I did not grow up in the sixties, but I grew up close to them. Born in 1963 I got a lot of the “news” of the day coming through our two channel, just-barely-color, television. I remember in the news of that time stories about airport-krishnas who would dance around with thumb cymbals chanting and greeting and grinning, apparently for no reason. I suppose they had a reason. Perhaps they wanted to show the world a better way, or maybe they were making a case for the Hindu religion. Whatever motivated them I remember the world being pretty critical of the grinning saffron gurus in the airport. They were a North American laughing stock. They were seen as disconnected from reality, social misfits, and possibly even psychologically maladaptive. What the heck where they grinning for, anyway, and what did they have to be so happy about. Very few people looked at the grinning airport Krishnas and said “that’s cool, can I be that.” Most people looked at them and saw delusion and confusion.
Fast forward forty years and boy have the times changed. Now “happy for no reason” is on the New York times best seller list. It seems that Marci Shimoff, after realizing how miserable she was, wrote a book with 21 happiness tips where she teaches us how to be “happy for no reason.” And how do you accomplish that? Well, as it turns out it is a question of focusing on the positive, and ignoring the negative, of getting rid of what the “primitive” negativity virus. Our primitive ancestors were negative, she says, because they had to be to survive. Therefore focus on 21 mental habits and before too long you’ll be “happy for no reason.”
And the problem with this is?
Well, the problem isn’t being happy, and the problem isn’t being optimistic, and the problem isn’t the cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that Shimoff espouses, the problem is the disconnect from reality that can often be present. Sure it is great to be happy and content, but this happiness and contentment has to be grounded (root chakra) in an appropriate reality. You can’t just ignore and pretend that everything is OK when it isn’t. You have to face reality, and face the truth, no matter what. And in this process human emotions, even the negative ones, are your friends, not your enemies. The human emotions of the body are like the signposts of consciousness, really, and you have to pay attention and be “real” with them.
Are you feeling guilty?
It is because you did something out of alignment with consciousness.
Are you feeling anxious?
It is because something in your life needs to be changed.
Are you angry about something?
It is because somebody, at some point, stepped on your toes.
Are you feeling unhappy?
It is because your life is out of alignment with higher consciousness.
If you are feeling negative, something’s wrong!
And the solution to all these negative emotions?
Fix what’s wrong.
The solution only comes in the form of action, you see. You can start by thinking about things that’s for sure, but proper resolution only occurs when you engage in action. Otherwise you are dragging an anchor around your neck, and what’s so “happy” about that?
The spiritual bottom line?
You will only be happy when you create the life that consciousness wants you to create. If you do no engage in action to change what needs to be changed then it gets very close to self suppression, repression, and even self-delusion. And the deep irony here is, if you are repressing, suppressing, or self-deluding, you are moving away from consciousness and awareness, and not towards it. Living a conscious and sacred life means, above all things, being conscious and aware. If you are not conscious of why you are feeling bad, and if you are not aware that you need to do something, then the only thing you can claim to be a master of is self delusion, and the only thing you are accomplishing is delaying the inevitable.
Then stop acting out of alignment
Then change what needs to be changed.
Then confront the person(s) who stepped on your toes.
Then take action and align your life with consciousness.
Don’t delude yourself, be honest with yourself because the truth is, that is the only way forward.