“The Good Place”
I highly recommend this deep-thinking Netflix comedy TV series that humorously upends the impossibilities inherent in the old ethics. There are two seasons now and it's been approved for a third season.
Just one idea contains the fundamental key of how to be happy (it can be expressed in two different ways):
Happiness comes from loving what is.
Suffering comes from resisting what is.
Our habit, however, which is culturally encouraged and approved, is to resist what is and to not even notice that we are resisting it.
We resist our fear. We think we should be different. We think others should be different. We blame ourselves and we blame others. We approve of some things and disapprove of others. We are almost always resisting something that is, which means we are fighting with reality.
To change this habit takes awareness and compassion and persistence. Although we can become better and better at loving what is (which results in happines), it's a recurring labor of love, like washing the dishes everyday.
Welcome to the game of life!
Do you think that suicide is sad or a tragedy?
It's true that anyone can misjudge whether it is better to commit suicide or not. But the misjudgment could go either way.
If truth be told, many people would confess that they wished they had killed themselves earlier.
The purpose of life is to be happy, to enjoy it, to dance with it. And sometimes we can reach a point in our life where our best options are not for happiness, but to avoid suffering. Yes, you could always argue that a turnaround could occur. But, at some point, making the judgment in favor of staying alive becomes a fool's fantasy.
Whenever I hear that someone has killed themselves, I am sad for the pain they went through, but I happy that it is now gone. And I have full compassion for their decision, even if it was misjudged.
Since you'll never get out of life alive...
...it makes it very clear that the purpose of life is happiness.
And, a very important part of happines is to have some interesting goals so that you can enjoy the process of moving towards them.
Spin doctors don't have a very good reputation. But being a good spin doctor for the circumstances of your own life is centrally important.
In fact, you are already a spin doctor. But the "doctor" may be spinning things backwards:
"Life is hard."
"You have to be careful."
"People are unfair."
"I did something wrong."
"Life is borning."
"What's it all for, anyway?"
You need to change the spin on things:
"What is the adventure in this?"
"How could this be a gift?'
"Look at all the things that are working in my life!"
"How could this be fun and enjoyable?"
A friend was observing cynically how all the religions started out pure and were then corrupted by human greed.
But what he didn't see was that religions got corrupted only because they saw greed (and such) as the bad guy. They set themselves up to fight against greed.
Commonly religions (and culture in general), in looking at the internal conflicts that can occur for us humans, took the side of generosity against selfishness (with greed being one expression of selfishness). They also took the side of working for the future against being happy and comfortable now (with sloth being one expression of trying to be comfortable now). Greed and sloth (in Christianity) are two of the seven deadly sins.
The creators and maintainers of religions did not recognize that they created the conditions for corruption by their stance of making two important parts of human nature to be the bad guys.
Yes, generosity (giving to others) is good; but selfishness (taking care of oneself) is also good and is actually more fundamental. If religions had focused on finding ways to have these two important parts of us BOTH be happy, they would have not sewn their own seeds of corruption.
Similarly, planning and working for the future is important; but enjoying and being happy now is equally (and arguably even more) important. If religions had focused on finding ways to have these two important parts of us BOTH be happy, again, they would not have put a rotten apple in the batch.
Generosity without including selfishness can cause major problems. Short-term selfishness without including generosity will also fail. We need to find ways for generosity and selfishness to work together, so that both can win. Always working for the future without taking care of being happy now is a formula for a dissatisfying life. Letting feeling good now always trumping taking care of the future is a formula for dissolution. We need to find ways for taking care of our future and loving the present to both win.
Religions provide many supportive ideas and practices for us humans, which I applaud and appreciate. But they have missed in the mark by seeding the ideas of conflict between "me and others" and between "now and the future." This is why they (and society in general) have always had a problem with corruption.
Many of us think that we must understand someone or something before we can accept it.
It is much more effective, peaceful, and powerful to accept things first and, then later, if we like, see if we can understand them.
I don't understand why governments have many of the laws that they do. But I accept that there are these laws and I act accordingly.
I may not understand why someone is upset with me. But, if I accept that they are, without need for defense, then I can act effectively and am more likely to understand more about their upset later.
If we insist on understanding something before we accept it, then we insist on fighting with reality until we understand it. This formula creates a lot of unnecessary upset and saps our power.
If you find that someone new likes you (or even loves you), do you admire their good judgment?
Or do you wonder what they can see in you?
The first indicates you think well of yourself; the second shows that you need to learn to be your own best friend.
The good life is about priorities…
Yes, many things are valuable to have...but, if you have your priorities reversed (as many of us do), then life be hard.
For example: we want our future to be good, but if we sacrifice enjoying the process of getting there, life will be hard. If we prioritize enjoying the process of life (yes, the results are still important), then life will be easy.
Another example: we want to help others and for others to be happy with us, but if we sacrifice taking care of ourselves for others, then our life will be hard. If we prioritize taking care of ourselves (yes, taking care of others is still important), then life will be easy.