is such “reality”? It consists in understanding that your happiness does not depend on others, but only on yourself.
Things are as they are and you cannot do anything to change them (sometimes you can, other times you cannot, and this “cannot” is what you just won’t accept, right?). But when you succeed in accepting such reality, you “allow” (here is the magic word once again). And when you allow the things you have no control upon to follow their way, you drop the burden of all the worries that weigh on your shoulders and you are finally able to relax.
A wise man said, “Before enlightenment I was depressed, after enlightenment I am still depressed – but my attitude has changed. I accept depression but I do not let it make me unhappy.” It might sound like an impossible thing; when you are worried, depressed or in pain you cannot be happy. This is what your logical mind tells you.
Your spiritual self, though, suggests that, by accepting what you cannot avoid, you can still be – if not “happy” – at least serene which, after all, is your greatest need. We are talking here about two separate things: Depression/sadness and happiness/ serenity, which are like the sky and the clouds. You can lift yourself up in the sky, above the clouds, while still being involved in your problematic life.
Often people, as absurd as it might sound, do not want to be happy. They prefer their attachments, and consequent disappointment, because they have been taught that getting what they want (it is usually money, fame, success etc.) is the only thing that can give them happiness. But, clearly, it is a wrong belief. How come, in fact, that usually the rich and famous do seldom (if ever) lead serene, stress-free, happy lives?