Why not just be happy? What stops you? In general, what many people
would say is something to the effect of "I want to do/be/have
such-and-such but something stops me". They all seem to wish that the
"something" could be removed so that they could get what they want and
so be happy. However, it is noticable that getting what they supposedly
wanted commonly does not make them happy, or, at least, not for long and
that similar problems seem to reassert themselves. It is also apparent,
if one listens carefully, that the "something" is often substantially
of the person's own making or imagining. Often it is something that is
already in the past but to which they have many attached emotions.
Sometimes it does take time to get over grief, but grief does not go on
forever. One of the things that very commonly hinders people is the fear
that they will be over-whelmed with emotions that they cannot control.
Of course, there is a real world too. Jack pines because he loves
Jill and Jill will not or cannot marry him. He can think of nobody else.
Some of the best theatrical farce, drama and tragedy is built around
this kind of theme, of which Chekov, for instance, was a master. People
long for others they cannot have or marry people they do not really want
and are endlessly discontent. We all do it in varying degrees and much
the same happens with lesser life decisions than marriage. Adam Smith
proposed that if everybody pursued what they want general happiness
would ensue, but we shall never know if he was right because people
compromise and accept second best repeatedly, substantially because they
do not know what they really want and are not in a position to find
out. Single people envy married ones and married ones envy single ones.
Each dreams of the satisfactions but remains stubbornly blind to the
drawbacks of the other position. Enlightenment comes with seeing the
disadvantages, not just the select moments of triumph. If Jack knew Jill
better he might feel differently, but, of course, he cannot actually
know how she would be if she were married to Jack any more than she can.
To be happy is to be happy with what one happens to have, be and
do. It involves letting go of hankering, but without losing a sense of
an open future. Life is constantly presenting us
I'm a Minister with Amida Shu, a Pureland Buddhist Order. Now semi-retired, I teach on-line and hold Pureland Buddhist sangha gatherings in Perth, Scotland. This site is mainly Buddhist in content. I share the teachings of the Head of our Order, Dharmavidya David Brazier