Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SALON: Get Over It

From Salon.com, Getting Over Happiness

Steven Hayes wrote Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life - which in a nutshell, is trying to remind us that life is not going to be any easier by running away from your pain. A truly meaningful life is the balancing act. It involves acceptance of all your experience, coming to terms with the emotions, notice your thoughts, and "carry all that forward down a path that you value that's neither indulgence nor suppression."

It echoes a very Buddhist teaching of mindfulness.

There should be a middle path between suppression and indulgence.

Western culture promotes feel-goodism. In part it's a side effect of having technology to make things easier or feel better. It's natural progress, so we don't have to do the sweaty, hard things our forebears had to do. But inside that is a meta-message, which is that you're supposed to feel good from morning to night. And add on top of that commercialism and medications -- because they feed it too: If you consume the right products, eat the right pill, drink the right beer, drive the right car, you believe that you're not going to feel anything you don't like. What I'm saying is that that is not the definition of a meaningful life, and I'm saying people know it.

In what little I know about life, it rings true.

It's not pain that makes us jaded. A jaded cynic is nothing more than someone trying too hard to hide away from pain. Pain has a capacity to teach, and offers an opportunity to grow - but our whole experience now is about avoiding pain. No wonder we don't seem to grow up.

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