The Pursuit of Happyness

posted Dec 2, 2009, 2:52 AM by ash ‎(evermindful)‎   [ updated Dec 2, 2009, 2:59 AM ]
The other night I watched a movie with the wife and the kids. The movie was “The Pursuit of Happyness” starting Will Smith. My wife and I saw the movie in the cinema on release, but sitting with the kids gave me a different viewing experience.

In our family we share stories of the ups and downs in life. For many years my wife and kids would secretly celebrate every time I made an error. It took a while to accept that I had become just like my father; a perfectionist. My kids and wife emulated that implicit bond that my brother, sister and mum once shared.

A few years ago I decided to change things. I started sharing stories of my failures, my errors in judgment and those moments of enormous anxiety and pain. I decided that from now on I will share those failures with the family in real-time.

Life is a series of ups and downs due to our perception. Often the ratio of ups/down is disproportionate leaving us dissatisfied. But what if we changed the lenses from which we view the world?

What if we could let go of our ideals, let go of our expectations on ourselves and everyone else? What if we were gentle with ourselves and others, paced ourselves, and was accepting of all that happened whilst always trying our best?

What if we could change our behavior and practice this attitude for 1 hour? What if we could practice this attitude for 1 day? What about 1 week? What would we discover?

I undertook this challenge some time ago. I conducted this experiment in a controlled environment with my family and a few friends. What I found was that life plateaus out. You don’t really celebrate the highs or commiserate the lows. Like a bystander you watch it all go by.

In my experience happiness is transient or an impermanent state. In this experiment I noted that I stopped feeling stress and pain. Therefore, if it’s not stress or pain; is it happiness? The answer was clearly no because I was able to persist in that state for long periods of time. It may not be it, but it is the only thing that I have tasted that is close to lasting happiness and peace.

So by changing the lenses of perception via our attitude we can strike a balance in life. We can walk a healthier path, a path directed to the pursuit of happiness.

Comments are always welcome.